Uganda: Report – Young Learners Hit Hardest By Covid-19 Measures

A new report has revealed that learning by younger children has been greatly affected by Covid-19 pandemic and closure of schools compared to their older counterparts.

It calls for more emphasis on pre-primary.

These findings were contained in a report released by Uwezo Uganda, an independent organisation in its ninth National Learning Assessment Report (NLAR). The findings were based on the household assessment to test children’s basic literacy and numeracy skills.

The assessment was conducted between August and September 2021 involving 870 volunteers and 29 village coordinators who visited 5673 households and surveyed 15,033 children in 455 villages in 29 nationally represented districts.

The findings indicated that the rate of full reading competence for the whole set of grades P3-7 has risen from 32.5% in 2018 to 39.5% in 2021 but the overall proportion of children who are still at the non-reader stage doubled from 6.2% in 2018 to 11.6% in 2021 for P3.

The proportion of non-readers increased from 12.7% in 2018 to 25.1% in 2021.

“Children who experienced different kinds of disability, compared to other children, were either more or equally likely to have reached the levels of skill, except that those with a memory difficulty were less likely to be able to read words,” the report indicated.

With regard to continued learning during school closure, the report showed that, the higher the grade, the more likely the child was involved in home-based learning and the increase is consistent except that being in a candidate class’ (P7 or S4) seemed to have an influence.