Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Empowerment For Girls' Education

A young girl in a green dress points at words on a blackboard with a stick


Funder: DFID Girls’ Education Challenge - Transition

Partner: Opportunity International

Total Funding: £108,865

Date: April 2017 – December 2020



The Challenge

Following the adoption of Universal Primary Education in 1997 there was a significant rise in primary school enrolment, with net enrolment rates up from 88% in 2011 to 94% by 2013.[1] In 2007, Uganda became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to introduce Universal Secondary Education; before this, barely 50% of primary school leavers went on to enrol in secondary school, yet within a year the figure rose to 69%. Despite increases in enrolment, dropout rates remain high; in 2014, 67% of girls and 68% of boys completed primary[2], but just 13% of girls and 17% of boys completed upper secondary[3]. Girls living in rural areas are at greatest risk of dropping out as a result of low quality education, household poverty, deeply ingrained negative attitudes towards girls’ education, and the challenges of adolescence. Studies suggest that girls’ education is also undermined by gender bias and discrimination in schools, through textbooks, curricula, and in teachers’ attitudes towards girls.

The Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda supports a multi-stakeholder approach to education, recognising that a strong affordable private sector is required to achieve universal education. In 2013/14, 69% of Ugandan secondary schools were private and 51% of secondary students attended private schools.[4] However, Affordable Private Schools often don’t have the resources, networks or knowledge to improve the education quality of their schools. Not enough classrooms or trained teachers creates over-crowding, and many classrooms lack appropriate educational resources, while a lack of appropriate sanitation facilities can result in adolescent girls skipping school during menstruation.

Project Aim

Through improved education quality, financial literacy, life-skills training, empowerment initiatives, and tailored financial services, the project will address the economic and social challenges which are the most commonly cited barriers to girls’ education in Uganda and thereby enable 28,988 girls to complete a full cycle of education. Link is one of six organisations working in partnership with Opportunity International to achieve these aims.

Project Activities

Link will support the Education Quality element of the project. Using Opportunity International’s “Pathways to Excellence” framework, school leaders will self-assess their schools against 30 industry standard criteria for school performance. Link will provide technical assistance to align “Pathways to Excellence” with national government standards, helping to ensure that Affordable Private Schools meet the national requirements for quality education.

School leaders will work with Education Specialists to outline a school development plan based on core strengths and weaknesses. They will receive professional leadership development training and mentoring and will be encouraged to make incremental improvements to enhance quality. Link will adapt our innovative School Management Simulation Training to address the specific challenges faced by Affordable Private Schools, and will support Education Specialists to use this during leadership and development training sessions.

 Project supported by UKAid


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