Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 17,000 in service teachers across the country have received training in early grade reading to boost literacy rates among learners in Primary 1 to 4.
This is part of the activities being undertaken by Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project- UTSEP aimed at training teachers at both early childhood development and lower primary levels on how to read in their mother tongue with the aim of improving literacy levels among Ugandan learners that has for long been found lacking.
According to the Education Ministry, teachers from 29 districts benefited from the training including Eastern Uganda, which has time and again had the worst performance in national examinations. 2,500 of those trained are head teachers, 3809 primary one teachers, 3,809 primary two teachers, 3470 primary three teachers and 3,618 primary four teachers.
The teachers were trained over a period of four years starting 2015 at an estimated cost of shillings 370 billion. Dr. Tony Mukasa Lusmabu, the Commissioner in-charge of Basic Education, says they expect better results than what was targeted because they trained more teachers than what they planned for.
“When the project was starting we targeted a total of 12,100 teachers at different levels. But when the project begun we found out that more teachers needed the training and we are happy that we had the funds available to carry out the training,” Dr. Lusambu said in Kampala recently.
According to Dr. Lusambu, the quality of education among learners in lower primary has improved due to the high numbers of teaches retrained.
The 2019 TWAWEZA-Are Our Children Learning report showed an improvement in the number of children who couldn’t read or carry out simple arithmetic. The report shows that number reduced from 6.8 percent in 2015 to 6.2 in 2019. Rosemary Seninde, the Education State Minister, says with the training of teachers, learners will know how to read with guidance from their teachers.
A 2011 assessment carried out by Uganda National Examinations Board on the competence of teachers revealed that half of those tested didn’t the meet the expected standard in oral vocabulary especially when it came to pronunciation of words. It also revealed that three quarters had difficulty in numeracy.
In addition to training teachers, 185 motorcycles were bought to enable school inspection and 896 class room blocks built for 140 schools in 29 districts. Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, the Director Education Standards in the Health Ministry, says the grant enabled them come close to providing quality education for learners that has for long been a challenge.