The impact of UNESCO on the success of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda: A case of selected schools in Central Uganda
The study was set out to evaluate the impact of UNESCO on the success of universal primary education (UPE) in Uganda especially selected schools in central. It was guided by the following objectives; to assess the extent to which international trends and priorities have influenced national education policy formulation in Uganda relating to UPE policy, determine the challenges faced by UNESCO towards attaining Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda and establish the strategies that can be adopted to overcome the challenges that are faced by UNESCO towards attaining Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda. The period under study was 1997-2015 because it coincides with the time when the UPE program was introduced in Uganda by UNESCO, with the expectation to have improved quality and access to basic primary education. A cross sectional research design was used basing on the sample size of 80 respondents who were employees of Uganda National Commission for UNESCO as well as Ministry of Education and Sports and four primary schools were included in the study. Closed ended questionnaires were used to collect data. Data was analyzed using SPSS to capture sample characteristics, and perception of the respondents in regard to the study objectives. Findings from the study showed that, UNESCO is providing technical advice for policy making and strengthening capacities of teachers for quality education and lifelong learning. It revealed that UNESCO encourages governments to put much emphasis on in-service training of teachers to equip them with skills to provide quality education. It also revealed that in the study that increase in pupil numbers as a result of UPE has raised the challenge of the need for more qualified teachers to improve the quality of Education in Uganda. Government has done some work in this regard and a number of teachers have been trained and upgraded, however, the teacher-pupil ratios are still poor. The study also established that a number of challenges however still exist these include; Low completion rates at primary school level, rising dropout rates at all levels, low achievement competency levels, inadequate infrastructure and instructional materials, teacher absenteeism and promotion of sustainable private/public partnership. Findings further revealed that the quality of education in Uganda was greatly affected by the introduction of the education for all (UPE) due to the unexpected increase in pupil enrolment; this led to the overstraining of the available resources, leading to reduction in the quality of education. The resources that were affected most are: financial, infrastructure, scholastic material and human resources among others. It was concluded and recommended that while government has the will and zeal to ensure that UPE succeeds, more support by International organizations like UNESCO is critical and urgent. These interventions however should not be restricted to the urban areas but also should spread to all parts of the country. If the collaboration between the government and the International Organizations is ensured, success of UPE is likely to be achieved more effectively.