Uganda’s public school system guarantees all children a place in school, but the system is desperately underfunded. Government primary schools receive only 10,000 Uganda shillings per student per year in funding, which is about $3. Try to imagine running a school of over 800 students with about $2400 per year, and that can give you an idea of the current state of primary education in Uganda.
School buildings are falling apart and there aren’t enough latrines, desks, or classrooms to accommodate all pupils. Classes are so overcrowded that it’s not at all uncommon to find one hundred students in a class, with only one teacher. Students may take up to an hour to walk to school and learn from morning until evening, yet most pupils do not eat any lunch. And that’s not even to mention the lack of textbooks, libraries, learning materials, and extra-curricular funding which also inhibits student learning. In rural areas, parents often make their children tend the fields or graze animals rather than attend classes at the inadequate government schools. Without quality education, their likely future is to drop out and live as subsistence farmers, just like their parents.
The AAH primary school was built to respond to these challenges and has developed a successful model for delivering high-quality primary education. However, our goal is not only to help the students at our own school, but also to uplift education in the region overall. Our Outreach Program addresses some of these challenges by providing training, resources, and materials to 26 local primary schools with over 20,000 students. Our programs include:
- Teacher Training Workshops: AAH organizes workshops for outreach school teachers on various topics such as active learning strategies, reading instruction, and exam preparation. By training teachers with new strategies and ideas, we help them to better inspire and educate their students.
- School Lunch Programs: In most government schools in Uganda, students are in school from morning to evening without any lunch. To alleviate this problem, we provide select schools with a subsidy for their lunch program to ensure that students are well-fed and energized for learning.
- Secondary Scholarships: We provide a select number of secondary school scholarships to the highest performing students at our outreach schools. Many of these bright students could not afford secondary schooling without sponsorship from AAH. If you would like to sponsor one of our outreach scholarship students, email email@example.com.
- Practice Exams: We provide schools with practice tests for the Primary Leaving Exam, an important test which determines if students have passed primary and can go on to a good secondary school. Every year, we print 3 sets of exams for approximately 1200 students across our outreach schools. With the help of this program, local schools are slowly improving—Bududa District ranked second to last on the 2008 exam but in 2015 it was 74th district out of 133. We aim to keep moving up the rankings!
- Mentoring and Life Skills: AAH has developed a Life Skills Mentoring Manual for our outreach schools which contains monthly lessons on life skills, decision-making, resisting drugs and alcohol, setting future goals, and preventing HIV and pregnancy. With these lessons, outreach school teachers can encourage children to make positive decisions and avoid pregnancy, early marriage, and school drop-out.
- Debate Tournament: Our annual debate tournament encourages English and public speaking skills, as well as friendly competition between our schools.
- Student Volunteer Program: After our AAH students finish secondary school, many of them volunteer as assistant teachers at some of our most understaffed outreach schools during their break before university. With this program, the outreach schools receive much-needed help while the student volunteers gain valuable teaching experience.
- School Libraries: Most Ugandan schools do not have libraries and as a result, reading culture and literacy rates in Uganda are very poor. We help schools to create small libraries by providing shelves, books, and training. These libraries will help students to develop their vocabulary, improve their English, enhance their critical thinking and creativity, and learn more about the rest of the world.
- Matuwa-Tuckahoe Sister School Partnership: Tuckahoe Elementary School in Arlington, VA has graciously pledged to support Matuwa Primary School as a sister school. With their support, AAH has built a kitchen, made repairs to cracked floors and broken windows, supported their lunch program, and opened up a small library, among several other initiatives.
Our outreach schools are so underfunded and lacking in basic resources that even a small donation can go very far towards supporting their learning. Here is how your donation can help the Outreach Program:
- $25 provides a library bookshelf
- $35 provides a student with lunch for the whole school year
- $80 provides a workshop to train 50 teachers
- $125 provides a set of readers for a classroom
- $300 provides a set of practice exams for 1200 students
Click here to make a one-time or monthly donation to support AAH’s Outreach Program. In the Additional Information section on page 2 of the donation form, please note the donation is intended for the Outreach Program.