Twaweza.org

Uwezo East Africa Report launched

Why do we send our children to school? Do we do so to be able to say ‘my child is in school’? Or do we do so to enable our children to learn?

Across East Africa more and more children are going to school. Billions of shillings have been poured into the education sector, with budgets increasing in recent years. A range of programs, policies and laws prioritise and promote education. Government leaders, civil society groups, media and donors continually emphasise the importance of quality schooling. The key question then is: how have these efforts and pronouncements translated into demonstrable learning outcomes for children across the region?

Uwezo at Twaweza is a citizen-led household-based assessment that seeks to establish children’s actual learning proficiencies. Conducted annually, children aged 6 to 16 years across East Africa are tested on their ability to perform basic literacy and numeracy tasks set at the Grade 2 level.

The latest Uwezo East Africa report is now available. It presents the headline findings of the third round of the Uwezo learning assessment surveys, implemented in Kenya, Mainland Tanzania and Uganda in 2012. And based on the first three rounds of the Uwezo surveys, it highlights emerging evidence of trends in learning outcomes over time.

The principal finding in this report, echoing results from previous years, is that children are not learning. Children are not acquiring the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy consistent with the official curricular requirements in their countries. Indeed, the low learning levels suggest a continued crisis that demands attention.

Specifically:

  1. Less than a third of children enrolled in Grade 3 have basic Grade 2 level literacy and numeracy skills
  2. A significant number of children do not possess foundational Grade 2 level skills even as they approach the end of the primary school cycle
  3. There are large differences in learner achievement among the three East African countries, with Kenya performing better, and Uganda faring worst
  4. Tanzania has sizeable differences in literacy and numeracy skills. The skills gaps in Kenya and Uganda are much smaller
  5. Within countries there are large disparities; for example, the best and worst performing districts in East Africa are all in Kenya
  6. Children from poorer households consistently achieve lower competency levels, on all tests and across all ages
  7. Out of every ten teachers, at least one is absent from school on any given day in Kenya and Uganda, and two are absent in Tanzania

The report was launched at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda on May 8, 2014.

Read more: basic education

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