Reviews & Profiles

Ugandan pupils are not learning

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By John K. Abimanyi

Posted  Monday, December 16  2013 at  02:00

If you are an employer, you will know this problem like a dentist knows tooth decay.

Reading through job applications in this day, will give you optical stammers, because of the sheer lack of fluency, and the utter failure at construction of a simple sentence. Many school graduates are simply unemployable.

Well, Uwezo, a civil society organisation working on literacy levels in East Africa, found out that only one in 10 P.3 pupils, have P.2-level literacy skills! And like Mary Goretti Nakabugo, Uwezo’s country director noted, in Uganda, the sad realisation is that taking your child to school is not the same as enabling them to learn.

You will wonder why, in a country with monumental levels of unemployment, companies still advertise jobs in the newspapers. You will wonder why many of the best paying organisations in the land ring-fence their best paying, and most sensitive, jobs for foreigners. You will wonder why, you, the middle and rich class, send your children to costly private schools, and then to foreign universities.

You will think about all these and you will realise that Uganda’s education went to the dogs a long time ago. And, as an editor at this newspaper once wrote, the dogs are now tired of the education system, and are throwing it back to us.

Yet it has not always been this way. There was a time when this country was the to-go-to place for school in the region. How then, did it ever get to this? It is hard to answer this question, but it is obvious that lowering the cost of education in Uganda has in turn, lowered its value. There is simply not enough money to support education, either in terms of providing the materials needed in school, or, paying teachers well. So, the best teachers are sucked out to better paying professions.

But at the same time, consider that the best schools are also, the most expensive. University education is still very cheap in Uganda, and no wonder, the quality of degrees is queried, and lecturers are frequently on strike.

The rich take their children to the Greenhill Academies, and the King’s College Budos of this world, and after that, seek university education abroad.
The average Ugandan who cannot afford this education league, leaves their children’s future to the indifferent mercies of chance.

This Uwezo report is not the reason why you should be interested. It is reason you should mourn; take it like the doctor telling you, that you are terminally ill.