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Contributor: Stephanie McDonald

Stephanie McDonald
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Uwezo on Euronews

Euronews has reported on Uwezo’s annual assessment of students in Tanzania. Community members explain that they have volunteered to be a part of the assessment as they have children and grandchildren in school, and therefore have a stake in the quality of education in their communities. Click here to watch the video.

TRAC FM empowers Ugandans

Ugandan radio station TRAC FM�s unique approach to citizen engagement on topical issues is being recognized around the world for its part in empowering citizens. Voice of America profiled the station, which is supported by Twaweza, in early February. Radio listeners are encouraged to call into the show or send a free SMS on issues ranging from health care, public transport, and foreign aid to the state of roads. Read more.

Makutano Junction gets nod in New York Times

Twaweza partner and well known Kenyan TV soap opera Makutano Junction was recognized in the New York Times ‘Opinionator’ section in late January for its focus on social issues. Author Sarika Bansal speaks of the challenge facing ‘socially conscious soap operas’ of drawing viewers into the story while also tackling serious issues tied up in health, relationships, education and access to services. Read more.

The 6 billion shilling shame

A Commission set up by the Ugandan government in 2009 to inquire into mismanagement of funds in the education sector has itself been disbanded for wastage of public money. The Commission of Inquiry was tasked to investigate 'ghost' pupils and teachers, the efficiency of the capitation grant system, and the process of distributing Universal Primary Education funds. Three years and Shs 6 billion later, the Commission has failed to produce even one report, despite the original six month time frame for the findings to be presented. Read more.

Contribute to education discussion, Uwezo Kenya urges

Uwezo Kenya Country Coordinator Dr. John Mugo is encouraging Kenyans to read the recently released report on proposed changes to the education system and provide feedback. He told The Star that education stakeholders should take advantage of an upcoming consultation conference to be involved in shaping the country’s education policy. Read more.

Still looking for answers to education woes in Uganda

In 2007 the Government of Uganda invested heavily in the education sector: over 4,000 new classrooms were built, the student-to-teacher ratio was reduced and sanitation conditions were improved in schools, among others. Five years later, the country still waits to see the results of these initiatives in student performance. The recently released 2011 Uganda Certificate of Education exam results show only a slight improvement in performance over previous years. From 2008 to 2010 the percentage of students producing first grade marks in the exams declined annually.

Uwezo Uganda research manager Grace Maiso told the Daily Monitor that the student-to-teacher ratio is still too high and teacher pay too low, resulting in poor student performance. Read more.

Uwezo supports change to Kenyan education system

Uwezo Kenya Country Coordinator Dr. John Mugo supports proposed changes to Kenya's education system, recommended by a government-appointed taskforce, the Daily Nation reported. The 35-member group has recommended that the government scrap the 8-4-4 system (eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school, and four years of university), put in place in 1985, and replace it with a 2-6-6-3 system (two years of pre-primary, six years of primary, six of secondary, and three of university).

Mugo says that the proposed system will be better for students, as emphasis will shift from grades to acquiring skills. Students will also have a better idea of what career they would like to pursue earlier in their schooling. Mugo was speaking at the launch of Uwezo's annual assessment on learning report in Nairobi earlier this week. Read more.
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