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Uganda: are our children learning?

A new study reveals that very few children in Primary 3 and higher are able to do basic reading and mathematics. In Primary 3, nine out of ten children (or 88%) are unable to both read and solve division at Primary 2 level, while in Primary 7, almost three out of ten pupils (or 26%) are unable to complete the same tasks. On average, among all children tested in Primary 3 to Primary 7, two out of three pupils (67%) are unable to read and solve division at Primary 2 level.

These findings were released by Uwezo at Twaweza, an East African initiative, in its fourth Annual Learning Assessment report. The findings are based on East Africa’s largest scale household assessment to test children’s basic literacy and numeracy skills. The assessment was carried out nationally in August 2013; involving 87,339 children aged 6-16 years in 34,013 households in 2,372 enumeration areas in 80 districts of Uganda. 

The differences between government and private schools at the lower levels of education are stark at the start of the primary school, but this gap appears to close substantially by the end of primary school.

English literacy

  • Primary 3: one out of ten pupils in government schools against three out of ten pupils in private schools can read a Primary 2 level story
  • Primary 7: nine out of ten pupils in government schools and nine out of ten pupils in private schools can read a Primary 2 level story

Numeracy

  • Primary 3: two out of ten pupils in government schools against four out of ten pupils in private schools can solve Primary 2 division.
  • Primary 7: nine out of ten pupils in government schools and nine out of ten pupils in private schools can solve Primary 2 division.

However these are basic tests set at Primary 2 level and so do not capture any additional skills children may acquire as they go through school. In addition, one would expect that many more children in private schools, whether at Primary 3 or 7 level, should have these skills. The data still show that three out of ten pupils nationally, whether in government or private schools, complete primary school without having mastered basic literacy and numeracy.

 

 

Read more: education learning Uganda Uwezo

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Organizations: Twaweza East Africa

Year: 2015

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