Note: Since morning my website has been off due to exceeding our bandwidth limits. I have been trying to make this post in vain and now, I can’t load the photos. iIt’s a great thing, because it means you are visiting It also means I might have to add the photos later. I hope you come back, and I hope you leave your comment. My next post in these documentary series will be on clean water in Africa.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, Africa’s greatest statesman, Nelson Mandela once said, and it would seem that Uganda listened. As I traveled around Uganda last year, it was impossible not to notice the high number of school going children enrolled in primary schools. Usually, the children in many numbers are seen when one is driving on the highway when they are going to school or returning home from school. Since the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda, enrollment has risen from 2 million pupils in 1997 to about 7 million currently. Like many public institutions in Uganda, the education sector, particularly primary education is in steep decline. High enrollments have heaped pressure and are threatening to burst the seams that holds together the learning fabric. The investment in education is not commensurate to the needs, and recently the teachers who are on a $110 a month wage went on strike to demand a 100% increment. The government wailed, citing that the increase was unrealistic! Yet, Uganda loses about 500 billion in corruption every year which is about 250 million in US dollars, and several millions more in wanton spending. The teachers only need about 5% of that each year to earn just $200. On the side of children, you will notice in the photographs that the students are over crowded in classrooms, which makes for a bad learning environment. Many go hungry because they skip lunch, lack basics like books and handbags, and some walk barefoot. I grew through most of these conditions but I had teachers; qualified ones. These photos were taken in Eastern Uganda; Soroti and Mbale. I also spoke to many parents and teachers and their verdict on Universal Primary Education in Uganda is the same: parents, teachers and students are all getting a bad deal. Children are not learning. Something must be done. Things must change. Emphasis in quantity has overshadowed quality; If it were the 15th century, this education could be rejected in Europe, even if it were free.
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