Education sector reform: The Ugandan experience

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  • International Journal of Educational Deve




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    For All (EFA) goals. Drawing on the authors

    globalisation, through achievement of the educa-tion-related MDGs of Universal Primary Education


    $This article draws on Ward et al. (2006). The book contains

    an extensive bibliography.

    (UPE) and gender parity in primary and secondaryeducation. This latter is a focus which has been

    0738-0593/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Corresponding author.E-mail address: (A. Penny).Between 1997 and 2004 the shape of educationdevelopment in Uganda changed signicantly. Thisarticle offers a perspective on how political commit-ment to universal primary education, combinedwith a relatively clear and rational conception ofreform and the provision of generous externalnancial support, assisted Uganda during thisperiod in making signicant progress towardsachieving the education-related Millennium Devel-

    experiences of working in Uganda, and moregenerally in development over a number of years,it also considers whether and how the Ugandanexperience can offer lessons for other countries inthe light of the current international developmentpolicy framework for education.In the context of this paper, the key elements of

    this policy framework which are considered to beparticularly relevant comprise the focus on educa-tions role in poverty reduction, in the context ofIn 1998 the Government of Uganda (GoU) began implementing an ambitious reform programme called the Education

    Strategic Investment Plan (ESIP) in order to effect Universal Primary Education (UPE). This paper offers a perspective on

    how the GoU has met the challenge of nancing education reform, addressed the need to improve the quality of basic

    education and increased access and equity while improving efciency at primary and post-primary levels of education. The

    development model described in this paper privileges good governance and donor co-operation within a Sector Wide

    Approach. Important lessons have been learned in Uganda including the need for political commitment to universal

    primary education within a clear conception of whole sector reform. However, the discourse of SWAPs tends to function

    primarily in the formal sphere and not at the level of the experience of most teachers, pupils and their families, yet it is at

    this level that national education policies have to be mediated in practice. More attention needs to be given in education

    sector reform to the processes as well as the context of change.

    r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Uganda; Education reform; Sector wide approaches; Donor co-operation

    1. Introduction opment Goals (MDGs) and the Dakar EducationEducation sector reform:

    Alan Pennya,, Michael Waa112 Cosawes Park, TRU

    bDFID, PalacIE Partners, Barley

    dDepartment of Educatiolopment 28 (2008) 268285

    e Ugandan experience$

    , Tony Readc, Hazel Binesd

    Cornwall, TR3 7QT, UK

    reet, London

    , Chiswick, London

    niversity of Oxford, UK

  • somewhat belatedly extended through a growingrecognition of the need for reform and expansion ofpost-primary education and training (DFID, 2004,2006; Robertson et al., 2007; World Bank, 2002,2005). Alongside this policy agenda, there has beenan increased concern with good governance andwiinc



    develop the quality of education (UNESCO, 2004;

    The article will then conclude with insights gained,

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 269Lewin and Stuart, 2003) and redress ongoinginequalities of access, particularly in highly popu-lated countries with less effective or more complexgovernments and/or in those states affected byconict (DFID, 2006; UNESCO, 2005).1

    These issues resonate with the Uganda experiencein a number of ways, raising questions as to whythere have been so few comprehensive reviews ofsector reform over signicant periods of change indeveloping countries. Most research and publica-tions focus on particular issues and themes. How-ever, given that the Ugandan experience illustratesboth the inter-relatedness of change and theimportance of political commitment to an overallsector framework, the authors hope that this articlewill encourage more comparative studies of sectorreform as a whole, grounding international policyissues in particularities of context to examine theireffectiveness, implications and problems.This article will now consider the Ugandan

    experience in more detail. It will argue that fourcritical factors led to reform and progress within theeducation sector, namely:

    political commitment to reform, especially toUPE and decentralisation;

    facilitative/coordinated institutional and nan-cial frameworks;

    a comprehensive approach to UPE (access,quality and nancing);

    1Although conict in Uganda is not addressed in detail in this

    article, conict has been ongoing in many parts of Uganda for at

    least the past 20 years and has affected both GoU policies and the

    delivery of education reform. Large areas of the north have severe

    problems in providing any kind of education and the last

    Education Sector Review (2005) was deeply concerned with the

    need to nd education strategies for meeting the educationalhasneeently, as some progress has been made towardshieving the MDGs in many countries, awarenessincreased of the need both to maintain andrecding on education outcomes (Al Samarrai, 2005;ID, 2006; Foster, 2004a, b; Roberts, 2003). Mostfunth the effectiveness of development assistance,luding the impact of government and donords in these areas.including in relation to current international policyconcerns.

    2. Key features of education sector reform in Uganda

    2.1. Background and challenges

    Unlike other newly independent countries in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1960s, Uganda did notexperience similar educational expansion and asAppleton has pointed out, the gross primary schoolenrolment ratio of around 50% in 1980 waseffectively the same as that in 1960 (Appleton,2001, p. 395). By contrast, other sub-SaharanAfrican countries for which data are availableincreased their gross primary school enrolmentratios from an average of 43.2% in 1960 to 79.5%by 1980 (World Bank, 2001, p. 8). Following theoverthrow of the Amin dictatorship in the mid-1970s, Uganda began to catch up with the rest of thecontinent and attained a gross primary enrolmentrate of 73% by 1985 (Appleton, 2001, p. 395). Duemainly to the cost of primary education to parentsthese rates remained relatively constant until 1995,the period immediately prior to the launch of theGoUs Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy.In 1998 the Government of Uganda (GoU) began

    implementing an ambitious programme of educa-tional reform, the Education Strategic InvestmentPlan (ESIP) (GoU-MoEs, 1998). It had beensparked off by President Musevenis election cam-paign promise in 1996 to provide free primaryeducation for up to four children in every family.The technical analysis and consultation that under-pinned the ESIP not only set a national frameworkfor education planning and budgeting but alsoconstituted a breakthrough in relations between theGoU, civil society and its development partners.However, when fee free primary education was

    announced in 1996, the GoU immediately facedfour key challenges as ever-increasing numbers ofchildren began accessing an already over-burdenededucation system. These were:

    nancing education reform; improving the quality of primary education;funding access and equity in primary education;primary education and training.

    early engagement with the reform of post-and

  • increasing access, equity and efciency at post-primary levels of education and training withinsustainable budgets.

