Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Katakwi School Improvement Project (KSIP)

Katakwi pupils

To improve the quality of education in conflict-affected Katakwi district, this project focuses on both educating parents about their rights and responsibilities and enabling parents’ access to schools to learn about current school performance and plans to improve it. It promotes effective and inclusive school planning, community engagement in education, use of school performance data to inform education planning. This project will improve the quality of education available to over 53,000 pupils in 75 schools in Katakwi. 



Funder: Waterloo Foundation

Total Funding: £100,000

Date: April 2015 – March 2017

The Challenge

Katakwi District in north-eastern Uganda is recovering from the effects of violent cattle rustling and ethnic conflicts which forced thousands of people to leave their homes. Almost all the internally displaced people have now returned to their ancestral lands in Katakwi, but they face major challenges to leading normal lives. Schools are in most cases the only recognised or existing community structures in rural areas, and yet they fall short of delivering on their core mandate of providing quality education.

  • Learner outcomes are poor: 70% of learners drop out of primary schools without acquiring competitive skills (LCDU Reports 2014).
  • At school, the girl child is faced with poor sanitation facilities and experience sexual harassment from male pupils and teachers (LCDU Reports 2014).
  • Fewer girls make a successful transition to secondary education. Only 38% of girls enrol in the existing 13 secondary schools (Katakwi District Council 2013).
  • Most school drop outs are unemployed or underemployed within the rural communities.

To improve school performance the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports (MoESTS) needs accessible and accurate information so that resources and support can be directed where they are most needed. Ensuring that schools and government provide quality education to all children requires parents and communities to hold them to account for performance levels and support them to improve. 

Project Aim

The Katakwi School Improvement Project will aim to re-engage with MoESTS’s current thinking about decentralisation and the extent to which district governments can achieve recognisable improvement in school performance. 

KSIP aims to:

  1. Ensure effective and inclusive school planning in all schools in Katawki using simulation training;
  2. Improve and demonstrate effective community participation in school improvement and increase parents' knowledge of their rights and responsibilities using simulation training;
  3. Improve school financial management with particular focus on the effective reporting of the use of school grants;
  4. Enhance access by the District Education Office and Directorate of Education Standards (DES) access to school data and plans in order to inform government planning.

To enable districts to make a step change in the quality of their outputs, the MoESTS would need to rethink the allocation of education budgets to enable increased staffing at district levels.  Thus advocacy for change in district structure and capacity is an output of this project, mobilising Link and other project learning to inform that debate.

As district capacity is a limiting factor, this project focuses on the reality that most schools are self-managing.  This project focuses on both educating parents about their rights and responsibilities and enabling parents’ access to schools to learn about current school performance and plans to improve it. This area of work isn't new to Link as we have focused on demonstrating the potential of the 'School Performance Appraisal Meeting' (SPAM) previously, but this project will focus largely on enabling parental participation using our recently developed 'School Management Simulation Training'.

Project Activities

  • School Management Simulation Training: Training is delivered through a board game played in small teams of head teacher, teachers, pupils, School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs). Everybody plays, everybody has a role, and everybody has a voice. The goal is to improve understanding that targeted actions can improve teaching and learning. The game helps stakeholders to prepare for School Improvement Planning.
  • School Financial Management Training: Evidence suggests that there is often misunderstanding about the amount expected, the amount received and the timing of receipt of school capitation grants.  In addition, school accountability of the grant in terms of decision making, compliance with conditions, recording expenditure and reporting, require support. Link is designing a new Finance Management Simulation Training to address this.
  • Directorate of Education Standards (DES): DES’s role is to ensure the effective inspection of schools nationally, in collaboration with District Education Inspectorates.  Link will work with DES to enable them to access, through a management information portal, all school related data that we have available including school improvement plans, school financial reports and other data.
  • School Performance Review (SPR) in every school in Katakwi: School Performance Review (SPR) is Link’s innovative approach to school performance monitoring. It helps the district better understand local strengths and weaknesses and facilitates better prioritisation of scarce resources. The community uses the data at the 'School Performance Appraisal Meeting' (SPAM) to formulate school improvement plans and hold their school accountable.

Headline Achievements

  • A total of 203 new SMC/PTA members (148 Males and 55 Females) – an average of 3 SMCs/PTAs members from each school - received training on their roles and responsibilities, school governance and school improvement planning.
  • A total of 71 Head teachers/Deputy Head teachers (48 Males and 23 Females) received guidance on key curriculum management activities of teacher utilization and timetabling, managing learning resources, lesson planning/ preparation, supervising the lesson delivery and learner assessment.
  • Significantly enhanced transparency: 97.8% of schools had data-rich “talking offices” with almost all walls of Head teacher offices plastered with relevant school data (exam results for a number of years, current pupil enrolment data, staff names and attendance records, School Improvement Plans, Workplans and Universal Primary Education (UPE) disbursements.
  • The new School Management Simulation Tool was rolled out to 25 out of a total of 74 government aided primary schools. A total of 350 (250 males, 100 females) school level stakeholders (SMCs/PTAs, local community members, teachers, pupils) participated in playing the simulation game. Mr Patrick Balyogera, Assistantant Commissioner of Primary Education Standards (DES), after witnessing and participating in the roll out of the Simulation Tool in Okuda P/S said “The game provides participants with a better understanding of how to target the scarce school resources on key priority areas with maximum impact on learner outcomes.”
  • The District Education Conference (EDUCON) unanimously endorsed the District SPR Report acknowledging it as a true mirror of the status of school performance level in the district. Based on the SPR outcomes a draft District Improvement Plan (DIP) was developed as a working document to be refined and presented to the newly sworn-in District Political Leadership for approval and immediate implementation.
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