KAMPALA – Uwezo Uganda Eighth Learning Assessment Report 2019 reveals a decline in literacy and numeracy levels of Primary 3 to Primary 6 pupils between 2015 and 2018.
Uwezo is a programme of Twaweza East Africa since 2009 and is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development under the Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Learning (SESIL) programme. Twaweza East Africa is located in Naguru Go down, Suwara Road, plot 77 Kampala – Uganda with the main headquarters in Dar-es-salaam -Tanzania.
The findings released on November 19, 2019, at Hotel Africana, five key findings on children’s learning were discussed. One of the major findings was learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy have remained low, with little, if any signs of improvement, where nearly all P3-P7 children who could read the story at P2 level showed evidence of comprehension but most did not reach that level until P6. The study showed that only 39% have reached that level by the time they are in P5.
The percentage of P3-P7 children who could read and comprehend a basic story at P2 level dropped from 39% in 2015 to 33% in 2018.The percentage of P3-P7 children who could do P2 division dropped from 52% in 2015 to 45% in 2018 and the proportions of complete non-readers and complete non-numerate children in P3-7 slightly reduced from 6.8% in 2015 to 6.2 in 2018.
These findings are based on a large scale household assessment to test children’s basic literacy and numeracy skills. The assessment was conducted in October 2018; involving 1,900 volunteers, 45,670 children aged 6-16 years, in 16,859 households, in 954 schools and in 32 districts of Uganda.
Dr. Mary Goretti Nakabugo, Twaweza Country head and Manager of Uwezo Uganda says that learning outcomes continue to be a challenge in Uganda and the decline in achievement is particularly alarming. However, the data offers some insight for ways forward, early childhood education shows great promise as an avenue to help children learn basic skills and yet regulation, standards, teacher and resource allocation are all problematic for this level of education: not enough attention has been paid to the important role that pre-school can play in helping children to achieve their potential.
“Moving forward, Uwezo Uganda will be investigating viable models for high quality provision of early childhood education and we call on the government to work with us to identify a sustainable way for all Ugandan children to access this critical step in their education journey,” she said.
Uganda has made great effort in increasing access to education through the provision of free education, millions of children have been able to attend schools. More so, due to the various Education sector reforms embarked on by the government within the education sector, there has been significant growth in the number of schools, classrooms and teachers over the years.
“We recognize that over the years, there has been a significant number of children out of school and some of those enrolled not completing the primary cycle in some districts, the situation has been changing over time,” said the Hon. Janet Museveni First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Ministry of Education and Sports.
The First Lady said the findings will continuously inform how to plan for and develop, prioritise and invest in the education sector to better the quality of education including the improvement of learning outcomes especially in the districts that have overtime been left behind.
“We welcome the latest findings as these will enable us reflect on the sector achievements as well as steer us to a new direction. We will endeavour to take the findings of the report seriously and act on them,” she emphasised.