Since the introduction of Universal Primary Education in 1997, Uganda has experienced remarkable progress in widening access to education. Today, the number of children enrolled has increased from 3 million to 8 million.
Yet despite this incredible achievement, education performance and the quality of learning continue to lag. One of the main reasons for this is high teacher absenteeism (between 17-30% on a national level).
A 2014 Ministry of Education and Sport report discovered that teacher dissatisfaction is a major problem in the Ugandan education system. In a national survey on job satisfaction, only 16% of teachers aspired to remain in the profession over the coming two years.
These high numbers of absent and disengaged teachers are having a drastic impact on the learning outcomes of children, reducing their time spent in the classroom and disrupting their progress.
So why are teachers missing school in Uganda?
Problems for the future
This poses more problems for the future as there is already a shortage of qualified teachers in rural areas. Educators have warned that unless the teaching profession is made more attractive, and teachers begin to see the benefits and rewards of their practice, the quality of education will continue to suffer and disengaged individuals will enter the profession
only as a last resort.