Are our children learning? Results from the 2013 annual learning assessment

Many children across East Africa are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills. Only two out of ten pupils (20%) in the third year of primary school can read and do basic mathematics at Standard (or Grade) 2 level. By the time they reach the last year of primary school, one out of four East African children (24%) still have not acquired these skills.

These findings were released by Uwezo, a program of Twaweza, in a report entitled Are our children learning? Literacy and numeracy across East Africa. Data on learning outcomes, school conditions and households were collected in 2013 in every district across the region through citizen-led household-based assessments. Learning outcomes are assessed among children aged 6 to 16 through tests set at Standard (or Grade) 2 level.

When considering all children aged 10 to 16, whether in or out of school, results are also poor. In Kenya 64% passed both one literacy and a numeracy test, in Tanzania 48% and in Uganda 36%. This means that, even in Kenya, the best performing country, less than 7 out of 10 of all children (aged 10-16) have mastered Grade 2 literacy and numeracy skills.

The best performing district in East Africa is Mbeya Urban in Tanzania. However the rest of the top ten is populated by Kenyan districts, which dominate the upper ranks. Tanzanian districts tend to fall in the middle ranks and Uganda districts are consistently ranked near the bottom. The best performing Ugandan district is ranked 82 in the region. Seven out of the bottom ten places are taken up by Ugandan districts.

Read the full press release

The report was presented to the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly alongside his colleagues in Arusha on 12 May 2015. Read the event report.

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Authors: John Mugo



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