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Ugandan Education - Openings for a Bright Future!

You may want to explore Ugandan education as one of the things you do as you settle down in this beautiful country. There are 13 years of compulsory education with in the system that will provide incredible opportunity for your child.

The intent of the system is to provide good quality education to all children no matter their age - and of course this comes with enormous challenges with variations in the quality of education in the rural and urban areas, let alone other factors and settings. This allows for both the able and the challenged.

Education in Ugandan is regulated by the government under the stewardship of the Ministry of Education and Sports that provides guidance, support and coordination. It follows a curriculum that is closely monitored by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), taking care of any gaps within the system, regular reviews and reforms.

Much as government provides for free primary and secondary educations, many of the state funded schools are over crowded if not underfunded and therefore quality is compromised in certain areas. Many parents therefore end up with the private schools that require paying school fees which makes education relatively expensive and many times understandably looked at as an 'investment' for the child.

...With good education comes a good job and enhanced income - based on this, for many, it's worth the investment.

Home schooling or private coaching is not permitted in Ugandan Education. However if a child suffers from some type of illness that prevents his/her school attendance, an exemption may be granted - otherwise at the least, if it's not something that would be a threat to the rest of the children in school, the parents will still be encouraged to bring their child to school.

The grading system in Ugandan education doesn't differ very much from others throughout the world. There is a grading system from one to nine, with one being high and nine is failing. It is an extensive grading system compared to the ones that go up to six- as failing. The difference is very much the similarity! - This only allows for broad assessment and grading.

At the end of higher secondary - before joining university; the grading is different. It goes from A to F, with A being high and F is failing or rather poor.

The ideal is - children should start school at six years of age but for various reasons, you will find those that start school much later in life. Uganda allows for adult education and one is free to join the system at any age.

Children of three to six can do kindergarten (nursery school), which prepares them for primary school but kindergarten is entirely voluntary in Uganda and you will hardly find any in the rural areas. This is down to the choices of the parents for their child and whether they can afford it because in most cases it's not free.

Primary school is for years 1 to 7 in schooling years. There is a wide range of schools for the parents to choose from, including the state funded schools that provide free universal primary education, private schools and the international schools (used especially by the foreign families who intend to maintain the curriculum to that of their home country). There are also, of course, religious based schools and boarding schools to choose from.

With in Ugandan education, special needs are taken care of - especially for children with disabilities. There are special schools designed to take care of their needs but also government provides continued support for; their learning/ training, the parent and the teachers.

At the end of primary school, there are national examinations that are taken in Math, English, Social studies and Science. And depending on the grades achieved, there is usually a choice to make on whether to continue to secondary school or go on to vocational school.

Unfortunately the choice is very much dependant on how good the grades are and many times the 'not so good' grades end up in the vocational schools if not for any other reason that they can't continue with secondary education - common reason could be no school fees to continue.

Secondary school is divided into; Lower/ Ordinary level (O-level) and the Advanced level (A-level). The lower level is 4 years of school and the child has the choice of concentrating on 8 subjects among other subjects including; Math, English and the sciences (Physics, Biology and Chemistry) which are compulsory. For some of the rural schools that don't have full-fledged science laboratories, taking sciences may be optional.

At the end of the 4 years of O-level, all students will be required to take the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) national examinations and again, depending on the grades achieved, further choices are made in career guidance. A good number - especially those with good grades take a shot at higher secondary education (A-level) for 2 years before deciding on whether to join university or other tertiary institutions.

The others that can't be absorbed into higher secondary education; that's if they don't drop out will go on to join technical/vocational institutions for 2/3 years or Primary teacher colleges for 2 years.

However, it's worth noting that the numbers of those continuing with formal education keeps reducing as you go higher with the different levels - one of the reasons could be fewer schools than the available students and therefore an investment gap that Ugandan business could take advantage of. There is quite an opportunity here for potential investors.

... And what about the gifted kid? ... Unfortunately there isn't much to choose from with in the Ugandan Education structure for the gifted child. There are hardly any special oriented Ugandan schools for say; music, sports or any other thing that could easily capture a child's interest and gift to develop it further. The few that you will find are privately owned investments ... And therefore many talents go untapped and fazed out as one goes on with formal education.

Before joining University, at the end of the A-level stage, all students will be required to take the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examinations. Those with good grades will usually go on to university but only if they can afford the tuition fees. There is very limited government sponsorship that goes to the cream of the nationals and some times to the disadvantaged but bright students.

When starting your child in the Ugandan education system, it's good to know the basics - identifying your child's needs and making the right choices in identifying which school he/she should attend.

Generally Ugandan education is of good quality that makes it wonderful for a child of any age. And for some time now, Uganda has some of the best choices of schools and universities for quality education in the sub-Saharan region.

Read more about Studying in Uganda here.

... And because the quality of education early on makes for a bright and prosperous future, the number of foreign students attending Ugandan schools and universities has steadily been increasing for the last 10/15 years. Its quite easy to see why many international students continue to make this choice to explore Ugandan education.

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