1.1. Education System in Uganda
Uganda’s education system has been in place since the early 1960’s. It consists of seven years of primary education following which students have a wide range of options for both public and private education institutions depending on their aptitude, ambitions and resources. The current education system is shown in Figure 1. It should be noted that although, the pre-primary level is not mentioned, some primary schools especially those in urban setting only admit children who have undergone 1-3 years of education at this level and the Ministry of Education and Sports is also beginning to regulate this level by standardizing its curriculum. Primary education, however, is still considered the first level of formal education in which pupils follow a common basic curriculum. This is followed by a secondary cycle of six years (four at lower secondary and two and higher secondary) before proceeding to university education for three to five years depending on the duration of the course offered. On successful completion of primary school, the pupils can go either for secondary education; or take a three-year crafts course in technical schools. Those completing Uganda Certificate of Education have four possible outlets: successful candidates can either proceed for an advanced certificate of education; join a two-year advanced crafts course in technical institutes; join a two-year grade III primary teaching programme; or join any of the government's departmental programmes such as agriculture, health, veterinary, and cooperatives.
After the completion of the advanced certificate of education the students can either: proceed to university; join a two-year course leading to ordinary diploma in teacher education, technical education; business studies or join departmental programmes.
As at end of 2010, gross enrolment at primary was 8,645,583 pupils with girls accounting for more than 50 percent (i.e.4,326,013 pupils). During the same period, 519,246 candidates sat for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), an increase of 8% on the number who sat in 2009. The transition rate to senior one for 2010 was 64.5%, implying that not all who finished primary level of education in 2009 proceeded to secondary. At the secondary level, the transition rate to senior 5 was even lower, i.e. at 50.7%. There were 264,635 candidates who sat their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Examinations after four years of education at this level, over 46,000 students more than the number that sat in 2009. The next level in secondary is the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (also sometimes referred to as Higher School Certificate). In 2010, 98,219 candidates sat for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education, an increase of 10% over the number that sat in 2009. The transition rate at this level is about 35%, implying that only about 35,000 are able to join university education.
There are currently, 32 universities in Uganda all accounting for a student population of about 110,000, turning out over 30,000 graduates annually. Makerere University alone accounts for over 30% of this total. There are also technical and commercial business colleges that enroll another 20,000 students studying various disciplines, some of these are of particular relevance to the needs and development of the private sector. For instance, Technical colleges enroll about 2,000 offering disciplines such as metal works/foundry; carpentry, ICT skills, hotel and tourism, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry; etc. There are efforts currently geared at fostering cooperation between the training institutions and the private sector which will ensure that courses and graduates are relevant to the need of the private sector.
1.2. Government Plans and Priorities in the Education Sector
The government of Uganda attaches great importance to improvement of education services since education plays a vital role in promoting sustainable development through improving the people’s skills as well as raising awareness on various issues of national importance including improving general standards of living. There has been a remarkable change in this sector over the past years, especially since the inception of the Universal Education Programmes. More schools, institutions, colleges and universities have been established; and enrolments in all these institutions have exponentially increased. The private sector participation in the education sector has also been remarkable to the extent that education is increasingly being seen as an export sector.
Current national priorities, as stipulated in policy documents issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports, include: -
i) Provision of Universal Primary and Secondary Education (UPE and USE);
ii) Sensitization of the population about UPE and USE in order that communities fully participate in their implementation;
iii) Provision of construction materials for primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions in a progressive manner;
iv) Improvement of Teacher Training Programmes and rehabilitation of Teachers’ Colleges;
v) Making the Teacher central in the education system by creating a well trained, facilitated and disciplined teacher;
vi) Improving the teaching of science, mathematics, technical and technology education at all levels;
vii) Vocationalisation of the curriculum through a systematic introduction at all levels staff development programmes;
viii) Review and reform of the examination in order to incorporate continuous assessment; and
ix) Implementation of strategies that will redress the existing imbalances i.e. gender, geographical, social, or otherwise as well as the disparities in education standards and performance throughout the education system in general and primary and secondary education in particular.
2. Products/Services in the education Sector
The products or services offered/produced by the education system in Uganda are determined by its quality as seen by the various stakeholders. The ultimate aim is to equip the population with skills relevant for sustainable development. Currently, the minimum standards are set in the UN millennium development goals (MDGs) where government annual reports/statistics usually assess where Uganda is in terms of these MDGs. For the case of education, Uganda’s progress towards MDGs is as summarized Table 1 which shows that Uganda is on the path to attainment of the MDGs as targeted by year 2015. Some of the targets shall even be attained earlier than 2015.
