Seven years of hard work and study have come together as students across Uganda sat for their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) in early November. These exams are set at the national level, and play a large role in determining the quality of high school that students can be accepted into, and are also often used by employers in the hiring and selection process.

While completing primary school is expected in countries like Australia and United States, there are still a large portion of students that drop out of primary school throughout Uganda. Recent statistics reveal that 7 out of 10 children in Uganda will not complete primary school. Only 33% of children that start primary school will actually complete to Primary 7.

There are many factors impacting the dropout rates of children from Primary school. For some children it is due to their parents being uneducated and illiterate and therefore not seeing any value in their children gaining an education. For others it is challenges of school fees, books, uniforms and stationery. For some adolescent girls there are challenges created through pressures to care for younger siblings, early marriage, or missing too much school due to their monthly periods if they don’t have access to pads or other resources.

IGF is working hard to increase the completion rate of primary school education. Programs such as providing two free meals at school each day, providing re-useable sanitary pads to adolescent girls, providing counselling, reducing parents’ contribution to a minimum for sponsored children, and giving stationery and uniforms when possible to the most at-risk children, are all helping to support children and their families.

This year, 151 pupils from IGF sat for the Primary Leaving Examinations. While this number is a lot less than the number that started Primary 1 class together back in 2012, we are extremely proud of each of these children for continuing this far and completing their primary education We are all eagerly awaiting the final results which are to be released in mid-January. However, we believe that each one of these children has been successful, regardless of their final grade!