The Government of Uganda introduced free Universal primary Education in 1997. The programme has realized increase in enrollment but has equally faced challenges with quality of education provided in these schools. Much as the government provides teachers’ pay, administration costs and constructs classrooms in some schools, the schools and parents have a burden of providing refresher courses for teachers, renovating dilapidated classrooms, provision of meals and scholastic materials and improving the learning environment in general.
According to Uwezo, an education research organization working in East Africa, reports in their annual education report 2014 that 2 out of 3 pupils that complete primary level cannot read and write. The project realized this and initiated strategies to improve the learning outcomes in public schools in Wakiso district by training teachers in improving the learning environment and making of learning aids using local inexpensive materials. The project also trains School management Committees of such schools on their roles and responsibilities, planning and budgeting, resource mobilization and effective management of their schools. All this is done to improve the quality of education in these schools.
In addition, the guardians who by law are obliged to provide scholastic requirements like stationary, uniforms and lunch for their children struggle with these provisions as the households benefitting from this programme are extremely vulnerable. The project on that basis started by providing soft loans to the guardians to start or improve small scale businesses to be able to pay for such provisions. Other guardians also benefit from Village Savings and Loans Associations where guardians make small but regular savings and later borrow to make or improve small scale businesses.
Additionally, given a high dropout rate of students from public schools, the project decided to provide vocational skills for youth above 14 who are at the verge of dropping out or have dropped out of school. These youth are provided with skills to be able to create their own employment and for the others as well. Such skills include welding, carpentry, construction, masonry, plumbing, sewing/tailoring/textiles, catering/food service, cleaning and beautician/hair/nails. The project, where funding allows, provides startup kits for such youth to ensure they create jobs of their own.
Volunteering with us will therefore be a memorable experience because it is fun-packed, intriguing, full of learning, and satisfying.