Uganda: quality secondary education through public-private partnerships

We have enrolled over 12,000 students in 24 schools.

The challenge

In Uganda, 72% of secondary school-aged children are not in school. The majority of Uganda's young people leave primary school for the job market but struggle to secure work because they do not have the necessary basic knowledge or skills.

 

Our response

Working in partnership with the UK-based charity PEAS and in close collaboration with the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports, we support a network of 24 secondary schools in Uganda. Educating over 12,000 students in rural parts of the country, we aim to make a systemic impact by working with the government to demonstrate how great schools can provide an excellent education to all students, regardless of background.

We work on:

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS 

We work with PEAS to help them build and operate schools in rural areas of Uganda. The government contributes towards pupil tuition fees, but PEAS is given the flexibility to manage schools independently.

 

EQUITABLE ACCESS: PEAS schools reach some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in rural Uganda where access to education and girls' enrolment are currently very low. 40% of PEAS day school students come from the bottom economic quintile in Uganda, highlighting that PEAS schools are reaching some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the country.

 

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY:  Government subsidy and income generating activities ensure the schools are financially sustainable.

 

MEASUREMENT AND EVIDENCE:  We regularly collect and monitor data to improve school and pupils' performance. We have commissioned an external five-year evaluation to collect evidence on successful aspects of the programme and areas for improvement.

 

Our main focus: building quality

  • Our main focus is to support PEAS to provide the best value-adding education for disadvantaged children in Uganda
  • In 2014, 48% of PEAS students achieved the top three grades in Uganda's national Certificate of Education examinations - this is a 10% point increase from results in 2013 and PEAS is now 3.8% points above the national average. Some schools did especially well: at Akoromit, Nyero and Kityerera: 94%, 81% and 73% of students achieved the top three grades respectively- well above the national average of 45%
  •  Ark and PEAS still have higher ambitions in terms of quality for all schools in the network. By 2018 we want 90% of students at PEAS to achieve the top three grades in their national examinations and 50% to achieve the top two grades. This would make PEAS the best school operator in the country by far, especially impressive as all PEAS schools are non-selective and in areas of poverty and marginalisation.
  • To support PEAS achieve these ambitious quality goals, Ark draws on in-house expertise from running schools in the UK. Some of the ways we do this include:
    • Improving the way schools understand student learning through new assessments and school data tools;
    • Improving teacher training and motivation by designing a best in class teacher development programme;
    • Building network management school leadership capacity; and
    • Evaluating PEAS performance, benchmarked to comparable schools

     

    We hope the lessons learned from managing great PEAS schools can be transferred to other schools in Uganda to transform the education system more broadly. 

Mulumba's story

Mulumba was 19 when he enrolled this year in the Ark-PEAS school in Malongo. Abandoned by his mother when he was six months old, he never knew his father and was initially brought up by his grandmother. After she died, he lived on the streets for eight years."I slept under cars in the garage; I'd take rubbish from the flats and they'd give me food. But I decided I wanted a better life," he says.

His grandmother had sent him to the government secondary school. "But they didn't have enough materials and books for us to read. That's why I left and came to the Ark-PEAS school instead. All my friends did the same." To earn a living, he fishes on Lake Victoria at night, making time for school during the day.

"I want to study. There are so many people here who are not educated: they don't have jobs and don't have a good life - I don't want to be like that. If I could choose any job I liked, I would want to be an engineer."

Programme contact

Sabina Morley
International Education Manager
T: +44 20 3116 6316

Sabina.Morley@arkonline.org