At each level of the education system, Uganda produces a number of graduates but the numbers are reducing as one goes up the formal system due to varied reasons. For instance at primary education level as of 2010, there were 8,645,583 pupils enrolled with about 520,000 sitting the Primary Leaving Examinations in that year. At the secondary level, the number of candidates who sat their senior four examinations out of a total enrolment of about 650,000 was about 137,000. As one goes higher the ladder the number of graduates decreases. Finally, at the tertiary level, the total enrolment is about 130,000 with university enrolment accounting for about 71 percent of this. The positive government policies are encouraging more participation of the private sector in the provision of education services, the above trends of enrolment will grow positively.
Table 1: Uganda’s Progress in the MDG’s attainment.
Source: Statistical Abstract 2010, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS)
3. Education Sector Outlook
3.1. Status and performance at each level
3.1.1. The Universal Primary Education (UPE) Policy
The Education Policy Review Commission (EPRC) recommended that Universal Primary Education (UPE) for the entire primary cycle be achieved by the year 2010. The policy objectives of providing UPE include, among others: -
• Making basic education accessible to the learners and relevant to their needs as well as meeting national goals;
• Making education equitable in order to eliminate disparities and inequalities;
• Establishing, providing and maintaining quality education to promote national human resource development;
• Initiating a fundamental positive transformation of society in the social, economic and political field;
• Ensuring that education is affordable by the majority of Ugandans by providing, initially the minimum necessary facilities and resources, and progressively the optimal facilities; and
• Enable every child to enter and remain in school until they complete the primary education cycle.
Consequently in 1997, Universal Primary Education (UPE) was implemented with the intent of broadening access to primary schooling, largely through reducing the costs of schooling. The effects of implementing UPE were dramatic. The primary school enrolment which was about 3.1 million in 1996 rose to 5.2 million in 1997, an increase y about 68%. Table 2 shows the primary school enrolment and other indicators at this level from 2005 to 2009. The number of schools, as well as the number of teachers continued to increase over the years. Between 2005 and 2009, there was an increase of 3,551 schools representing about 21% increase or an average increase of 710 schools per year. The ratio of pupils to teachers has remained almost constant at about 50 pupils per teacher during the period 2005-2009. This indicates more contact between pupils and teachers, hence improvement in quality. The ratio of pupils per classroom has also continued to fall from 74 pupils per classroom in 2005 to 68 pupils per classroom in 2009.
Table 2: Trend of Key Primary Education Indicators in Uganda: 2005-2009
Source: Statistical Abstract 2010, Uganda Bureau of Statistics
Of the 17,127 primary schools registered by the Ministry of Education as of December 2009, about 72% were owned by government, which is a drop by almost 10% of the 2006 figures. In 2006, government owned schools accounted for 81%. This is an indication that the private sector involvement since 2006 has intensified. Correspondingly, school ownership by the community has also decreased from 11% in 2006 to 5% as of 2009. Overall, government still has greater control at this level of education owing to its policy of enabling all school going age at this level to be in school. In terms of funding at this level, government is also shouldering a bigger percentage of schools whereby in 2009, it was providing funding to 69% of the schools (11,800 schools) as well as partial support to another 3% of schools (i.e. 491 schools), a reduction by 74 schools from 2006 level. Figure 2, gives a diagrammatic presentation of the level of government support to schools as at year end 2009.
3.1.2. Secondary Education
This level has witnessed unprecedented growth rates by over 19% over the last 5 years in the enrolment of students, but yet to attain the necessary capacity to cope with the large numbers of primary school leavers. The Table 3 shows the key indicators at secondary education level where the enrolment increased from 728,393 in 2005 to 1,194,454 at end of 2009. The tremendous increase is attributable to the introduction of the universal secondary education in 2007. As of 2010, a total of 264,635 candidates sat the Uganda Certificate of Education Examinations, with 104,000 of them registering under the Universal Secondary Education scheme. However, it is still seen that during the academic year 2010, there were 519,246 pupils who sat primary seven leaving examinations vying for about 300,000 places available at senior one. This indicates that if all candidates sitting their primary leaving examinations manage to qualify for the next level of education, then only 57% of them can be absorbed for secondary education which calls for additional investments at this level by both government and the private sector.
