Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Uganda Rwenzori Region Education Advancement Program (UREAP)

& Kamwenge District School Improvement Project (KDSIP)

The focus of the Uganda Rwenzori Region Education Advancement Programme (UREAP) was to improve access to education and the quality of education for all primary pupils in Kamwenge and Kyenjojo Districts in the Rwenzori region of Uganda. This programme built on the success of the Kamwenge District School Improvement Project (KDSIP) in 2007 and 2008 which reached 60 schools in Kamwenge district. Through an integrated package of interventions, UREAP extended Link’s school improvement model not only to all schools in Kamwenge district and but also to all schools in the neighbouring Kyenjojo district (a total of 275 schools).

In addition UREAP introduced new elements to Link’s approach in Uganda. HIV and AIDS Action Planning (HAAP) focussed on increasing knowledge and understanding of HIV and AIDS amongst children, teachers and the community as well as helping people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS access education and necessary support. UREAP also piloted the Healthy Schools Programme (HSP), which provided schools with the mechanisms to develop and deliver Healthy Schools Plans to address health education and promotion, environmental health within schools, and health services in schools such as counselling, basic life-saving skills and micro-nutrient provision.

Funder: Irish Aid

Date: 2007-2013

The Challenge

Many problems confronted the primary education sub-sector following the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997. While there was improvement in school enrolment there was the challenge of education quality, critical to the achievement of Education for All. Among the issues identified as affecting quality of primary education were lack of capacity at the district level, weak support from communities, weak governance by School Management Committees (SMCs), weak leadership from Head teachers, absenteeism of both teachers and pupils, and poor teaching methods. Ill-health as a consequence of HIV and AIDS, poor nutritional status and other medical problems, remained a significant obstacle for many children accessing education and remaining within the system. 

Project Aims

The overall aim was to improve access to quality education in primary schools in the two rural districts of Kamwenge and Kyenjojo in the Rwenzori Region of Uganda and to build the capacity of district officials, School Management Committees, head-teachers, teachers and communities to monitor, support and impact more effectively on their schools.

The specific objectives of the projects were to improve and enhance:

  • community participation in decision making and holding schools accountable for performance;
  • the capacity of head teachers to effectively manage school improvement in collaboration with their communities;
  • the capacity of School Management Committee Members to effectively manage and support schools;
  • HIV and AIDS Action Planning (HAAP) in schools;
  • learning outcomes for pupils in literacy and numeracy;
  • the capacity of schools to protect and promote the health of pupils and teachers;
  • the capacity of district officials to manage and support schools and to use data for decision-making;
  • equitable access to quality education for girls and other disadvantaged groups;
  • the Ministry of Education and Sports, District Local Governments and Link partnership for the delivery of quality Universal Primary Education;
  • involvement of Irish “Global Teachers” in school improvement in Uganda while through experiential learning enabling them to promote development education in their own schools.

Project Activities

  • Conduct School Performance Review (SPR);
  • Deliver Enhancing Community Participation in Education (ECPE) Training;
  • Provide training for Head teachers and School Management Committees on school management and HIV and AIDS Action Planning (HAAP);
  • Provide continuing professional development for teachers on Literacy and Numeracy:
  • Build the capacity of the District Education Office to use Decentralised Education Management Information System (DEMIS)
  • Promote equitable access to quality education for girls and disadvantaged groups
  • Facilitate and support 2-6 week placements for Irish Global Teachers in Ugandan schools.

Headline Achievements

The School Performance Review process has become a critical part of planning at school and district levels in both districts. All school management offices visited have a set of planning documents displayed.

The training on Enhancing Community Participation in Education has led to the local community playing a much more active and informed role in the school. The local community now assist with developing income generating projects such as banana plantations, gardens and bee keeping. The parents and community members now assist help fund development projects and offer assistance to build classrooms and toilets in the school.

As a result of literacy and numeracy teacher training the teachers now plan and teach better, learners are able to participate more, read better and demonstrate improved skills and responsiveness.

The impact of the health training on Kamwenge schools was tangible with visible results seen in improved and new toilet structures, water tanks and soap in the girls’ toilets, changing rooms for menstruating girls, cupboards in classrooms to store packed lunches and signage around the school warning of early pregnancy, etc. Visible evidence of HIV and AIDS messages can be seen in participating schools

The projects have led to indications that more girls stay in school to P7 and sit the PLE. One of the most significant indicators is that both male learners and male teachers in conservative Ugandan church-owned schools are able to talk openly and sensitively about menstruation and what the school is doing to assist girls who are menstruating.

The  Global Teacher component was an important aspect of the projects with both the Ugandan and Irish teachers valuing the engagement and what they had learned. There is evidence of the impact that the Global Teachers had on classroom management and how to involve learners in the learning process.

The two projects have positively impacted on quality education as measured by: learner performance in national exams, learner survival rates, learner enjoyment of schools, teacher job satisfaction, improved working conditions and Increased capacity of the schooling system.