    Each of these challenges will now be discussed.

    2.1.1. Financing and institutional frameworks

    A key challenge for the GoU in implementing thereforms was to mobilise sufcient resources to payfor them. In a highly aid-dependent context, the roleof external nancing and the effective coordinationof funding agencies were critical. The GoUs


    objective planning processes. Budget allocations can in turn be

    A. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285270thamore reliable, transparent and pro-poor. If budget allocations

    feed through into expenditure, and there are accompanying

    systems to track spending and to provide accessible information

    to the public and their political representatives, this in turn will

    start to change peoples expectations. People might start to

    believe in government and government systems, and begin to see

    t government can deliver public services of reasonable qualityresponse to the problem of education funding andaid management was to develop a Sector WideApproach (SWAp) within the framework of theMinistry of Education and Sports (MoES) ESIP:19982003. The SWAp incorporated alternativemechanisms for aid delivery, including sectorbudget support, with a particular accent onstrategies designed to increase local leadership andachieve greater integration of development partnerand government effort.At the time, SWAps were new and often

    contentious approach for supporting educationaldevelopment. However, it had already been recog-nised that traditional project modalities were notdelivering the development intended and an alter-native was required. The Education SWAp inUganda focused greater attention on budget per-formance, intra-sectoral linkages, outcomes andservice quality by giving greater weight to improv-ing the policy, budgetary and institutional frame-work for effective government-funding agencypartnership, including enhanced national leadershipand ownership of reform plans and improvedmechanisms for joint government-developmentpartner dialogue and performance review.2

    2It is beyond the scope of this paper to consider the merits and

    demerits of budget support. The underlying hypothesis behind

    budget support is that more predictable funding, together with

    more sustainable and coordinated policy dialogue in support of

    the Countrys Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) and a

    Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), together with

    targeted technical assistance, will facilitate more meaningful and(see also Foster, 2004a, b; Lister et al., 2006).At the end of the ESIP funding agreement in 2002a common budget support funding modality wasintroduced. It had been in preparation since 2000 andfunding agencies had been using their separatebilateral funding modalities to provide budgetsupport for ESIP up to this point. Through thefunding modality, funds are channelled directly intoUgandas national treasury to nance governmentexpenditures (see Fig. 1 at Appendix). Budget supportis linked to a few critical outputs and outcomesrelated to nancial commitment, duciary assurance,increased equitable access and improved quality andservice delivery. Under it, there were fewer pre-dened activities agreed between the developmentpartners and the government and a greater focus onoutcomes and the strategic frameworks necessary forachieving these was developed. The rationale was thatwith the development and implementation of budgetsupport modalities, many of the traditional problemsof donor coordination would disappear, as indeedthey did, as only one programme in education, thegovernments ESIP, was supported. During thisperiod Uganda also began beneting from theHeavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC)which contributed to an increased education budgetand to a policy dialogue that was markedly differentto that which existed under project support.A number of positive outcomes have accrued for

    Ugandas education sector from developing sectorbudget support. The most obvious is the availabilityof increased nancial support, especially for recur-rent spending. It has also led to a more coherent andcomprehensive approach to aid management. Theinstitutional arrangements developed by the GoUcreated a forum within which decision-makingcould take place in the context of a hard budgetconstraint. Sector reviews and budget workinggroups became a fundamental part of the govern-ments broader education planning and budgetingprocesses within the framework of the ESIP and theMedium Term Budget Framework (MTBF). TheMTBF is used now as a planning and budgetingtool in all Ugandan ministries and agencies,projecting expenditures on key activities and reven-ues from the main sources for every sub-sector overa three-year period. By projecting priorities for thebudget in the medium term, ministries are in a betterposition to manage their sectors. This also illustratesanother crucial element, namely the inuence androle of the Ugandan Treasury, which after havingundertaken reforms of its own, introduced a Medium

    Term Expenditure Framework process which has

  • Politics makeseparate techn ms from the wider

    Activities in o broader inuence

    public and prithat this doestalks of creaarguing that

    environment amein which itoperates (p. 5

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 271required buy-in by the various line ministries andchanged stakeholders perceptions of the reforms.Another outcome of introducing budget support

    has been a change in the relationship between theGoU and its development partners as the Govern-ment has increasingly taken ownership of the policyand budget process through a strengthening of theMinistry of Finance, Planning and EconomicDevelopment (MoFPED), MoES, the Cabinet andParliament as drivers of public resource allocations.At the same time, the donors nancial aid has beencombined with policy advice and technical assis-tance in support of all of the reforms discussed inthis article, but in the context of key changes inmindset and approach, most notably moving awayfrom a project-based development vision to aSWAp reform process and ultimately to a budgetsupport funding modality on the part of the GoUand the development partners.There are also other important lessons. First, it

    was important for the participating agencies (theGoU and development partners) to agree andrecord the rules of the SWAp process and fundingmechanisms early in the evolution of the process.The MTBF is an indispensable tool for thedevelopment of a successful SWAp and generalbudget support. So is the development of aneffective and reliable Education Management In-formation System (EMIS) and associated baselines.The reports generated by EMIS provide the contextand basis for the policy dialogue and are anessential part of the means for sector monitoringand decision-making.Second, it has been important to manage expecta-

    tions (on both sides of the partnership) and to reduceunrealistic demands for reform and implementationon the Ugandan Government in line with availablecapacity. For example, the GoU agreed to 58undertakings to be achieved within six months atthe rst Education Sector Review (ESR) in April1999 but by the time of the sixth ESR in April 2002the number of undertakings had been reduced to six.Donors also needed to appreciate that no matter howtechnically good and well-dened the strategy, withclear goals and targets, rational and transparentdecision-making cannot be guaranteed in deeplypoliticised contexts, especially where personal andvertical links between patrons and clients continuepurposively and protably to hold sway.Third, development experience shows that the

    political economy matters. Education reform is a

    political process rather than a purely technical and that the political context usually sets thelimits for what is technically feasible. Effectiveeducation reforms are those that are technicallysound, administratively and nancially possible andpolitically feasible. Boesen and Therkildsens (2004)arguments regarding the contrast between technicaland political approaches are summarised below.

