Is Private Education The Answer To Uganda’s Ailing Public Schools?

Is Private Education The Answer To Uganda’s Ailing Public Schools?

By Patience Atuhaire — From BBC

Uganda’s public education system is reeling from absent teachers, poor facilities and high dropout rates. Despite these challenges the country’s ministry of education is pushing to close a chain of low-cost private schools, which says it is trying to offer solutions to these challenges.

A few minutes off the highway skirting the northern side of Kampala, we go down a dirt path, in a neighbourhood of bare-brick buildings with corrugated iron-sheet roofs.

The Bridge International Academies campus at Nsumbi, Nansana town in Wakiso district in the central region of Uganda, would blend right in, were it not for its bright green iron-sheet walls and roofing.

The half-built brick walls and wire mesh on the front give the school complex the look of a farm house.

A notice on a chalk-board at the gate reminds parents to pay at least half of their children’s school fees, which range from $14 (£11) to $23 (£18) per three-month term.

The school follows Uganda’s public education system of seven years in primary school, with children starting from the age of six.

When we arrive, the primary five class are in the middle of a social studies lesson; learning about forests and their use as a habitat for animals. Answers are shouted out in chorus, on the teacher’s cue.

The lesson is scripted, the teacher seeming to recite every line. There is a set of signals for teacher-pupil interaction; her snap of the finger signals to a pupil to ask a question, or give an answer.

All that comes pre-installed in an e-reader, or a teacher computer.

“The tablet computers simplify our work. There is no need of writing up lesson plans,” says Immaculate Nagawa, an English and Social Studies teacher.

Read more at BBC