“Y' don’t get owt f' nowt in Yorksh’r! ”
In Uganda, it’s actually true — and nowhere more so than in Education.
Kids don’t even get to Primary School until they’ve passed the entrance exam. If they fail, they have to try again the following year — and so on until they make it. Even then, it’s not free: there are fees to pay, plus the cost of uniforms, stationery, school bags etc.
NOTDEC Uganda's Nursery
Fortunately, NOTDEC Uganda is geared up for the challenge and provides three years of nursery education on-site.
Baby nursery is for children just capable of walking for morning “play” now held in the multi-use chapel. That’s where all the toys are kept, so — despite the rough paths — they soon learn to walk. Next is middle nursery.
Finally, there's upper nursery — teaching basic reading and sums ready for the entrance examination for the local primary school.
The Examination Hurdles
Passing that all-important exam is a passport to Primary Level 1. Happily, most NOTDEC Uganda children pass with flying colours. At the end of P1, those who pass are promoted to P2; those who fail, repeat the year. That’s the system throughout Ugandan schools
Most NOTDEC Uganda children start at Kagando Primary School – the best state school for miles – and in the past they would all have completed their Primary education there. This is now changing as children of primary age are resettled with their wider families and so move to whichever is the nearest suitable school. NOTDEC UK of course continues to pay their school fees and related expenses.
Getting to School
Inspecting the School Bus at NOTDEC Uganda
NOTDEC Uganda has a 30-seater bus to take the children to the local school. Its purchase — second-hand in Kampala for £18,000 including the initial service & insurance — was organised by John & Carlee.
Uganda roads are poor, and the road to Kagando is murram (unmetalled dirt & dust), so regular inspections are essential. The bus is also serviced professionally once a year.
Off to School
Despite the resettlement of children "back" with their wider families, currently more NOTDEC Uganda children still go to Kagando Primary School just 10 km away than to any other school. The picture shows them in front of the school bus in regulation school uniforms and shoes.
The only time they look smarter is their Sunday best for chapel.
Secondary Education and More
For details of Secondary Education and what happens after that, see Secondary & Beyond.