    Contrasting technical and political approaches:



    Main unit ofanalysis

    The organisationas an entity withcertain functionalrequirements;focus on task-and-work system

    Subgroups withself-interest, inshifting coalitions;focus on powerand loyaltysystems

    What drivingforces areemphasised?

    A sense of normsand coherence,intrinsicmotivation

    Sanctions andrewards, extrinsicincentives

    Which imageof man isassumed?

    Employeesconcerned withthe organisationsinterests

    Individualsconcerned withself-interests

    Through Through internalsolutions may not always be departicipativevelopmentally the

    DANIDA pathe rules of the g). This has also beenper which concludargued in a recentes that technicaltional quality othrough organorganisation isvate spheres are difhave to be addressting islands of ewholesale improvemf the state are difcisational (sector) chonly as good as thecult to dene anded. Teskey (2005)xcellence, whilstents in the institu-ult to bring aboutange alone. Eachwider institutionalacross otheracknowledgedused for somene sector may havesectors. In Ugandthat state activitiespersonal gain, boa the MoES hasstill continue to beundaries betweengovernance enwork and theembedded (CrLeggett, 2001;ical education reforvironment requirepolitical system iossley et al., 2005Teskey, 2005; Wd to make themn which they are; Clemens, 2004;ard et al., 2006).s a difference. It is not possible toconict and

  • rally positive and hastened reform.

    The second major challenge fMoES concerned the need to impprimary education. Five specic a

    the provision of basic learning primary teacher development; establishing and maintainingdards.

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 2682852722.1.2.1. Prima

    stages of thcurriculum di

    process overry curriculum deve

    e reform of thed not augur wel

    all. The 2000/200materials;

    education stan-

    lopment. The rstprimary school

    l for the reformfocus of reform

    primary cur the languagprimary subover the last ten

    riculum developmee of instruction po-sector;aced by the GoU/rove the quality ofreas have been theyears:

    nt;licy for the lowerbut were gene

    2.1.2. Improving the quality of primary educationon? communication friends, buildclient andperformancepressure

    Emotionaltone of theanalysis

    Nave Cynical

    As we shall see, in two areas of the Ugandaneducation reforms especially, the Schools FacilitiesGrant, and textbook selection and procurement,through the judicious development and implemen-tation of technically feasible solutions based onfocused institutional reforms, clearer boundariesbetween the private and public spheres were created.Fourth, for development partners especially, it

    was a priority to get the institutional architectureright for development partner coordination,although it took more time than was anticipatedto do this. Crises in the relationship were inevitablechaeffngeorts focus

    structures, skills,technology,

    incentives, refoes and hireWhat will Internal systems, Changechange

    negative capacityHow doeschangehappen?

    reasoning andjoint learning,nding the besttechnical solution

    external pressure,coalition building,nding thepowerful agentswho can forcepositive and2 primary schoolcurriculum that was introduced between 2000 and2002 had been eight years in the making (from 1992to 2000), and what was nally produced failed tosecure the ownership of the MoES and the majorstakeholders. It comprised four core subjects(language, mathematics, science and social studies)and eight other subjects, but nowhere did it paysufcient attention to listening, speaking, readingand writing skills, and indeed any transferable skills,especially in the rst three years of primary school.The failure to address literacy and numeracyspecically had severe implications for raising levelsof achievement. In addition, as discussed below,local language policy remained vague and encour-aged the use of languages without orthographiesand supporting literature, whilst local languageteaching was given insufcient support and gui-dance (UNESCO-UIS, 2005).The curriculum also had high cost implications

    and was introduced into schools without adequateteacher training, with insufcient new learning andteaching materials and with no overall implementa-tion plan, no budget and no department orindividual with specic line management responsi-bility for its launch. Finally, the introduction ofcontinuous assessment, which was supposed tosupport key aspects of the curriculum, was delayedand had still not been introduced by 2005.On the positive side, the institutional structures

    created to support the SWAp facilitated theidentication of these issues and the MoES and itsmain partners intervened when it became clear thatstudent performance in basic literacy and numeracyskills were continuing to decline. The subsequentPrimary Curriculum Review in 2004 generated agreat deal of debate on every aspect of thecurriculum and syllabuses. It reviewed a range ofalternative remedial approaches and nally pro-vided the scrutiny, debate, constructive discussionand ownership that should have taken place in1999/2000. The Language of Instruction (LOI) Policy

    for the lower primary grades. It is generally recog-nised that children will learn faster and achievemore if early education is conducted in a familiarlanguage. However, if language and literacy in thelocal language are badly taught by teachers withlittle formal training in either the local languageitself or in its teaching, or if local language learningis not well supported by appropriate learning and

    teaching materials, this can undermine progress

  • towards basic literacy, the development of learningin other subjects and the later acquisition of literacyin English and thus effective access to education inupper primary grades and in secondary school.Uganda has many possible LOI. In 1989 the