Table 3: Trend of Key Secondary Education Indicators in Uganda: 2005-2009
Source: Statistical Abstract 2010, Uganda Bureau of Statistics
Of the 3,149 secondary schools registered by the Ministry of Education as of December 2009, 69% were owned by others (i.e. by the private sector and the community). Government is only owning about 31% but in terms of funding, 24% of the schools were wholly supported by government, see Figure 3. This is an indication that the private sector is increasingly taking over the operations and running of the affairs of secondary education. The introduction of Universal Secondary Education (USE), has not changed this picture either, since the role of the other actors who are not government is still seen to be bigger.
3.1.3. Tertiary Education
At this level, there are various institutions that absorb students after senior six. These institutions are: universities and their affiliates (currently 32 in number); teacher colleges (numbering 9); technical colleges; health colleges; management & social development institutions; business colleges; theological colleges; hotels & tourism training institutes; media and communications training centres; agricultural, forestry & fisheries colleges; meteorology; and aeronautical school, among others. As of 2010, altogether there were about 100,000 students who sat their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations in order to join these tertiary education institutions. This number is a remarkable drop from the 264,000 that sat the Uganda Certificate of Education (senior four) examinations of the same year which was also still a further drop from the 520,000 candidates who sat their primary leaving examinations in 2010. All these indicate that investment opportunities for expansion are prevalent at the tertiary education level for the private sector to take advantage of. Statistics at this level of education also indicate that the education quality indicators for most institutions are good.
In total, enrolment at tertiary level was 155,082 students as at 2009 with universities accounting for 69% of this total. Of the total university enrolment of 107,729, Makerere University alone accounted for 31%. It is also interesting to note that a lot of foreign students from neighbouring countries are attending tertiary education in Uganda and these accounted for 9% of total enrolment at various universities during the same period. This situation is helped by the government liberal policy of allowing the private sector to drive growth in the economy in general and in the education sector in particular. Figure 4 shows the share of universities by ownership type where presently the private sector owns about 69% of the total university establishments in Uganda and the public sector accounts for only 31%. This trend where private investment is dominant is expected to grow with the liberalization of the sector.
However, in terms of students’ enrolment the public institutions still account for a bigger percentage as depicted in Figure 5 where 56% of total enrolment at tertiary level is still with public institutions and the rest is accounted for by the private sector.
3.1.4. Vocational Education Training Policy
The current government policy on technical education and Vocational Education Training (VET) aims at: -
• Introduction of changes necessary to create a favorable environment for industrial training, improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency in public training;
• Provision of training by employers and the private sector;
• Changing the negative attitudes towards technical and vocational education programmes;
• Integrating technical and business/or entrepreneurial skills to enable students to enter self-employment;
• Provision of at least one vocational secondary school in every district; and
• Vocationalisation of both primary and secondary education system to ensure provision of useful and employable skills at the end of each stage of the educational cycle.
3.2. Employment trends in the sector
In order to gauge the level of employment of education sector in the economy, the areas to consider include: learning institutions like schools and tertiary training institutions; regulators like Ministry of Education, among others.
Household surveys conducted in 2002/03 and 2005/06 indicate that agriculture still accounted for the biggest proportion of employment in the economy. Education’s share of total employment was 2.8% in 2002/03 and in 2005/06 it slightly decreased to 2.5% as shown in the Table 4. Total labour force during this period increased from 9.8 million persons in 2002/03 to 10.9 million persons in 2005/06 according to the Uganda National Household Surveys. At 2.6%, the education sector employs over 270,000 people in Uganda, ranking fourth overall in the economy.
Table 4: Employment by Broad Categories:
In terms of expenditure, education ranked high, as 3rd overall, in the share of household expenditures as is illustrated in Table 5.
Table 5: Percent Share of Household Expenditure by Item Groups:
3.3. Education contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP
Education activities decreased by 0.5 percent in Financial Year (FY) 2009/10 compared to an increase of 4.3 percent witnessed during FY2008/09. The sector contributed 5.3 percent to the total GDP at current prices in 2009/10. At least for the last 5 years, education contribution to the GDP has been above 5%, making education the 6th largest sector of Ugandan economy by economic activity after Agriculture, Construction, Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail, Real Estates, and Transport/Communications. Figure 5 shows the contribution of education sector and its growth rates during the last five years. In Financial Year (FY)2006/07, the rates of growth of education were higher than those of the GDP reaching a peak of over 10.6% before declining to negative in FY2007/2008. However, the education sector contribution to the GDP has remained fairly constant at about 5% between 2006 and 2010.
