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Report: Uganda’s Literacy Level Rises; Parents Faulted for Keeping Kids at Home

The literacy rate for Ugandans has increased considerably in recent years, a new survey report shows – but government will have to do more to have all kids in school

The 2016/17 Uganda National Household Survey determined literacy by one’s “ability to read with understanding and to write a simple sentence meaningfully” in any language.

Released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on Wednesday, the report indicated that “literacy rate for persons aged 10 years and above was estimated at 74 percent a slight increase by three percentage points from 71 percent in the 2012/13.”

Literacy rate was higher for males than females.

Information was collected on the literacy status of household members aged 3 years and above.

The research further shows the literacy rates for males (78 percent) were higher than that of females (70 percent).

Literacy rates for residents in urban areas were much higher than for the rural folks (87 percent and 69 percent respectively).

The literacy levels were much lower among females and males in rural areas (64 percent) than in the urban areas (84 percent).

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Females and males in the Kampala, Central1 and Central 2 were more likely to be literate than those in other Sub-regions.

Karamoja

However, the percentage of literate females was lowest in the Karamoja with only twenty one percent able to read with understanding and write meaningfully in a given language.

Furthermore, 12 percent of persons aged 15 years and above did not have formal education, while five percent of the school-going-age of 6 to 24 years had never attended school.

About half of the school-going age of 6-24 years in Karamoja had never attended school.

Twenty three percent were not attending at the time of the survey but had attended earlier in the past.

Forty three percent of 6 to 12 year olds who had never attended school were considered too young for school by their parents.

The Gross Enrolment ratio was estimated as 117 percent and was highest in Teso (139 percent), Bukedi (133 percent) and West Nile (131 percent).

Education facilities

With regard to access to education facilities, 77 percent of the persons attending day primary school travelled less than 3 kilometers to school.

Compared to 2009/10, there was an increase in the percentage of persons attending school within a radius of 3 kilometers from their homes from 73 percent.

Forty three percent of 6 – 12 years olds who had never attended school were considered as too young for school by their parents.

For one to appreciate the importance of literacy, it is vital to recognize its impact on various areas such as poverty, health and empowerment.

Various communities appreciate that being illiterate is a condition that denies people opportunities.

Information was collected on the literacy status of household members aged 3 years and above.

Attending School

Access to education is a fundamental human right and is one of the basic needs of every child around the World.

Regular school attendance is an important part of giving any child a chance at a better life but many times children fail to attend school for a number of reasons.

The UNHS collected information from children aged 6 – 12 years who reported they had never attended primary school.

Four in every ten children aged 6 – 12 years (43 percent) who had never attended school did so because their parents considered them too young.

About five out of every ten children did not attend because their parents did not want.

The increase of 17 percentage points in parental resentment is considerable given the short time span between the two survey periods.

About 14 percent of the children did not attend school because it was considered too expensive. Six percent of the children had to help either at home or on the farm.

Overall, the percentage of persons aged 15 years and above that lacked formal education dropped by 9 percentage points from 21percent in 2012/13 to 12 percent in 2016/17.

Slightly more than half of the population aged 15 years and above (51 percent) reported having attained some primary education or completed primary education. One in every five persons aged 15 years and above reported having completed secondary education.

The proportion of females with no formal education (16 percent) was almost thrice that of their male counterparts (7 percent).

The proportion of people with no formal schooling was highest in Karamoja sub-region (63 percent) compared with other sub regions.

Across all the sub-regions there was a rise in the number of persons aged 15 years and above who had attained some or completed primary education.

In the severely affected areas of the PRDP districts a rise of 7 percentage points in the number of persons aged 15 years and above who had attained some or completed primary education was a noticeable change.

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