Donor support and Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda: the case of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the African Development Bank (ADB), 1997 – 2007
Asio, Betty Belinda
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Education has been seen as a tool for attaining human development, peace, democracy, eradicating poverty and promoting cooperation amongst states. As a result, government introduced UPE in 1997 which saw the increase in primary enrolments rising from 2.6 million in 1995 to over 7.6 million in 2005. However, the increase in enrolments created a strain on the few available school facilities hence attracting criticism and affecting the performance of the newly launched UPE campaign. All these challenges forced government to turn to the donor community for support. Among other stakeholders, USAID and ADB came in to support government achieve success in this sub sector. However, the success achieved in this sub sector has always been attributed to the efforts put in by government leaving out the big role played by the donor agencies such as USAID and ADB. This study therefore focuses on highlighting the role played by these donor agencies, that is, USAID and ADB in resolving some of the challenges faced by government in the implementation of UPE in Uganda. It also points out the challenges that these donor agencies face in their work as they strive to ensure that UPE succeeds in Uganda. Data was collected using the qualitative methodology mainly. This method enabled the researcher attain detailed information regarding the topic. The study was carried out in the central and Eastern regions of Uganda using USAID and ADB as selected case studies. A total of 90 respondents were selected using the purposive and simple random sampling procedure. The data was collected using the following methods; questionnaires, interviews, observation and use of documentary evidence. The data collected was analysed, coded, edited and descriptive statistics presented in tables. The study found out that these donor agencies had greatly contributed to the development of UPE in Uganda. One of the outstanding contributions made was training of teachers which has in turn resulted into the increase in the number of teachers hence improving on the teacher pupil ratios. Besides this, the teachers are now more efficient in their work considering the fact that they are now well equipped with skills which they need to carryout their duties. The study therefore concludes that the donor community has put up a number of initiatives in support of UPE in Uganda and these initiatives have helped resolve most of the challenges that UPE faced initially when it was introduced in 1997. The research recommends the need for more inclusion and participation of local grass root communities and head teachers in the implementation of some of these projects or initiatives. Focus should also be put on making the sub sector self sustainable instead of remaining dependant on foreign assistance.