    Education Policy Review Commission identied 25main Ugandan languages.3 The 1999 NationalCurriculum Development Centre (NCDC) circularentitled Teaching of Mother Tongue in Primary4

    identied 63 main Ugandan languages and thisnumber is currently conrmed by the Institute ofLanguages at Makerere University, Kampala(MUK). It is clear that Uganda has not developedan additional 38 local languages over a period of 10years. Instead, it seems that larger language groupshave begun to break down into smaller and more


    the number of MALs is now probably around ninerather than the ve listed above.All of the above languages have access to some

    forms of established orthographies, which weregenerally formalised and approved in the 1940s,1950s and 1960s, although variant orthographiesmay now be needed for MALs such as Luo, Atesoand Runyakitara, which may now be in the processof linguistic fragmentation. Other regional language

    increases costs of essential learning materials. It alsooyment of

    by 2006 ino technical

    and political barriers which raises serious questions

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 273 Runyakitara.6

    On the basis of the above and assuming that Atesoand Ngakarimajong are two languages, Luo is threelanguages and Runyakitara is two languages, then

    3P. 28, paragraph Reference CD/P/MT/14 of 30 September 1999.5Breakthrough To Literacy was forced to develop different

    readers for Alur Luo (used in Nebbi) and Dopedhola Luo (used

    in Tororo) because of signicant reported differences in the two

    Luo variants, which prevented a common book being used by

    both language groups. There are those who argue that Luo is now

    effectively three variant languages as followsAcholi/Langi

    (reported to be mutually comprehensible), Alur and Dophedhola

    and that it is no longer possible to conceive of Luo as a single

    Main Area Language.6An articial regional language invented by MUK, incorpor-

    ating Runyoro, Rutoro, Runyankore and Rukiga and also a

    number of other minor local variants such as Banyabindi and

    Busangora. Many in the south-west perceive the attempt to install

    Runyakitara as a regional language as an attempt to re-establish

    the historic Banyoro inuence in the region, and thus are deeply

    resistant. There seems to be much greater support for the

    establishment of two language groupingsRunyankore/RukigaandLuo (including Acholi, Alur, Langi and Doped-hola5),

    Ateso (including Ngakaramajong and its var-iants),

    Luganda,ofdistinct local variants and dialects. However, withinthis diverse linguistic environment there are anumber of larger generalised language groups thatcould serve as regional LOIs (in the form of MainArea Languages (MALs)) for an estimated 8090%

    the population. These are:Runyoro/Rutoro.about the development of strategies to improve the

    7Also known as Kikonzo, which some local language

    specialists regard as part of the Runyakitara language group,

    but which the District authorities in Kasese have recently

    established as the local language for Kasese District primary

    schools. The recently formed Kikonzo Language Board has

    approved a recently developed orthography in 2003 and has

    contracted a Kampala-based publisher to produce course

    materials in Uganda using deductions from school UPE grantsrestoolving the local language issue owing t

    No signicant progress had been madeteachers more complex and expensive.

    makes the supply, training and deplpossibilities are:

    Lukhonzo,7 Lusoga, Lunyole, Kupsubiny (in Kapchorwa District).Most of the other languages currently in use asLOIs are clearly Languages of Limited Extent withno orthographies, no trained teachers and an almostcomplete absence of a supportive childrens litera-ture.The challenge facing educational policy makers in

    Uganda was whether it was preferable to use anarea/regional local language not favoured by a localcommunity but for which there were trainedteachers, a known orthography and reading books,textbooks and a background literature, or to use acommunity-favoured minority local language with-out such support. The selection of a local languageis also not just a pedagogic issue but has signicantcultural and political implications, particularlywhere there are a number of different, and some-times rival, language possibilities. There are alsonancial implications, given that the use of toomany local languages fractionalises print runs andnance the procurement costs.

  • onhalea




    Centre (NCDC), which saw itself not simply as a

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285274curriculum development organisation but also as anoriginator and approver of core textbook manu-scripts and other teaching and learning materials.From the mid-1980s the major source of instruc-tional materials (IM) funding for primary schoolscame from funding agencies who helped to establisha new national textbook policy in 1993. It was basedon the principles of competition from aMoES list ofapproved textbooks, school-based choice and selec-tion using annual school-based purchasing powerallocations from the government, and the fullinvolvement of private sector publishers as thesource of textbooks.The introduction of UPE in 1997 doubled

    primary enrolments and caused a worsening ratioof textbooks to pupils, as available funding did notkeep pace with the increase in demand. Followingwide consultation, the MoES launched the Instruc-tional Materials Reform Programme in December2000 within the ESIP framework. The new systemhad the following characteristics:

    A competitive evaluation and approval systemwas introduced with a limitation of three on thenumber of textbooks to be approved for eachsubject and grade.

    Price was one of the main criteria in evaluation(40% of all evaluation marks) and there wereminimum content thresholds for conformity tocurriculum requirements and for content/presen-tation. Minimum physical production specica-tions are compulsory for all textbook titlesapproved for use in Ugandan schools in orderto achieve the target textbook life in the class-room.

    Publishers of approved textbooks are required,troewhere in Africa, for many years in Ugandatbook publishing, printing and distribution was aorly performing state monopoly. It was con-lled by the National Curriculum Developmentmoe of the main area languages is not in use. It alsos implications for the successful development ofrning and teaching materials.

    .2.3. The provision of basic learning materials.

    spite the delays outlined above in relation torriculum and language policy, progress in devel-ing basic learning materials has been one of there signicant aspects of the reform process. Asquality of education, especially in those areas whereas a condition of approval, to sign a legallybinding contract that stipulates the mutuallyaccepted terms and conditions of approval,including xed discounts off submitted pricesaccording to the quantity ordered by schools andagreed limitations on price increases during theperiod of approval.

