Ugandan Teachers Fail Basic Reading, Math Tests

Mark Babatunde September 23, 2016
Pupils learn from their teacher in an overcrowded classroom in Uganda. photo Credit: Redpepper

A new Ugandan government evaluation has shown that 80 percent of Uganda’s teachers performed woefully on basic primary level reading and numeracy exams.

According to the Monitor, recent assessment exams conducted by the Ugandan National Examinations Board (UNEB) showed that eight out of every 10 teachers who qualified last year can neither read nor solve basic primary level mathematics questions.

Last year, about 46,000 Primary 3 and Primary 6 pupils, 12,300 pre- and- in-service teachers, and 164 tutors were tested for literacy and numeracy skills during the National Assessment of Progress in Education (NAPE) exam in July 2015.

The tests revealed that less than 20 percent of tutors (instructors) at Primary Teachers Colleges (PTC) could reasonably interpret graphs while only 8 percent of in-service teachers could interpret similar graphs.

UNEB Executive Secretary Daniel Odongo said, “Only 21.8 percent and 38.8 percent of Primary Teachers Colleges’ Year-2 students were rated proficient in numeracy and literacy in English language, respectively.”

Odongo then stressed the importance of teacher education, saying, “These low results should be cause for worry because these students are now in the field teaching our children.”

UNEB official Lutalo Bbosa Sserunkuma added, “If teachers lack something, it will [be transferred] to pupils. If the teacher has difficulties in a certain subject, they will not be able to teach it.”

A cross section of education stakeholders in Uganda have called for greater government investment in primary level education as well as stringent entry qualification criteria for anyone willing to join the teaching profession.

In June, Ugandan President Yoweri Musuveni announced a cabinet reshuffle and appointed his wife, Janet, as the Minister of Education and Sports. By August, Janet announced the closure of Bridge International Academy, a chain of for-profit nursery and primary schools, because she claimed they ignored national standards with its poor hygiene and sanitation, endangering the lives and safety of the pupils.

Bridge Academy is the world’s largest for-profit education company, enjoying the support of tech billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg while also receiving funding from the World Bank and the U.S. government.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 23, 2016


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