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Access To Education

Why is Access to Education Important?

There are plenty of reasons why education is important. Generally speaking, they all tie closely to a person’s goals in life and to their future well-being. Below are some of the other most common reasons education is so important:

  • Education helps a person hone their communication skills by learning how to read, write, speak and listen.
  • Education develops critical thinking. This is vital in teaching a person how to use logic when making decisions and interacting with people (e.g., boosting creativity, enhancing time management).
  • Education helps an individual meet basic job qualifications and makes them more likely to secure better jobs.
  • Education promotes gender equality and helps empower girls and women. A World Bank report found that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces teen pregnancy rates by six per cent and gave women more control over how many children they have.
  • Education reduces child mortality. According to UNESCO, a child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five.

Even though the literacy percentage has grown to over 75%, Many still have no access to  proper academic systems in the country. The quality, funding and accessibility of public  education is still poor and the little cost charged still a challenge to many families. Here are a  number challenges to access of education in Uganda; 

  1. Infrastructure. In the rural areas the roads are  almost impassable in the rainy season as they  flood to almost knee lengths. Some schools are  located across water bodies and the students and/or school staff are faced with bad weather on the  waters. Some schools are also using very  dilapidated structures with inadequate services like clean water and power. In the urban areas the  learners are faced with traffic jam. They have to  move as early as 0500hrs for 0800hrs classes. 

  2. Financial constraints. Education is a very expensive venture in Uganda. From nursery to  university the routine funds needed to keep a child in school are very high. This puts a very  large gap between learners of the different social economic statuses. The price to pay in a  top notch school that has advanced learning aids, systems and exceptional human resource  is too high. Many Ugandans are also not able secure education insurance schemes for their  children so orphans become marginalized. There are also a number of youth that have to  pay their way through school and when they evaluate the total cost of moving forward to  attain a degree, they realize the burden is heavier than if they transferred their resources  and time to mini businesses. Learners also continuously miss classes when they are sent  back home to bring more funds to their fees. 

  1. Culture. Though this has improved overtime, the girl child especially has been affected by  cultural beliefs even in the education sphere. Women had always been considered as home  based people with their primary role as childbearing and caretaking. So men were groomed  to be the bread basket of the family and when education was considered a prime means of  reaching financial independence, males were definitely given priority. In other cultural  instances, some believe they are chosen by the gods to do divinations and sorcery and that  education contradicts their spiritual rituals. Teenagers are initiated into this way of life and  their education ambitions are squashed there and then. 
  2. Home chores. This may seem awkward to someone who has not lived in Uganda but to  natives it is ordinary. Before children are permitted to head to school they must accomplish  some tasks at home like fetching water from the nearby source, doing dishes, cleaning the house interior and exterior and in some cases even cooking and digging. So by the time the  learner reaches school, they are exhausted and pretty disinterested.

The Power of education

Even with the many challenges one would wonder what incites the growing education curve  in Uganda. What could possibly drive a peasant to beat all odds and attain a university  degree? One can only say it’s the Power of education. It has become such a force that has  created an undeniable whirlwind in Uganda. Here are a few factors that have made  education powerful in Uganda; 

Financial independence. The view of people able to live a satisfactory or even luxurious life  through high paying jobs or opportunities they couldn’t otherwise attain without education  is the biggest motive of attaining high education levels. In the previous 3 decades it was an  

obvious calculation that higher education equals great financial opportunities. The educated  work force was so small and lacking that even minor duties called for the employment of  foreign consultants. But this has since changed in the past decade, the workforce grew  exponentially and it is now very competitive. Many graduates have opted to work odd jobs  and open up small enterprises away from their line of profession as they wait for their  career opportunities. This however has not slowed down the enrollment of students into  different learning opportunities. 

Social status. It is becoming prestigious to be educated in Uganda. And there are clubs or  social groups you can not be a part of if you don’t have a certain level of education. It is  ground for mockery to not have your children sent to school and in some other  communities, an esteemed class of school. On a better note this has eased networking and  financial connections in the elite workforce. 

Business in the education sector. The competition in the education sector has given rise to  improved services and innovations in schools and institutes

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