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UPE schools to share 43,000 textbooks

Mr Chege Ngugi  (left), the Africa regional director at ChildFund International and Mr Maxwell Wahome (right), the group director of Longhorn Publishers, during the launch of their partnership in Kampala on June 18, 2024. PHOTO/SYLIVIA KASHABE

What you need to know:

  • As of May 31, 2024, Uganda has about 9.9 million learners in primary level. According to data uploaded on the Ministry of Education Management Information System, 8.4 million of these learners are in government-aided schools.

At least 72 government-aided primary schools in 32 districts across the country have been selected to receive 43,503 textbooks, with the aim of improving literacy competence among learners.

The textbooks, slated to benefit 90,000 pupils in the aforementioned UPE schools, include English pupil books, early grade reading teacher’s guides, and supplementary readers.

Addressing journalists at their offices in Kampala yesterday, Mr Moses Otai, the country director of ChildFund International, emphasised that whereas mastering the basics of reading in lower primary is crucial, many children are still struggling to achieve this, hindering their overall learning experience. 
This issue was highlighted by the last UWEZO survey conducted in 2021, which revealed that 55 percent of grade 3 learners and 35 percent of grade 4 learners could not read.

“The biggest challenge this country is facing as far as education is concerned is the quality of education, facilities, overcrowding of learners in some schools, and lack of enough reading and instructional materials,” Mr Otai said.
It is against this background that ChildFund International, in partnership with Longhorn Publishers, has moved to provide 43,504 textbooks, worth Shs553m, to 90,000 learners.

According to Mr Otai, they will focus on public schools in 32 districts categorised as hard-to-reach, such as Kwania, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Agago, Obongi, Bulambuli, Amuria, and Kaberamaido. 
Other districts include Katakwi, Sironko, Butaleja, Kibuku, Budaka, Butebo, Pallisa, Busia, Serere, and Mayuge, amon g others.
As of May 31, 2024, Uganda has about 9.9 million learners in primary level. According to data uploaded on the Ministry of Education Management Information System, 8.4 million of these learners are in government-aided schools.

ChildFund International will provide government-approved materials for printing and use in early grade reading, facilitate the distribution of the books through local leaders, assess and train teachers in early grade instruction. 
Longhorn Publishers, on the other hand, will facilitate the printing of the materials and participate in periodic project review meetings, among others.
Mr Charles Sseruwu, the country manager of Longhorn Publishers, said all the textbooks they are slated to distribute to pupils are approved and accredited by the National Curriculum Development Centre. 

“We strive to promote literacy and bring the joy of reading to learners. Every book we distribute is a step towards a more literate, informed, and empowered community process,” he added.
Mr Otai said each school will receive at least four teachers’ guides and 20 learners’  books for English per class. 
Mr Chege Ngugi, the Africa regional director at ChildFund International, said the books would be given to pupils from Primary One to Primary Four, where foundational skills are developed.