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World Bank Advises Uganda to Invest in Early Childhood Education

According to Research conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation –UNESCO, Early childhood education fosters cognitive skills along with attentiveness, motivation, self-control and sociability, a combination of character skills that build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.
According to World Bank, the only way Uganda can be able to attain quality education at primary level is by providing mass nursery school education at national level

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The World Bank has advised the government to invest in early childhood education in order to give a firm foundation to toddlers at a time when they are developing cognitive and character skills.  

According to Research conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation –UNESCO, Early childhood education fosters cognitive skills along with attentiveness, motivation, self-control and sociability, a combination of character skills that build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. 

But the World Bank says that while Uganda has done a commendable job offering universal education at Primary and Secondary levels, there seems to be no effort for the nursery section, which has instead been surrendered to private service providers.  

Safaa El Kogali, the World Bank Education Practice Manager for East Africa says that the government needs to provide nursery education to those that cannot afford the costs charged by private service providers. 

“Focusing on primary education is not enough if learners are likely to fail or not complete school because they did not attain pre-primary education.… the government can decide to offer pre-primary education to those that cannot afford it as it does for UPE and leave private providers to cater for those that can afford," she said.

Kogali was speaking at the close of the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project, implemented as part of a USD 100 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education in 2014, as support for the implementation of the Education Sector Strategic Plan. The World Bank was the supervising entity for the grant. 

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In addition to working together, El Kogali says that the government needs to supervise all private Early Childhood Development service providers to make sure that what they are teaching is beneficial to learners. 

"Data shows that by the time learners leave Primary Seven, they lack two and a half years of education. All learners should leave that level after receiving the quality education that will enable them to prevail at the primary level. For this to happen, the government needs to regulate the sector," she added.  

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The education ministry estimates that there are over 750 Early Childhood Development facilities in the country. But, Rosemary Sseninde, the Minister of State for Primary Education says that the lacuna in the provision of Early Childhood Education will be resolved with the ECD policy which is now awaiting cabinet approval. 

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Dr Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the commissioner for Basic Education says that even if cabinet passes the ECD policy tomorrow, the education sector as it stands cannot roll out the policy at national level as suggested by World Bank.

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