Uganda’s public school system, Universal Primary Education (UPE), guarantees all children of elementary school age a place in a government-funded school. Unfortunately, the system is broken. The lack of funding and infrastructure has resulted in many poorly motivated and unqualified teachers, broken down schools, severely overcrowded classrooms, few textbooks, and dismaying educational results. In rural areas (80% of Uganda) parents frequently have their children tend the fields and other necessities of subsistence agriculture rather than attend classes at the inadequate village schools. Some children never begin primary school at all. Of those who do, less than 14% advance to the secondary school level.
The AAH primary school was built in response to these challenges. Our goal is to serve as a model which lifts the standards of education and demonstrates that children can learn when their basic needs are met. While we have made important strides, in AAH’s district of Bududa nearly 55,000 children still lack access to quality education. Without quality education, their likely future is to drop out and live a subsistence life as peasant farmers, just like their parents.
The AAH Outreach Program provides a link to many of these children. AAH has established relationships with 22 local schools with approximately 18,000 children. We share resources such as pencils, exercise books, soccer balls and team uniforms. Each year, AAH volunteers travel to these schools to meet the children, encourage them to study hard and distribute materials. AAH offers scholarships for top performing students in government schools. AAH also provides teacher training for teachers in local village schools, which includes workshops, lesson planning support, mentoring by AAH teachers and classroom observation.