The government of Uganda considers education a basic human right. Participating in education is also viewed as part of the solution to reducing poverty. The government is dedicated to providing equitable access to quality and affordable education to all Ugandans.
The education sector in Uganda is constrained by many challenges. These include a high level of teacher and student absenteeism, weak school level management structures, inadequate availability of learning materials, and large class sizes. A major issue is also the availability of teachers in disadvantaged areas and a lack of accommodation for teachers in rural, hard to reach areas.
The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2010-2015 (ESSP) is aimed at addressing three critical concerns:
- The failure of primary schools to provide literacy, numeracy, and basic life skills to all children.
- Inadequate preparation in secondary schools for the workforce or tertiary education.
- Students from disadvantaged backgrounds did not have access to tertiary education.
The overall objective of the updated ESSP is to achieve universal primary and secondary education, while enhancing equitable access to tertiary education. The ESSP outlines 8 specific policy objectives to achieve this goal:
- Increase and improve equitable access and completion rates in primary and secondary education, while ensuring gender equity.
- Improve the quality and relevance of primary and secondary education.
- Enhance equitable access to business, technical, vocational, training, and tertiary education.
- Improve relevance and quality of business, technical, vocational, training and tertiary education.
- Improve effectiveness and efficiency in delivery of education services at all levels.
- Improve access and quality of education at post primary level.
- Enhance equitable access at higher/tertiary education.
- Enhance the capacity to plan, manage, and monitor the performance of education sector as a whole.
The ESSP also includes objectives focused on the crosscutting issues of HIV/AIDs, reproductive health, and gender. These are:
- Increase the participation, performance, and progress of women and girls in the education system.
- Reduce the vulnerability of all education personnel and learners to HIV and AIDS.
Strategies to achieve the objectives involve supporting programs targeting disadvantaged children and youth, expanding and improving school facilities, improving instructional processes leading to student achievement, and strengthening the teaching force.