4. Key Strengths (Competitive Factors) of Uganda’s Education Systems
A number of competitive strengths characterize the education system in Uganda. Notable ones are:
• Quality of education at all levels is high and keeps improving. Education Standards Agency developed quality indicators, e.g. monitoring of learning attainment in lower primary, HIV/AIDS in schools, and health training institutions.
• Uganda has a low cost of student’s maintenance due to the lower cost of living in the region.
• Excellent curricula and demand driven unique courses.
• Competitive and affordable tuition fees.
• English is used as a medium of instruction/teachings at all levels of the education system as opposed to the neighbouring countries in the region where two or more languages are used for instruction concurrently.
• High moral values inculcated at all levels of the education of system.
• Ugandans are very friendly people making acclimatization of foreign students very easy within a minimum time period.
• Ugandan teachers/instructors are already involved with number of institutions in the region, hence knowledgeable of the training needs of the region.
5. Workforce skills and availability of special skills
The education sector is resourced with a number of skills at various levels. As of 2009, at the primary education level, there were 168,000 teachers with various qualifications: Doctorate degrees (20); Masters’ degrees (125); Postgraduate Diplomas (123); Graduates 2496, etc. These numbers have increased steadily from the 2006 levels to match the quality parameters For instance, in 2006, there were 1,627 graduates teaching in primary schools and only 9 PhD and 73 masters degree teachers respectively at this level. At the secondary level as of 2006, there were 42,673 teachers with various qualifications but by end of 2009, the number had shot up to 65,045 teachers, an increase of almost 35% in a spate of 3 years.
At the tertiary level as at end 2009, there were over 7,000 academic staff comprising of both full-time and part-time lecturers with various skills, qualifications and disciplines. The categories of academic attainment were as follows: PhD (815); Maters degrees (2,901); Bachelors (1,240); Postgraduate Diplomas (224); Diplomas (703), among others. Most of the training institutions have own staff development programmes to cope with the ever increasing number of students so as to maintain the quality standards of student/lecturer ratios. Government also has a number of training programmes with development partners in critical areas of the economy where the various tertiary institutions can benefit from in order to upgrade their staff skills and numbers.
6. Licenses Required for Operation in the sector
6.1. Licensing Requirements /Procedures
6.1.1. Primary, Secondary and Post-secondary education (not tertiary/higher education)
Outlined below are the existing approval procedures and regulations for licensing and registration of a new private school or institution. (Attached in Appendix 1 is a copy of the assessment form that all investors intending to set up an educational institution are required to fill out by the Ministry of Education and Sports).
a) The intending proprietor makes known his or her intention to start a School to the Commissioner for Education and seeks his or her permission to do so in writing.
b) The Commissioner for Education writes back acknowledging receipt and granting or disallowing permission.
c) The Proprietor receives application forms for license from the District Education Office.
d) The District Inspector of Schools and the District Health Inspector inspect the intended School and attach detailed reports.
e) The District Education Officer forwards three copies of the application forms to the Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate) Ministry of Education and Sports.
f) The Commissioner for Education Inspectorate basing on either reports or recommendations from the district or a report following a physical inspection by the Central Inspectorate to the Commissioner for Education who approves or rejects the application for license.
g) If approval granted, the Commissioner for Education approves and awards a license to last one year, copied to the Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate), District Education Officer, District Inspector of Schools and the Head-teacher.
h) About one or two months to the expiry of the one year license, the proprietor collects forms for registration providing details showing that the School is now fully established and meets the minimum requirements.
i) The District Inspector of Schools re-inspects the said school for registration.
j) The District Education Officer recommends to the Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate) the School for Registration.
k) The Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate) using information and documents attached on to the application form, or a report based on physical inspection of the School by the Central Inspectorate, may reject the application and give reasons for doing so to the proprietor, or recommend to the Commissioner for Education the award of a Registration and Classification number.
l) All licenses and registration certificates are entered in the relevant registers kept by the Commissioner for Education. Applications for license will be dealt with between June-December preceding the year of operation.
m) A School may be de-licensed or de-registered in cases of non-compliance with the regulations governing the operations of private schools in accordance with the Education Act (1970) by the Commissioner for Education.
