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How to Get Back Learners Who Dropped Out of School

Uganda reopened schools this month after a nearly two-year shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of students have returned, but many others have not, due to poverty and the need to earn income for their families. The government launched a one month back-to-school campaign to ensure all children return. The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines for schools not to raise tuition for returning students. Some families, however, are still unable to pay the fees. UNICEF Uganda says that during the school closure, the country’s 15 million students collectively lost 2.9 billion hours of learning time per month. Many of those children began working during the closure, and Munir Safieldin, the UNICEF country representative, said their families will not easily give up that income. Munir notes that these programs require a lot of public financing, which is a challenge for a country like Uganda.