Education for Children in Africa: The time is now for access to quality education for all children!

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Education for Children in Africa: The time is now for access to quality education for all children!
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About 55% of Ugandans are under the age of 18, about 44% are under the age of 15 and 21% are of primary school going age 6-12 years (UBOS, 2014).

Uganda is also home to over 1.6 million refugees, approximately 57% of whom are children below age of 18 (UNHCR, May 2024).

Uganda’s young population presents a unique demographic dividend, which will drive the country’s development agenda, if the potential of children and young people is nurtured, protected and they are well educated and skilled.

This is in line with the Government of Uganda’s Strategic Direction for the NDP 4 which prioritizes enhancing human capital development along the entire life cycle, and specifically to improve access, equity, and quality of education at all levels.

In line with this year’s DAC theme – ‘Education for Children in Africa: The Time is Now’ - it is critical that all policy makers and other actors take measures to ensure children realize their potential: that they are able to attend safe and inclusive schools, where they learn effectively.

Save the Children commends the Government of Uganda for its commitment to education for all children, including boys, girls, children with disabilities and refugees, as seen in legal and policy frameworks, including the Gender in Education Sector Policy and the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities.

The commitment is also confirmed in the delivery of Universal Primary Education that has significantly increased the number of children enrolling in school.

Despite significant and commendable progress in ensuring access to quality basic education, there is need to improve on the quality of education services.

There are also significant discrepancies in learning outcomes, with some children performing better than others.

Despite corporal punishment being banned in schools, a sizeable proportion of children still experience violence. 11% of children aged 5-17 experienced physical violence, 6% faced emotional violence within their households while 25% of children in the same age group reported experiencing some form of violence at school, either from teachers or fellow students​ (UNHS 2019/2020).

Save the Children supports children, their families, teachers, schools, and communities in 33 districts in Uganda.

In 2023 alone, Save the Children’s education program in Uganda directly reached over 470,000 children in Early Childhood Care and Development basic education and accelerated education programs, supplementing government’s and other actors’ efforts in the education sector.

Save the Children’s education programming focuses on ensuring that all children are able to access a quality, safe basic education.

We prioritize working with, and strengthening, existing systems and structures, to deliver learning outcomes for children.

We do this by addressing barriers to access and attendance, including those that specifically affect girls, children with disabilities and refugees, improving the quality of education by supporting the delivery of continuous professional development for teachers and remedial education, and providing support to strengthen the capacity of school management committees and parent teacher associations.

We also work with children, teachers and school leadership and management to make sure that schools are safe for children, and that when they face challenges, they can access the support they need.

If we don’t invest in children’s education, and don’t improve the safety and well-being of children, there will be a detrimental impact on Uganda’s economy and thereby slowed development. Save the Children calls upon the Government of Uganda, and its partners, to invest in basic education for essential literacy and numeracy skills as the foundation of learning.

Save the Children commits to providing continued support to children, their families, schools, and communities, and to collaborating with Government of Uganda, to realize the individual dreams of children to be doctors, nurses, teachers, pilots… and to contribute to achievement of the country’s Vision 2040.

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