Background and Problem Statement
Although Uganda has been commended for improving on the access to education through its Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education programs, there are still gaps in the quality of the education being provided. This fact is further manifested in the high failure rates registered in the annual national examinations, over the years, with some schools having as high as a 98% failure rate in the 2017 UPE examinations. According to the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB), the high failure rates are attributed to a poor literacy rate among children in Uganda, among other factors. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) defines the literacy rate as the percentage of children above the age of 10 years old, who can read and understand a sentence in any language. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) further expands that definition to include aspects of one’s ability to identify, interpret and create written materials.
In order to gain better understanding of the state of illiteracy in UPE schools in Uganda, a team from the Global Shapers Kampala hub visited Gayaza Kadongo Church of Uganda Primary School as a representative sample of some of the UPE schools in the poorer communities of Kampala. The findings from interviews carried out with the headteacher, teachers and pupils in the school was that there was a low literacy rate and poor reading culture among both the pupils and the teachers which directly affected pupils’ performance in UPE. In spite of the fact that there is a library within the school, the available books are few and the library can only accommodate a few pupils at a time. Worse still, both pupils and teachers were more interested in cramming the reading materials strictly pertaining to classwork and were lacking in individual drive to invest their time in creative writing or reading. This factor accounted for pupils failure in subjects like English and in their ability to thrive in things outside of schoolwork; which often left pupils disgruntled and unmotivated to attend school or any reading-related curricular activities like ‘library time’.
Hinging on this and in line with target 4.6 of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which is to ‘ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy’, the Global Shapers Kampala hub intends to implement a literacy project in Gayaza Kadogo Church of Uganda Primary School. As a long term plan, it also intends to scale it out to schools, first of all within Gayaza, and then Kampala as a whole. The target population is 500 pupils between the classes of P.4 and P. 7.
To improve on the reading culture in primary schools in Uganda in order to register better performance levels among scholars in Primary schools.
To promote a reading culture and better literacy practices among Primary school pupils and scholars in Uganda.
To impact scholars with knowledge, skills and resources that can be shared with their peers in and out of school.
- Formation of book clubs
- Provision of books
- Arranging motivational talks on the importance of reading
- Training on public speaking and expression
- Training in computer skills
- Training in elementary Library and bookkeeping.