Providing secondary school places for the most disadvantaged
In a country where fewer than one in four children receive a secondary school education, Promoting Equality in African Schools (Peas) has faced an uphill challenge in its bid to provide school places for the most disadvantaged in Uganda. Yet since launching in 2008, it has built 21 secondary schools in Uganda and one in neighbouring Zambia, producing 542 graduates so far.
The Peas plan is to provide 100 of the best low-cost, high-quality schools educating 100,000 students, predominantly in rural Uganda. The charity not only constructs the schools, using locally-sourced materials, but continues support by training the school leaders in financial management, a factor which has allowed the schools currently operating to become financially
independent within two years. The charity has also tackled remuneration and management issues typical of state-run schools which mean that teacher absenteeism can be as high as 27 per cent. Peas’ schools absenteeism is 13 per cent.
Peas students bucked the national trend in 2011/12, improving their grades when the national average grades declined. The charity’s achievements have not gone unnoticed by the Ugandan government which has requested the charity work with it to create a network of exemplar secondary schools that can be emulated by other education providers.
Currently 8,000 students are enrolled in Peas schools, paying nominal fees at 71 per cent of the cost of state-run schools.