6.1.2. Higher Education
The National Council for Higher Education is a statutory agency, a watchdog for quality and relevant higher education established under “The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001” for:
(a) regulating and guiding the establishment and management of institutions of higher learning, and
(b) regulating the quality of higher education, equating of higher education qualifications and to advise government on higher education issues.
The other functions of the National Council for Higher Education are: to advise the Minister of Education on higher education issues; to establish an accreditation system (and do the accrediting); to investigate higher education complaints; to evaluate national manpower requirements; to set national admission standards; to ensure that institutions of higher learning have adequate physical structures (and education facilities), to publish information on higher education, to determine equivalences of academic and professional awards and credits between institutions as well as tertiary education policy formation.
7. Quality Standards and Regulation of the Education Sector
7.1 Ministry of Education and Sports
The Ministry of Education and Sports is responsible for providing for, supporting, guiding, coordinating, regulating and promoting quality education and sports to all persons in Uganda for national integration, individual and national development. It is responsible for setting national policy and monitoring the standard of education in various institutions of learning both public and private.
7.2 Education Service Commission
The Education Service Commission is responsible for the recruitment of teachers into Government service and reviewing their terms and conditions of service. The mandate of the commission also covers private institutions. The Commission is empowered to discipline teachers for any misconduct.
7.3 National Curriculum Development Center
The mission of the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) is to initiate, develop, monitor and evaluate existing and new curricula for primary, secondary, technical, vocational and tertiary levels of education. The Center is also responsible for supervision of the Population and Family Life Education (POP/FLE) Project; the Science and Technology Equipment Production Unit (STEPU) as well as the Project for the Integration of Environmental Education in Primary Schools in East Africa (PEEPSEA).
7.4 Uganda National Examination Board
Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) was set up as an independent professional examinations authority, within the umbrella of the Ministry of Education. It is semi-autonomous corporate body with its own board. The main function of UNEB is to conduct national examinations at various levels, where the following certificates are awarded to the successful candidates:
• Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) Certificate
• Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) – Ordinary Level
• Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) – Advanced Level
• Uganda Business Education Examinations Certificate and Diplomas (BEE)
• Uganda Technical Education Certificates, Diplomas and Higher Diplomas (UTE)
• Uganda Junior Technical Certificates (UJTC).
7.5. Joints Admissions Board
The Board is responsible for admitting students to tertiary education, more especially to the public institutions. This helps in setting minimum points for joint admission and to avoid double admission of students to different institutions at the same time, thereby blocking placements.
7.6. National Council of Higher Education (NCHE)
Under sections 123 and 128 of the Act, the following regulations are in force for effective management and enforcement of standards at the tertiary education level:
• Statutory Instruments No. 80 (2005) Establishment and Operation of Private Universities and Private Tertiary Institutions.
• Statutory Instruments No 80 B A: Checklist of Quality and Universities Capacity Indicators for Assessment of Universities and Programmes
• Statutory Instruments No 80 C : Application for a provisional licence to Establish and Operate a Private University
• Statutory Instruments No. 85 (2005): Institutional Standards
• Statutory Instruments No. 61 (2007): Letters of Interim Authority for Private Universities and Provisional Licence for Private Other Degree Awarding Institutions
• Statutory Instruments No. 1 (2007): Naming of Universities, Other Degree Awarding Institutions.
• Statutory Instruments No. 62 (2007): Equating of degrees, diplomas and certificates
• Statutory Instruments No 63 (2007): Minimum Entry requirements for admissions to Universities or Other tertiary Institutions
• Statutory Instruments No 34 (2008): the Universities and other tertiary institutions (Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2008
• Statutory Instruments No 35 (2008): the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions (Basic Requirements and Minimum Standards for Procurement Education and training) Regulations, 2008
8 Specific Sector incentives relevant to the education sector
Uganda’s incentive package provides generous capital recovery terms, particularly for investors whose projects entail significant investment in plant and machinery and whose investments are likely to yield profits over the long term. For the education sector, the following specific incentives may apply:
i. Under Value Added Tax Statute (1996), education services are treated as an exempt supply. This means that education services are not subject to VAT. Qualifying education services under the VAT Statute include: -
a) A pre-primary, primary or secondary school;
b) A technical college or university;
c) An institution established for the promotion of adult education, vocational training, technical education, or the education or training of physically or mentally handicapped persons.
ii. Education materials such as textbooks and laboratory equipment are zero-rated, which means that investors in the education sector can claim for a refund from Government of any VAT that they pay on inputs (items purchased as education materials).
iii. To encourage interest in ICT and in computer, government has removed all forms of taxes on computers to make them affordable to users in the country.
