Uganda Education Project Assistance
November 1, 2003 – August 3, 2006
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the ravages of HIV infection and AIDS are seen in every facet of society. These crises hit crucial services such as education hard, so any effort to improve schools or teaching must also address infection and disease.
In Uganda, the Basic Education and Policy Support (BEPS) program has been working with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) to improve teacher training and promote the decentralization of education. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, BEPS and its partners have helped establish training in early-childhood development, participatory classroom methods, and training in responsible sexuality for teaching advisors, who in turn provide in-service guidance to teachers.
In recognition of its importance, the project in 2004 received additional funding available from U.S. President George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The money enabled BEPS to expand promotion of reproductive health and sexuality in Uganda. It was directed to Uganda’s Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth, which is carried out in government-supported primary schools.
The BEPS team worked with MOES officials to develop teacher handbooks – one for lower primary (P3-P4) and the other for upper primary (P5-P7) - for the Ugandan president’s initiative, as well as a training manual. The documents describe the initiative and suggest methods for teachers and school and local government officials to use in presenting HIV/AIDS prevention strategies to primary-school-age children. More than 200,000 teachers—representing every primary school in Uganda—received a set of the manuals.
PEPFAR also was tapped to produce a manual used by its Ugandan presidential counterpart in implementing activities in guidance and counseling services at selected schools in six pilot districts. Teachers have trained to provide social and emotional support to children directly affected by HIV/AIDS. The money from the U.S. president’s plan was used to produce and distribute the manuals, and to conduct regional workshops for about 1,200 people from across Uganda.
BEPS and its partners are also helping expand Uganda’s Teacher Development and Management System, which oversees pre-service and in-service training for teachers in two dozen state colleges, and providing management training for head teachers and administrators. Training Ugandan teachers in participatory-learning practices was completed anticipating that 7,500 were to have been trained by mid-2005.
BEPS works with local organizations to promote primary education and encourage parents to send their children to school. The task began with a review of the status and progress of UPE implementation and conducts community outreach for the Ugandan president’s AIDS-prevention initiative, and providing guidance and counseling at primary schools. Additionally, the project is working to support children in areas affected by conflict, particularly those in the northern region, through child-centered classroom materials as well as guidance and counseling. In the north, through the Revitalization of Education, Participation and Learning in Conflict Areas (REPLICA) peace education and performing arts are working to sensitize children and teachers on HIV/AIDS prevention.