The State Of Uganda’s Education

Yesterday, the President of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni delivered the state of nation address.

Under the Constitution of Uganda, the president is mandated to deliver the address at the annual opening of parliament, delivering key details on the current political and social economic state of the nation.

As of 2015, the Ministry of Education reported there were 4,956 early childhood learning (ECD) centres in the country.

We shall examine the current state of education in Uganda.

Early childhood learning

As of 2015, the Ministry of Education reported there were 4,956 early childhood learning (ECD) centres in the country. 433,258 pupils are enrolled with 50.4% females. ECDs employ a total of 15,332 teachers (female teachers making up over 85%), bringing the pupil to teacher ratio to 28:1. The biggest percentage of teachers – 50.9% – have a Diploma in Nursery Teaching.

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Primary Education

Of the 18,408 primary schools in the country, 12,235 (66.5%) are government owned, whereas the rest are privately owned. Majority of the government institutions were religious founded. Mengo Junior School is the oldest primary school, founded by the Anglican Church Missionary Society in 1899.

The number of pupils enrolled in primary schools has grown from 2,203,824 in 1986 up to 8,772,655 in 2015. There’s a greater number of girls enrolled compared to boys (4,395,243 compared to 4,377,412), which as a result closed the gender gap. In the teaching workforce totalling to just under 200,000, there is a gender imbalance with 111,272 male teachers compared to 79,945 female counterparts.

In the national Primary Leaving Exams, schools in the central region dominate with the best performing schools.


Of the 2,950 secondary schools in the country, 1,060 are government schools. In total, 1,633 schools receive government aid in form of grants. As part of the government’s vision of ensuring the sustainability of UPE, 79.9% of secondary schools are located within a distance of <1 km from the nearest primary schools. This will in the long run ensure there is at least a secondary school in each sub-county in the country.

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A total of 1,391,250 students are enrolled in secondary schools, with the share of female enrolment rising to 47%. A total of 10,366 students are below the recommended age of entry into secondary education, whereas 140,659 students are over age (they are above 18 years). The repetition rate is highly responsible for the presence of over age students. This increases congestion in schools with intense competition for the limited resources; and there is a wastage of government resources.

Of the 63,957 teachers in secondary education, 82% are qualified (possess the Grade V minimum standard qualification). Government schools employ 27,841 teachers, majority being male (20,762).


Of the 189 tertiary institutions in the country, 115 (72%) are privately owned. The government runs six public universities i.e. Makerere University, MUBS, Kyambogo university, Gulu University, Mbarara university of Science & Technology, and Busitema University.

Tertiary institutions in Uganda have a total of 201,376 students enrolled, 56% of the students being male. There is an unmet gap of 13% gender disparity at tertiary level of education.

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The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in primary section is at 0.5% of the total enrollment, translating in 38,789 pupils that are HIV positive. At secondary level, 10,210 students and 593 teachers are HIV positive.