Uganda is an East African country. Multiple languages are spoken here, but the official languages are English and Swahili. Uganda seems to slowly be emerging from poverty and economic instability. In 2008, Uganda reported a 7 percent growth, even as the rest of the region and world were facing economic damages. Illiteracy is a rampant issue here, especially among females. As Americans, we take for granted many of what Ugandans do not have or have to work very hard for. In Uganda, going to school in the morning is no small feat; logistically and financially.
Uganda schools are run and governed by the Church of Uganda. Repetition and memorization are the focus of primary and secondary schools. State exams are mandatory at every level of education to evaluate if the student is ready to move onto the next grade level. This leads to a varying age range in each grade. Uganda has structured its education system with seven years of primary education and six years of secondary education. Four years are lower secondary and two years are upper secondary. Three to five years of post-secondary education complete the compulsory education requirement. Although many rural families with little money for school uniforms or supplies do not comply with the educational law.
Many children from rural areas will return home to help with farming after they have completed their final year of primary education. Mainly found in larger cities, secondary education offers boarding, but does require a many supplies. This list consists usually of toilet paper, as well as writing and cleaning equipment. Upon admission to the school, the student must have all of their supplies. This can make secondary education even more unreachable for some families. Sheer dedication of parents, teachers and students is part of the recipe for a successful school experience for each student in Uganda.
According to the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda is the first African country to provide free secondary education to its residents. Their goal is to bring school age children to universal attendance, not just the one fifth of Ugandan children who are currently attending. The Ministry states that Uganda is a primary example of how a country in poverty, along with a committed government can fight poverty by guaranteeing universal education to all citizens. Many local and international charities and volunteer programs are working with Uganda schools to help ensure better access to education and to remove the financial barriers.
With its economic upswing, priority for education, and support and aid from other countries regarding schools and poverty, education in Uganda is more promising than it ever has been before. Continuing in this direction will empower Uganda to further pull itself out of poverty. This would allow even more children to obtain required education, creating a positive cyclical change.