Lack of education has previously been listed as one of the largest causes of poverty in Ugandan households. This is because it leads to reduced income generating opportunities, particularly for women who have more illiterate rates than men (GoU, 1999). Primary Education has been highlighted as a key element to reducing poverty, perceived to benefit the poor directly by bringing higher incomes, better health, and empowerment, especially for girls. According to the UN, educated women are more likely to then educate those around them. Data from the Ugandan Ministry of Education shows that female enrolment at primary level education has increased over the past 15 years, to be almost equal with that of male enrolments.
IGF has made a commitment to providing pre-primary and primary education, for both boys and girls. A particular focus for 2016-2017 is to:
– Ensure that girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
– Ensure that girls and boys complete equitable and quality holistic primary education that prepares them for secondary, vocational and technical education.
– Provide sanitation and hygiene for our children, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
Student enrolments at all IGF primary schools for 2016 show a balanced enrolment of both boys and girls at most year levels. As is a common trend, female enrolments tend drop more than boys in the final years of primary school, such as Primary 6 and Primary 7. Pleasingly, this has not been the case this year for Padibe and Amida Primary Schools.
Of the scarce published research into this trend, data indicates that marriage or pregnancy is an important factor for girls ages 13-18 years dropping out of primary school, especially in Northern Uganda where IGF serves. Another factor is the gendered division of labour within the household, requiring girls to do more work at home (Kasente, 2003).
Focusing on equal education and opportunities for both boys and girls at pre-primary and primary education, and encouraging and empowering girls, is just one of the many ways that IGF is contributing to the growth and development of Northern Uganda.
*GoU (1999) Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment Process. Perspectives of the poor. Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Kampala.
*Kasente, DH (2003) Gender and Education in Uganda. A Case Study for EFA Monitoring Report, 2003.
*Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports. Education and Sports Sector Fact Sheet 2002 – 2013 http://www.education.go.ug/files/downloads/Fact%20Sheet%202002-2013.pdf