Editorial

Education sector needs overhaul

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Posted  Friday, December 13  2013 at  02:00
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The recently released third Annual Learning Assessment report by Uwezo, an East African initiative, presents sobering statistics. It does not only tell a tale of incompetence in the education sector but also points to a lack of appreciation of the problem at hand by those charged with early learning in this country.

According to the report released yesterday, although children in Primary Three should be able to do basic reading and math, majority of pupils cannot.
Children in government schools are so poor at reading that nine in 10 cannot read English at the required level. The figure is worse for numeracy.

The findings are based on East Africa’s largest scale household assessment to test children’s basic literacy and numeracy skills carried out in 2012.

Dismal figures are not new when it comes to assessments of education in Uganda. Almost a decade ago, the government launched what was then fronted as the solution to poor grades in primary school. With the introduction of the thematic curriculum, it was supposed to lead to improvement in numeracy and literacy.

That the poor results have continued for the last three years since the Uwezo reports were launched, is an indictment on the government’s programme.

Clearly, the programmes are not working. Last year, the first cohort of the thematic curriculum sat for Primary Leaving Examination yet it had been shown in the 2011 Uwezo report that only two out of 10 pupils could comprehend a P2 level text.

The time is now to rethink the UPE programme. Most of the poorly performing pupils are in schools under the universal education programme. If year in and year out, reports point to a serious malaise in UPE, we cannot be very wise to ignore the message therein.

Eight years of a system that is clearly broken is long enough. We should keep it at the back of our minds that it is the future of a whole generation that is being destroyed if we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.