Towards Equitable Quality Basic Education in Uganda : Insights from Uwezo Learning Assessment DataTowards Equitable Quality Basic Education in Uganda : Insights from Uwezo Learning Assessment DataAA11281847
The main rationale for the Education for All (EFA) movement and the Millennium Development Goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) by the year 2015 were premised on the belief that education is a channel of development. Provision of basic primary education for all was and is still regarded as critical in poverty reduction and as a tool to address inequality in society. This paper embraces an outcomes analysis of education attainments in Uganda to examine the strengths and weaknesses of EFA towards narrowing inequality and inequity gaps in the provision of basic education in Uganda. The paper draws from an analysis of data of Uwezo - an initiative that tracks learning outcomes of children aged 6-16 across East Africa (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). In Uganda, large scale assessment of learning outcomes has been undertaken since 2011 at household level across 80 districts in the country using primary two literacy and numeracy tasks. In this paper an analysis of the 2013 Uwezo Uganda dataset is undertaken to establish learning outcomes at national and regional level. Drawing from the findings of the analysis, the paper argues that EFA, in its current form, is far from serving as a catalyst for an equalized society. The fact that three out of every ten children in Primary Seven in Uganda are unable to read and do basic numeracy of Primary Two standard indicates that a number of children exit primary education without having ever attained the basic competences, let alone skills to meaningfully contribute to personal, community and national development. There are also major differences in the quality of education and learning outcomes attained across regions and socio-economic groups within the country. As the global community moves to embrace new sustainable development goals on education, the findings of Uwezo assessment seem to imply that a ‘one-size-fits all’ education agenda, without a focus on what children learn in varied contexts, would be inadequate.