    A Technical Handbook and the MoESs BidEvaluation Management Guidelines supported theagreed documents produced.The reformed textbook evaluation and approval

    process was used for the rst time at the end of 2000for both non-book materials and lower primarytextbooks and teachers guides. However, develop-ing and getting approval of the current textbooksystem, which is based on these principles, did notoccur without considerable opposition as vestedinterests were being attacked. Crucial in the changeswas the eventual recognition that a thriving privatesector publishing industry, a national network ofprivate booksellers and policies that give schools theauthority and resources to choose for themselvesbetween competing series or titles offered bypublishers not only beneted education but alsothe Ugandan economy. The introduction of atransparent competitive tendering process resultedin a reduction in the unit costs of primary textbooksof approximately 60%. This represented an approx-imate 250% increase in school purchasing power fortextbooks and enabled textbook: pupil ratios toimprove at a faster rate than anticipated, leaving theGoU and its partners more condent that a pupil:textbook ratio of close to 1:1 could be achieved inall classrooms over the next three years within theexisting resource envelope.As mentioned earlier, the instructional materials

    reforms squarely attacked the vested nancialinterests of publishers and others associated withthe book industry, and, as a consequence, thereform tested to the full the Governments institu-tional structures, in particular those concerned withjustice, good governance and accountability. Byputting its textbook evaluation and approval systemat the centre of the process and attempting to ensurethat the system was watertight, well managed, openand transparent, the MoES brought enormousbenets to the education sector. Moreover, theability of the funding agencies to discuss openlywith Government unpleasant issues related to theprocurement of textbooks and to agree a wayforward has been instrumental in achieving success.

    Other countries considering following Ugandas

  • It is too early to assess the impact of the PTDMP.However, it faces a number of challenges. Muchpre-service teacher training continues to be inade-quate, whilst in-service training often does notdeliver what is intended. Latest reports on teacher

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 275lead in this area should note the extent to whichstafng continuity, both within government institu-tions and funding agencies representatives, con-tributed to a consistent approach. Primary teacher development. As elsewherein Africa, the challenge for Uganda continues to bethe development of affordable and effective me-chanisms to ensure that primary school teachers arecommitted, motivated and have the professionalskills and ethics to provide quality teaching andlearning for every student . While the quantitativegains in the Ugandan education system have beenimpressive, they have not been matched by im-provements in learning outcomes. Indeed, NationalAssessment of Progress in Education (NAPE) testresults show a deterioration in student performance.As a consequence of these poor results and, indeed,of UPE itself, the role of primary teachers has comeunder intense scrutiny, with numerous demands fora critical review of the impact of UPE on bothstudent and teacher performance.Ugandas strategy for improving the quality of

    teaching and learning has focused on improvementsto the Teacher Development and ManagementSystem (TDMS) which was originally launched in1994 as a USAID funded project but became acentral part of the ESIP following the introductionof UPE. It was intended to increase access to qualitylearning opportunities for students and teachers andto improve school management and instructionalquality, through a training delivery system based onoutreach departments in 23 Primary TeachersColleges (PTCs) which in turn established a networkof 540 co-ordinating centres and tutors for clustersof about 18 schools.The Primary Teacher Development and Manage-

    ment Plan (PTDMP), implemented from 2004, isthe successor to the TDMS. It is concerned withcontinuous professional development and improv-ing quality in schools through increasing the entryqualication to PTCs and developing the teachertraining programmes which focus on better subjectknowledge and more practical skills. The PTDMP isalso concerned with developing accountability,efcient inspection and supervision, strengtheningthe roles and functions of PTAs and SMCs anddeveloping the role of the head teacher. Otherimportant features are its focus on the developmentof a career structure for primary teachers and thedevelopment of quality assurance within teacher and improving the quality of teaching andlearning in Uganda suggest that if the quality ofteaching and learning is to rise there has to becoherence and consistency within the system as awhole, including between policy and administrativereform, and changes in training, teaching andlearning. Otherwise, not only will the reforms befrustrated but traditionally conducted training andresearch, and their parent institutions, will becomeincreasingly irrelevant to the reform agenda and toteachers themselves.8 Establishing and maintaining education stan-

    dards. Alongside reforms of curriculum learningmaterials and teacher development, the MoES sawthe importance of establishing an effective andsustainable inspection and support service toteachers and schools. Until 1989, the inspection ofprimary schools was managed on a regional basiswhilst secondary school and teacher training in-spection was headquarters (MoES) based. The nalreport on the post-constitutional reform restructur-ing of the MoES document of 1998 by the Ministryof Public Service (MoPS) recommended the estab-lishment of an Education Standards Agency (ESA)to replace the MoES Inspectorate. The ESA beganits operations in July 2001, although its early workwas constrained by delays in stafng and inade-quate resourcing.The ESAs work is set out in a ve year medium

    term plan incorporating a three year rollingprogramme. National programmes for inspections,setting out numbers and types of inspections to beundertaken at each educational level, the types andfrequencies of reports, together with the uses to bemade of reports, are described on a three yearbasis and conrmed annually. They are conrmedin the Annual Performance Contract between theESA and the Government. The key components ofthe inspection approach include a predeterminedstructure of Quality Indicators (QIs), a focus on

    8See Crossley et al. (2005) for similar analysis in relation to

    Kenya, and Lewin et al. (2004) on teacher education reform in a

    number of African countries. Improvements in teacher quality

    also need to address motivation and incentives issues related tosalary and working conditions (Bennell and Akyeampong , 2006).

  • yeitchmu


    ernment who resource it, to account. There is also

    between government and donors, and a comprehen-

    education to all primary school age children in the

    ilies to provide theirials, uniforms ande costs of tuition fees

    and basic school operational costs, at an annual rate

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285276an on-going need to develop further a combinationof in-depth supervision and inspection side by sidewith a greatly enhanced programme of shortinspection visits by the district inspectorate toensure regular staff attendance, the required staff/pupil contact hours and good standards of schoolmanagement, administration and teaching/learning.

