Ahead of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, UN data reveals an increase of over 6% in the number of girls not in primary school, in just one year.
This is a key metric for UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: achieving quality education for all, which now appears to be moving in the wrong direction.
In response to the worrying revelation, Bridge Schools Uganda is launching a new campaign called #GirlSuperPower calling on policy makers to priorities the need for gender equality in education.
Equal education for girls is an unfulfilled promise for the majority of the poorest families in Uganda.
According to the Uganda Demographic Health survey, over 700,000 children are out of school, half of which (352,397) are out of school.
Uganda is no different from the rest of the world. According to the latest UN reports, the number of out of school girls at primary level grew from 32 million in 2015 to 34 million in 2016. Girls usually have to overcome multiple hurdles to access the same learning opportunities as boys. Around 16 million girls between ages 6-11 never enter a school as a student.
This new campaign focuses on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills for girls.
STEM skills are traditionally gendered as ‘male’ subjects in Uganda.
The new campaign highlights how young girls in underprivileged communities the slums are pursuing their dreams of becoming doctors, engineers and mathematicians, against the odds.
The Ugandan stars of the new campaign highlight the way with a good school, a great teacher and a chance to learn; girls can defy expectations, challenge stereotypes and escape poverty.
There are real trailblazers who show how STEM education can be truly transformational for young girls. Diana Sembera is a twelve -years-old and attends Bridge School Nsumbi, located in Nansana, Wakiso district in Uganda.
Sembera loves everything science, it’s her best subject and she knows it will help her thrive in later life. She wants to become a doctor so she can treat sick people in her community. She lives in an area where doctors are in short supply.
Morrison Rwakakamba, the Country Director, Bridge Uganda, said, “Girls in Uganda almost need superpowers to gain a decent education. It is deeply disappointing if the number of girls being failed is on the rise despite ongoing international efforts. We know that when given a chance in the classroom girls excel, but they often have to defy the odds and overcome near impossible hurdles to reach the classroom. The good news is that many girls are aspiring to a better future thanks to transformative schools in Uganda. We are working to make that the norm rather than the exception.”