For other general incentives you may find them are: www.ugandainvest.com/incentives.
9. Key Export markets (potentials)
9.1. Characteristics of education supply at each level
The education sector in Uganda is one of the most robust, with good export potential. This involves institutions at all levels but most especially secondary and tertiary levels. Due to the liberalization programme in the sector witnessed in the 1990s, the private sector participation has been encouraged in the education sector. The sector has thus proactively attracted sizeable proportions of international students contributing to national export earnings (approximately US$30 million in 2005) through cross border mode of supply. In 2006, foreign student enrolment in tertiary institutions in Uganda reached 12,930 studying various courses in both public and private institutions. The overall population of international students can reach over 30,000 for combined secondary and tertiary enrolment.
The primary and secondary education enrolment by foreigners tends to be largely driven by parents who come and stay in Uganda, mainly by their virtue of their job placements. The accompanying children then enlist in good quality schools whose curricula and facilities are acceptable to parents. In the tertiary institutions, the enrolment tends to be driven by the students’ quest for good, affordable and competitive schools in the region. By end of December 2010, the Ministry of Education and Sports indicated that private investment was highest in secondary education as shown in the Figure 7. The private sector owned about 58% of the secondary schools in 2009 compared to 47% in 2006. Over time, it is likely that the increase in the number of schools will be largely propelled by the enlistment of the private sector investment in the education sector.
Although government owns about 30% of the secondary schools, it founded one of the least numbers of schools which stood at 5%. The entrepreneurs founded the highest number of school at 32% as at end of 2010 compared to 28.6% in 2006 followed by the Catholic Church and Church of Uganda (COU). The Parents also ranked high (i.e. 14%) in founding secondary schools in the country whose figure stood at 16% in 2010.
The proportion of schools founded by the entrepreneurs increased from 29% in 2006 to 32% in 2009 while those founded by the Catholic Church and Church of Uganda respectively reduced by 1% and 1.8%. Figure 8 depicts that more and more categories other than government continue to found more secondary schools as they view these ventures as profitable business cases for investment in the education system. The entrepreneurs will continue to dominate this sector for the foreseeable future as long as the policies continue to encourage private sector investment.
9.2. Education demand by foreign students
Recent studies estimate the global market trend for higher education services at US$30 billion. World leaders in export of education services include: the USA, UK and Australia, etc. Uganda’s education sector attracts students mostly from neigbouring countries. In 2005 for instance, Uganda attracted 20,716 students from Kenya, 5,211 from Tanzania, 2,457 from the Sudan, 1,228 from Rwanda and 2,435 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other countries are: Burundi, Zambia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Cameron, Somalia, and India. The EAC and the COMESA regions are therefore the major sources of foreign students to Uganda. Table 5 below shows the distribution of foreign students amongst the major tertiary institutions (mainly universities) in Uganda as at end of 2007. There were about 13,000 students registered for studies at the tertiary institutions with Kampala International University having the largest share.
Table 5: Distribution of Foreign Students in some of Uganda’s Universities as at 2007
Some of the courses that have attracted foreign students in both the major private and public universities include: Laws; Medicine & Surgery; Pharmacy; Agriculture, Tourism; Computer Science & Information Technology; Engineering; Commerce; Theology, Education; and International Studies. Further, Uganda has some of the best schools accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England association of schools and colleges with examination centres for popular Cambridge examinations like: IGCSE, GCSE, etc.
10. Investment Opportunities
10.1. Primary Education
Uganda’s success in expanding primary education – with more than doubling primary school enrollment from about 3.5 million in 1997 to over 8 million by the end of 2010 – has created enormous investment opportunities for private investors in the post-primary education levels. The number of pupils who sat their primary leaving examinations in 2010 were 520,000 yet less than a half of them are expected to be admitted to senior one in 2011 due to lack of space and other facilities. This level calls for more investments to be able to cope with the numbers of pupils benefitting from the Universal Primary Education programme.
