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Advancing Universal Primary Education, Reproductive Health and Teacher Effectiveness
Uganda
October 2002- October 2003

Africa MapUganda has made extraordinary progress towards achieving universal primary education -- pupil enrollment increased from 2.7 million children in 1996 to nearly 7 million in 2002. Formidable challenges remain. Many children are still not in school and for those who are enrolled, overcrowded classrooms, lack of trained teachers, and traditional teaching practices jeopardize the quality of education. Further, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is placing strain on the system. As many as 2 million child orphans may be forced to forego attending school as a result of family and financial responsibilities brought on by the death of family members.

The BEPS team was asked to carry out a three-tier response: informing the development of Uganda’s universal primary education policy, developing an advocacy plan to encourage reproductive health, and improving teacher effectiveness.

USAID is working with the Government of Uganda to strengthen educational quality while communicating the universal primary education policy and its objectives to a broader group of stakeholders, especially to isolated communities. To promote the acceptance of universal primary education, BEPS was asked to research the impact of the policy since its inception in 1997, informing the national committee’s subsequent dissemination and mobilization activities. BEPS reworked the campaign’s existing advocacy materials to better communicate to the target audience which was made up of teachers and parents. BEPS led the development of additional content, materials, and activities for the government’s Universal Primary Education campaign advocacy campaign, focusing on early childhood development.

In response to a policy directive by the President of Uganda, the BEPS team partnered with stakeholders to increase the awareness and knowledge of reproductive health by both lower and upper primary students, particularly that of girls. The team established a network of partners to share knowledge and design effective messages to integrate reproductive health issues into the school curriculum. Messages and materials advocating for the health and well-being of younger children were developed for mothers, children, and teachers. A modified national curriculum and systems adapted to reproductive health education were developed. The BEPS team is working with several local NGOs: Business Synergies, Mango Tree, and the Straight Talk Foundation.

Teacher effectiveness was addressed by training teachers in Integrated Participatory Approaches for Quality Learning, a new approach that incorporates participatory learning methodologies. With this pilot initiative, BEPS partner GroundWork trained in-service coordinating center tutors, part of the country’s decentralized teacher development and management system to facilitate workshops with classroom teachers on the use of participatory learning methods and tools in their school and classroom settings.


The BEPS project aims to achieve the following targets:

  • A core of educators in Uganda’s existing education system trained to instruct others on how to actualize participatory learning methodologies and tools
  • Over 200 teachers and head teachers in 92 schools trained in participatory teaching practices
  • Supporting training manuals and guides, adapted to the Ugandan context, on participatory teaching practices
  • Teacher guides and locally-developed materials to support early childhood development
  • Parent/community-oriented advocacy materials on universal primary education, including a revised booklet, posters, and a mass media campaign
  • Increased knowledge, awareness, and demand for reproductive health rights and quality services within the key age cohort
  • Several youth-oriented newsletters addressing reproductive health and HIV/AIDS concerns developed and widely disseminated
  • Reproductive health and sexuality integrated into the national curriculum
  • A national stakeholder workshop at the close of the pilot activity to share lessons learned and put forth recommendations for future activities to support reproductive health education in primary schooling.

 

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