World Bank has approved a $150 million project aimed at boosting secondary education in rural Uganda. The international lender, in a statement, issued late on Friday said 2.5 million learners will directly benefit from the Uganda Secondary Education Expansion Project. A total of 116 new lower secondary schools will be constructed and 61 schools will benefit from additional classrooms in underserved districts in the country. This will create 70,300 new spaces for learners, including 30,000 in areas hosting refugees.
The project, according to the statement, will provide textbooks and teacher guides, support continuous teacher professional development and implement an accelerated education programme for children who are not currently attending school. “Uganda needs to expand access to secondary education to enhance its human capital. “This is essential if Uganda is to improve the future wellbeing of its citizens while also enable the economy to grow through their increased productivity,’’ said Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
“This project aims to provide new school spaces while at the same time creating a conducive learning environment, which is safe, promotes students’ personal growth and self-esteem. “It will also increase retention for both boys and girls,’’ Thompson was quoted as saying in the statement. The bank said while Uganda is a pioneer in sub-Saharan Africa in implementing policies to achieve universal access to primary and secondary education, funding to the sector is among the lowest in the region.
During the last five years, education expenditure as a share of the national budget declined to 10 per cent in 2019/20 while the average for sub-Saharan Africa is 16 percent and has been steadily increasing over the same period. While Uganda’s enrolment at the Universal Secondary Education level has increased at an average of six percent annually, the rate of growth remains low compared to 25 per cent in Kenya and 16 per cent in Rwanda.