    2.1.3. Funding access and equity in primary


    So far it has been argued that reform of primaryeducation in Uganda has been based on politicalprocoallenge is to widen the ESAs mandate to holdfessional development providers, and the gov-toars of operation it has begun to demonstrate thatis possible to undertake inspections beyondecking minimum standards alone. However,ch will depend on adequate resourcing especiallyresource inspections in outlying areas. TheThe ESA is a new agency, yet within its rst twoestablishing a set of inspection procedures andinspection instruments.establishment of the Education StandardsAgency (ESA) database systems with links tothe EMIS;evidence, an emphasis on reporting both strengthsand weaknesses, and encouraging self-evaluation onthe part of the institution and its head teacher orprincipal. The intended approach represents amajor shift in the inspection of schools away fromthe previous focus on the institution and educa-tional inputs, such as teachers, books and facilitiesto outcomes in terms of improved teaching andlearning. However, the former are not neglected asthey are covered in specic indicators and in theprole.The ESAs key tasks to date have included:

    the development, testing and renement ofquality indicators;

    organisation of a National Inspections Pro-gramme (NIP) (including the development ofinstruments, procedures, inspection models, se-lection of associate assessors and training,implementation and reporting);

    developing costing and workload models forinspections;

    development of partnerships with other educa-tion institutions and agencies;mmitment to UPE, sufcient nancing, partnershipof Ush 5000 per pupil for classes P1 to P3 and Ush8100 per pupil for classes P4 to P7.9 Theseexpenditures are in addition to the contributionthat GoU already makes in the payment of teacherssalaries, the provision of instructional materials, theconstruction of school facilities and, in some cases,the construction of teachers houses. Tuition feesare paid to schools by the GoU in the form of acapitation grant in nine monthly payments eachschool year.

    9chilunldren with writing materches. The GoU pays for tha nancial requirement on fampopulation began with the recognition of both theimportance of primary education for social andeconomic development and the problems of accesscaused by cost sharing. The UPE policy does notmake primary education free, however. There is stillStesupport teaching and learning.

    ps taken by the GoU to provide fee-freesive (albeit not always successful) approach todeveloping quality. Complementary challenges hadto be addressed, however, and these included how tofund the provision of fee-free primary education to allschool age children in the population, how toimprove decentralised school and community capa-city to manage their own affairs and nally, how toenhance the quality of primary education.Two main modalities were developed and em-


    UPE capitation grant; and School facilities grant.

    Each will now be briey discussed. UPE capitation grant. The UPE capitationgrant has two objectives:

    increasing equitable access to basic education byremoving the burden of school fees from theparents;

    enhancing the quality of primary education byproviding schools with the basic operationalresources necessary to run the school andThe rate of exchange used is Ush 3250 to 1 // Ush 1705 to $1.

  • ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 277The UPE capitation funds are channelled by thecentral Government (Treasury) to the local govern-ments (Districts and Municipalities) in the form ofconditional grants which then have to be utilised inaccordance with guidelines that have been drawn upby the Ministry of Finance, Planning and EconomicDevelopment (MoFPED) in coordination with theMoES. A planning and budgeting cycle is inoperation and the planning and implementation ofthe UPE conditional grant is managed within thisframework.However, the supply chain for UPE funds is quite

    lengthy and involves a number of different actors.Analysis of the ow of funds, mainly through aseries of public expenditure tracking studies, revealsthat although over 90% of the released funds arereaching the primary schools, there are signicantdelays of as much as 90 days in some districts. Thisunpredictability in the receipt of funds makes itdifcult for schools to manage both their planningand the management and use of the grant.There has also been a problem in establishing

    reliable data on individual school enrolments, whichhas affected the efciency of the grant (UgandaBureau of Statistics, 2001). The EMIS (establishedby the MoES in 2000) carries out an Annual SchoolCensus (ASC). As yet the problem of the dualpurpose of ASC statistics, namely monitoringenrolment and the derivation of budgets, whichgives head teachers an incentive to inate enrol-ments in their ASC returns, has not yet been solved.However, once received, public expenditure

    tracking studies reveal that schools expendituresare mostly in line with the UPE guidelines, with theexception of co-curricular activities, where spendingis below the limit, and administration, wherespending is above the limit (though other eldexperiences and surveys suggest that expenditureson instructional materials are also below the limit)(Smith, 2004). There are also indications that thepurchasing power value of the funds is declining andthis will have an obvious impact on the quality ofthe education provided. Nevertheless, the mainpurposes of the grant, namely to ensure thatprimary education is fee free, has been achievedand there have been some improvements in thequality of provision. School facilities grant. The school facilitiesgrant (SFG) for primary schools was designed toassist the most needy school communities to

    complete unnished classrooms and/or to buildnew classrooms. It also included plans for thesupply of furniture, the construction of latrines andthe construction of teachers houses. The SFGmodality began as a pilot in eight districts in 1998and, following an independent evaluation of thepilots in March 1999 and a review of the variousother ongoing classroom construction programmes,it became the sole modality in the country forconstructing school facilities using governmentfunds.Since July 1999 the GoU has spent approximately

    Ush 45 billion (US$26.4 million) at an average unitcost of approximately US$ 2500.00 per classroommillion (see footnote 5) on constructing primaryschool facilities through the SFG. These expendi-tures had resulted in the construction or completionof approximately 29,000 classrooms by 2004,together with the provision of classroom furniture,latrines and stores for instructional materials acrossthe country. The SFG has transformed the land-scape of Uganda, with almost every parish in thecountry receiving at least two new classrooms.As with the UPE Grant, the SFG funding is

    channelled to Districts/Municipalities as a condi-tional grant, under specic guidelines and regula-tions, and is overseen by the MoES underprocedures outlined in its technical handbook.School communities, represented by School Man-agement Committees (SMCs), are responsible forpreparing applications, contracting, and dailysupervision of construction work, as well as makingpayments to the contractor under the guidance ofthe District Engineer.Proponents of the SFG argue that evidence of its

