Around the world, teachers shape students’ lives. In Uganda, teachers can work with as many as 100 students at a time, often in dimly lit classrooms and with a single piece of chalk. The students are eager to learn, but most of them will drop out before completing primary school. Addressing those challenges, Kukunda Elizabeth Bacwayo, an educator from Uganda, presented at the McKay School on “Education in Uganda: Lessons Learned in Development.”
Education in Uganda began with colonialism, Bacwayo said. With the colonization of Uganda in the 1890s, the first schools were established by Anglican and Catholic missionaries. When the country received its independence, the demand for education increased.
“After independence, the government started looking for educated people,” Bacwayo said. “People realized the educated people were getting jobs, so education became very attractive.”
Although universal primary education has been established in Uganda, many students still drop out of school. According to Bacwayo, in 2002 nineteen percent of individuals ages six years and above had never attended school, and forty percent of people had dropped out of school. One school in Ombachi had 468 students in the first year of school and only 154 in the seventh year.
“The demand for education in Uganda is high and growing at all levels,” Bacwayo said. “I cannot believe I am standing here in the United States. If you saw where I came from, you would not believe that I am standing here, so I am a testimony that education can take you places.”
Writer: Lindsey Williams
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922