Education experts have called upon government to establish policies that promote literacy in the education sector.
The experts acknowledged that the universal education system has provided much needed education to many Ugandans, however expressing fear that this system is not providing enough literacy to the beneficiaries.
This was part of what was discussed at the start of 11th Pan African Literacy for all conference in Kampala that had brought all the education experts together from different parts of the country and the world.
The conference in aimed at consolidating the gains made by the African Continent as regards attaining Literacy for it’s population and also identifies the associated challenges.
Whereas Uganda’s literacy rate stands at 77%, education experts feel there are still number of factors affecting the country’s literacy efforts.
Some of the challenges include poverty, scarcity of reading materials like books, low levels of schooling of parents, poor living conditions and prohibitive budget allocations.
This has also affected the learning outcomes of pupils and students who seek for an education.
A report by Twaweza Uganda indicates that learning outcomes have been consistently low nationally with 3 out of 10 primary three to primary seven pupils unable to read an English story or do division while literacy and numeracy are consistently better for Urban Pupils than rural pupils.
Dr. Robinah Kyeyune a teacher trainer noted that there is need of strengthening the formal system to deliver curriculum content in local languages that support not only the ability of the read and write but also to environments.
The state minster for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde noted that government is already implementing the early grade reading programme through which children are taught in their local languages up to P.4 in a bid to promote literacy.
She noted that government is finalising preparations to roll out thematic curriculum in private schools after research indicated that learners grasp better when taught in their mother tongues.
“We want to bring private schools on board because a child is private. When we talk about ethics, we want all the children whether government or private to benefit from it,” she said.
She said that thematic method of teaching has faced resistance from both parents and teachers noting that some of them have not yet appreciated the system.
“This was targeted at teaching learners from P.1-P.3 to read effectively using the local languages as a medium of instruction transitioning to English as a medium of instruction in primary four,” she said.