P1-P3 learners in the UTSEP beneficiary schools easily blend sounds to produce words and sentences. They create poems and stories and take readings in churches.
Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) has become a prominent name in the education sector in recent times. This project has brought about noticeable changes in the quality of Primary Education in Uganda. The country is realizing a new class of capable and confident teachers who are able to teach young learners to read and write at an early age. The revised primary education curriculum has been reinforced through provision of instructional materials to pupils in public primary schools, improving the textbook to pupil ratio for English, Mathematics and local languages from 14:1 to 1:1.
Through this project, for the first time in a long while, educationist at the local government level including district inspectors, district education officials, Primary teacher trainers, head teachers and their deputies' as well as primary school teachers have had their capacities enhanced to perform their roles better. They have also been given the appropriate platforms to articulate and channel their challenges for redress. Community nursery schools in 50 districts have better-trained caregivers. Over 50,000 Primary school going children now have clean, healthier and better learning environments to learn from. School inspection has been modernized and close to 3000 primary schools have better leadership and accountability systems.
In nutshell, close to 8 million school going primary school children will have a better education due to UTSEP's interventions in the past four years in Uganda's primary education sector!
WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT INITIATE UTSEP?
The Government of Uganda recognizes education as a basic human right. Through the Ministry of Education and Sports, the government is dedicated to providing equitable access to quality and affordable education and Sports to all Ugandans.
Primary Education is the core basis of the education system; it absorbs the greatest number of school age going children compared to other levels. This level, therefore, is the foundation of human capital development for the country. For this reason, the government has injected considerable effort and investment so as to realize tangible benefits at this level.
Five years ago, assessments conducted by the Ministry of Education and Sports and the World Bank at the primary education level revealed that although the government was making significant progress towards expanding primary education, thereby realizing some national as well as global goals on education, completion rates at the primary education level remained low. Many learners who remained in primary education were not achieving the minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. There were systemic, school level and teacher related challenges that were constraining performance in Primary Education.
At the teacher level, the challenges included; inadequate teacher competencies, low time on task and absenteeism, limited teacher supervision and insufficient teaching and learning materials among others. In 2011, an assessment on teachers by the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) showed that about half of the tested teachers did not meet the expected standard in oral vocabulary. Three quarters did not have the expected competency in numeracy. At the school level, there was a need to strengthen accountability channels, reinforce school governance and support systems, strengthen parental involvement in school management and improve school facilities so as to strengthen pupil learning outcomes.
To curb this situation, the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Education and Sports initiated the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP). UTSEP is a $100m (more than sh360b) project, funded by Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through World Bank, as the Grant Agent. The project was developed to support the Government in the implementation of the Education Sector Strategic Plan, by improving teacher and school effectiveness in the Public Primary education system in the country. The project centers on improving education service delivery at the classroom level, so as to realize meaningful gains in overall pupil performance in primary education.