Adult Literacy and Continuing Education in Uganda

The revival of adult literacy programmes started in 1992 with a pilot project in eight districts of Apac, Hoima, Kabarole, Mbarara, Mpigi, Mukono, Iganga and Kamuli.  The project was then extended to cover 22 districts in 1999 and thereafter expanded to the whole country.  Evaluations carried out on the programmes show that it has improved enrolments considerably.
 According to Uganda's National Adult Literacy Strategic Investment Plan, the country's literacy rate is 68 per cent - 76 per cent for men and 61 per cent for females. 
But the literacy levels vary according to regions, with the urban areas recording higher rates compared to the rural areas - 87 per cent and 59 per cent respectively.  Some rural areas, especially in the north, have a literacy rate of 47 per cent compared to the Central region where the average literacy rate is 77 per cent.  In total 5.5 million women and 1.4 million men are illiterate. Broadly, the functional Adult Literacy programmes is aimed at equipping the youth and adults, especially women, persons with disabilities and the elderly, with literacy and numeric skills to enable them to participate in the economic, socio-cultural and political transformation and modernization of Uganda, so as to reduce poverty.  The overall objective of the programme is to increase people's access to information and participate in self, community and national development.  Since inception, the programme has trained 30,000 literacy instructors, purchased and distributed 11,114 bicycles to literacy instructors countrywide and developed instructional materials. Through FAL, the number of adults enrolled in literacy programmes has grown considerably to the current 434,664, comprising 108,943 males and 325,721 females.  Details of enrolment are contained in Table 18.  Literacy materials have been produced in six languages- Luganda, Luo, Lunyankole, Lukiga, Lutoro, Ateso and Lukonjo.  The literacy materials include primers, instructors' guides and charts. Some post-literacy programmes have also been developed to promote continuing education. 
  • Inadequate training for literacy instructor (only one week training);
  • Poor remuneration for the literacy instructors;
  • Lack of programme ownership by the village, parish, sub-county and district authorities;
  • Learning materials do not suit all the different languages or interest of the learners;
  • Low participation by men who shy  away from being seen as illiterate;
  • Inadequate funding to provide teaching and learning materials. 

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