    success can be seen in the number of school facilitiesconstructed and that together with the capitationgrant and the abolition of school fees it has led to asignicant growth in the number of childrenaccessing and staying on for education (GoU-MoES, 2000ac, 2001a, b, 2004ac).Key features of the SFG are that each stake-

    holder is included in an output-oriented processwhich requires commitment and co-operation be-tween all levels of public administration. Coreindispensable tasks and responsibilities are deter-mined and xed, leaving space for local initiative togrow. Clear eligibility/priority criteria, within aparticipatory framework and the development ofdue processes through the implementation ofstraightforward procedures, clear standards andmonitoring processes, have increased peoples con-

    dence in the system. These have made it difcult

  • could achieve greater impact by insisting on theresignation of offenders.10

    These issues notwithstanding, the aims of the

    nancing specialist, a set of options for expanding

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285278for districts to attempt to select any but the mostneedy and the poorest communities as beneciariesor, indeed, for individuals to gain through corruptpractice. Information on SFG is available to all.At any point, anyone can know which school ordistrict has received how much for which type ofactivity and how successful the district/school hasbeen. Enhanced transparency, accurate informationand accountability are all features of the SFG,whilst community participation is mainly based ontaking responsibility rather than cash or kindcontribution.Critics of the SFG, including some government

    ofcials and politicians, argue that although theSFG system is working, certain issues still need tobe addressed. First, very few of the 72 Districts arefully compliant with the procedures and designs asper the guidelines and technical handbooks. Second,it has proved difcult to deal with non-compliantDistricts, institutions and individuals without af-fecting the school children being served in thelocality involved. Third, the MoES has yet to acceptthe idea that other authorities can manage fundsallocated to education effectively, be it at central orlocal level, and it has not effectively supported localor District management. Fourth, there is a widelyperceived need for external supervision and mon-itoring of the processes of school and contractorperformance and payment to ensure compliancewith what is set out in the guidelines (GoU-MoES,2000ac, 2001a, b, 2004ac).It is evident that tensions between national policy

    and local autonomy, including the centres per-ceived need for national control over the system,and desire for political (beneciary) inuence ornancial benet (procurement/payment of services)have therefore affected the implementation of theSFG. Compliance can be sought through eitherparticipatory processes or the existing legal frame-work to enforce sanctions against mismanagement.However, in both areas this will involve a change ofculture and will take time. It will only be when thebenets of legitimate action outweigh the risks ofillegitimate action that the practices embodied in theSFG guidelines will become accepted and normal.The issue of corruption was publicly aired in twosignicant GoU reports; the report of the thenoutgoing Inspector General of Government (IGG)(November, 2004) and the Auditor Generals 2004report. In the former the IGG stated that whileevidence against ofce-holders is often inadequate

    to sustain a criminal case, the political leadershipaccess, based on specially designed projections andnancing models, was developed (MoES, 2002).Third, these options were then discussed furtherwith a wider set of stakeholders and gaps inknowledge were identied and lled. In the fourthstage, the fully developed and costed policy options

    10The report went on to state that the promotion of political

    pluralism would encourage competing political groupings to

    force members to resign in order to preserve the reputation of theSFG have been met in the best situations. Nation-ally, all school communities have functioningSMCs, and the SFG had produced over 29,000classrooms by 2004. However, as identied above,the quality and effectiveness of the SFG processremain variable.

    2.1.4. Increasing access, equity and efficiency at

    post-primary levels of education and training within

    sustainable budgets

    As noted in the introduction to this article, animportant feature of education sector reform inUganda has been the early engagement with post-primary education and training (PPET). This isparticularly notable given the international policyfocus on UPE, often to the detriment of botheconomic growth and human capacity needs indeveloping countries (Lewin, 2005; Palmer et al.,2006). In Uganda, policy on PPET was developed asa natural consequence of the UPE strategy. It wasrecognised soon after 1996 that increasing numbersof pupils reaching P7 (the nal year of primaryschooling) would increase the demand for places insecondary education. The challenge that had to beaddressed was how to plan effectively for increasingaccess, equity and efciency at post-primary levelsof education and training within sustainable bud-gets. For these reasons the GoU and its develop-ment partners began a process of examining howaccess to PPET in Uganda could be expanded inequitable and efcient ways.A ve stage approach to the planning process was

    agreed. First, a series of studies was commissionedand developed to look at various aspects of theproblem. Second, reports from the various studieswere disseminated to a group of key stakeholdersand, with the facilitation of an international PPETgroup.

  • wean







    ing upon expertise from the outside, not just


    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 279consultants, but also participants from other lineministries, local government and education institu-tions, representatives of employers and otherstakeholders.In analysing the process, it is possible to identify

    the crucial institutional and political characteristicswhich enabled this to happen. These were:

    A fairly coherent and cohesive political executivewith a well-dened vision of where to take thecountry, at least in terms of poverty eradication.

    A political executive committed to legitimisingdecisions made through a consultative process.

    Appropriate involvement of civil society, theprivate sector and the legislature in the decision-making forum.

    A forum available which used an establishedplanning tool, the MTBF, as well as data fromthe Education Sector Review. This ensured thatdecision-making occurred with a clear under-standing of the resources available and withinsector expenditure ceilings over the mediumterm. Policies therefore had to compete witheach other within projected funding realities.

    Devolved responsibility to the MoES for budgetformulation.

    Capacity at the centre for assessing the appro-priateness of decisions against the overall strate-gic policy objectives of the government and theirassmal and informal experimentation using aojection model developed by the MoES with theistance of an international specialist; and draw-gie

    lving; identifying and implementing methodolo-s and tools to address the problems identied;appmediate internal and external forces working onproblem. Four key learning activities werelied in this process: shared, creative problemforategic plan of action and included within thevernments education Medium Term Budgetamework (MTBF). The aim was for the policycisions to be implemented from July 2003, theginning of the nancial year.The approach to PPET planning was thereforeither top down nor bottom up; instead, the taskce comprising senior and middle managers hadpol

    ancing decisions were made. Finally, the agreedicy and nancing decisions were translated into anatre used as the basis for a national consultationd consensus-building exercise, culminating in aional policy forum during which policy andnancial implications over the life of the planned Wtrenched in-house knowledge and positions.Various studies (Appleton, 2001; Keating, 2001;tooperiod, including estimating the cost of existingand planned policies over the medium term.