10.2. Secondary Education
Currently, there are about 3,149 secondary schools, an increase by 38% in three years which is an indication that there enormous opportunities for expansion at this level. The absorption capacity in secondary schools at the moment is less than 200,000 students, which is less than half the number of pupils leaving primary school. The same thing applies to the advanced level where the number that graduates at senior four is more than what the senior five in-takes can handle. All these demand supply gaps call for investments which the private sector can take advantage of.
10.3 Technical and Vocational Education
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions play a vital role in the absorption of primary and secondary school graduates who for one reason or another may not make it to the next level of formal education. The private sector has become very active in this area but there is still room for more secondary schools and technical colleges. Besides secondary education, there is also a growing demand for tertiary education (especially Technical Education) in Uganda needed to match the rapidly growing economic development of the country and also to absorb those who opt out of the formal education. Specifically, there is an acute demand for skills training in industry related skills i.e. welding and metal fabrication, carpentry and joinery, printing, motor vehicle mechanics, basic maintenance of industrial plant and machinery, electrical installation works, plumbing, masonry and concrete works etc.
10.4. In-Service Specialized Training Programmes
Local firms have an interest in identifying specific forms of training that will benefit them in achieving their goals of among others; maximizing profits and increasing their market share through increased sales. Opportunities, therefore, exist with respect to the provision of specialized education and/or skills to redress the imbalance of availability of unskilled or semi-skilled labour versus managerial and technical experts.
10.5. Agricultural Services and Skills Development
With the privatization of the provision of agricultural services, there is potential for investment in training programmes that are demand driven i.e. providing skills that suit the manpower needs of the labour market. According to the Uganda National Household Survey conducted in 2005/06, agriculture share of total labour force has risen from 65% in 2002/03 to 73% in 2005/06 implying that more and more people are getting employment in agricultural related ventures like crop and animal husbandry, land management, artificial insemination, horticulture (vegetables, fruits, and flowers), fish farming, silkworm rearing, ostrich farming and bee keeping. This calls for specialized skills training at various level of the industry chain which the private sector could take advantage of.
10.6. Managerial Skills Development
The revival of economic activity brought about by the expansion of the private sector through the Government’s privatization and liberalization policies and the decentralization policy of Government, has created a demand for people with specialized management skills at all levels. Potential areas to be targeted include project planning and management, human resource management, small business management, finance and accounting, hotel management etc.
10.7. Development of Computer Skills
Due to the great technological innovations being made in personal and business application software, hardware and the anticipated impact of the Internet on daily life, many individuals and businesses are finding themselves overwhelmed with the possibilities and opportunities these new business tools offer. Companies are finding a need to have their employees trained in the use of these tools and also job seekers find that they need to have computer knowledge before they can be considered for jobs.
10.8. Investment in tertiary level of education
There are enormous opportunities for investment at the tertiary education level especially in establishing quality universities in view of the fact that there are so many students who qualify to join university education but unable due to the limited space available with the current establishments. Due to affordable and relevant education curriculum in Uganda, a lot of foreign students from the region are already studying in Uganda and this calls for more investments to expand the current facilities. Application forms for licenses: forms can be obtained from: http://www.unche.or.ug/application.php.
10.9. Investment in pre-primary level of education
Of all the 2,469 schools under this category as of 2010, 75% of them are owned by the private sector and the rest by the community. Government currently does not own any pre-primary school although increasingly it is getting interested in standardizing its curriculum. With most primary schools giving admission preference to pupils who have attended pre-primary, the number of pre-primary schools will closely follow those of the primary schools overtime. Opportunities for investment are abound in this segment of education.
Appendix 1: Useful Contacts for Institutions
Appendix 2: Education Institutions in Uganda, Enrollment and Staffing
Appendix 3 - Assessment Form for Licensing and Registration of Private Schools
Appendix 4: Recognized Higher Institutions 2010
Part A: Public Universities
Part B: Private Universities
Part C: Private University Colleges
Part D: Public Degree Awarding Tertiary Institutions
Code Name of Institution Address/ Location Founding Body District Commencement Date
331001 Uganda Management Institute Plots 44-52, P.O. Box 20131 Kampala Government Kampala 1969
LDU 001 Law Development Centre Kampala Government Kampala
Part E: Chartered Private Universities in Uganda
The dates below are when the President granted the Charters to the respective Private Universities
Part F: Recognized Private Tertiary Institutions