    A coherent and comprehensive approach toeducation aid management with the strategicpolicy priorities of the government being, for themost part, the drivers of decisions that involveaid nancing.

    To support these institutional arrangements, thegovernment and its education development partnersrecognised and met the need for information on thecost of existing and proposed government PPETpolicies over the medium and longer term, theoutput and outcome information on each of thesepolicies, and the cost, output and outcome informa-tion for new policy proposals as they were devel-oped. The attempt at major change beneted fromthe application of a purpose-built model forprojecting the future implications of various policiesand strategies. PPET provision was projected over10 years using the purpose-built model. Thisconsisted of eight interlinked matrices of datareecting different elements of the system. Theseuse a variety of algorithms to generate ows ofpupils and associate these with a range of keyparameters such as pupil:teacher ratios, teacherdemand, teachers salaries, non-teaching staff andnon-salary costs. These were used to generatetransition rates, gross enrolment rates, and recur-rent and development costs which were thenaggregated. The model was developed with the bestinput data then available from a range of sources,including the reports of the inter-related studies. Asbetter baseline data became available the model wasupdated.In the rst stage of developing policy options, the

    model was congured for a baseline stage. This tookknown and realistic policy intentions into accountand introduced a variety of activities designed toincrease access, equity and efciency. The modelwas iterated with an MTBF envelope whichassumed a growth rate of 6.5%. Conversely, ifgrowth was 5% or less and the share of theeducation budget allocated to PPET fell, then lesswould be achieved.The model also built awareness of the resource

    constraints involved and assisted in showing how tomanage this. The projection model was also a vital

    l in overcoming obstacles associated with deeplyood et al., 1999) have shown that post-primary

  • governments have generally agreed needed to occur.In other words, as a rule, structures, systems andapproaches generally should reect national prefer-ences for reform (see also Higgins and Rwanyange,2005). This is especially the case in Uganda where

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285280educational services in Uganda are in demand andare valued. However, the key policy question, whichin turn reects the wider debate about PPET inAfrica (Lewin, 2004), was what form PPET shouldtake. There remain legitimate arguments about therelevance and utility of Ugandas post-primaryschool system. It has an outdated and overloadedcurriculum dominated by examinations and certi-cation which shape learning and teaching tonarrowly dened outcomes (Uganda National Ex-aminations Board, 2002). The examination systemespecially promotes the prevalence of didacticteacher-centred pedagogy. These indicate the needfor curriculum reform, creative innovations inlearning and teaching and assessment systems thatcapture valued learning outcomes. However, theydo not necessarily lead to a case for a radicallydifferent system of PPET which could feasiblyreplace the existing school system for which thereis much demand. The Uganda experience doesillustrate an effective process for developingPPET, however. In addition it shows that argu-ments that investment at post-primary level doesnot directly contribute to reducing poverty arefragile. Nor are they generally believed by the poor,who sacrice disproportionate amounts of theirincome to participate in post-primary education orby elites, as evidenced by their willingness to nanceboth private schooling and the costs of tertiaryeducation.

    3. Discussion

    Samoff (2001) has pointed out that simplifyingndings (lessons learned) in order to generalisemay lead to stating the obvious rather thandeveloping useful guides to action (Samoff, 2001,p. 16). Consequently this discussion will focus onhow experience in Uganda can be used to illustratesome critical issues, to suggest certain insights thatcould guide country governments, developmentpartners and other stakeholders, and to contributeto wider understanding of the processes of educa-tion reform in developing countries.First, this article illustrates how a new model of

    reform is evolving in Ugandas education sector,one which incorporates a restructured frameworkfor managing interaction between the governmentand funding and technical assistance agencies andthe government and key stakeholders within thecountry. The model has focused development

    support on changes that both central and localeducation reforms supported by development part-ners have mostly been technically sound, adminis-tratively possible and politically feasible. This hasmeant that over the past seven years in Uganda,funding and technical assistance agencies have beenencouraged to avoid promoting agency preferencesin the interests of nurturing country-led policies andprogrammes. The broader implication of this is thatwhat has been achieved is what the GoU itselfwanted, and that funding partners should increas-ingly focus on higher level policy dialogue, informedas required by technical support. The need for thelatter does not mean that funding partners shouldwithdraw technical support and advice in favour ofpolicy dialogue alone, although it should berecognised that where they are provided through aproject modality and through off-budget funding, asin the case of current USAID funding, adverseeffects are likely (Higgins and Rwanyange, 2005,footnote 2).Unfortunately this approach is not always ad-

    hered to in the wider international policy arena. Keypolicy texts11 can be used to hold implicit, orexplicit, sway in policy dialogue and in relation toboth technical solutions and nance. For example,it can be suggested that the focus on the centrality ofUPE over the last decade, although important andagreed internationally, has been prioritised to theexclusion of country governments concerns, forboth political and economic reasons, with improv-ing quality and post-primary education.12 There isan urgent need to re-balance policy decision-makinginternationally, to ensure that country governmentsachieve their own objectives as well as the latestpolicy paradigm of the international agencies, andto recognise that the appearance of consensusarising from international agreements and confer-ences can conceal contests over the meaning andpurpose of education itself.Second, targets and other measures of progress

    can also be problematic. The case of Uganda

    11See Ball (1994) re-texts and their links to policy generation

    and implementation. Although Balls conceptualisations were

    developed in relation to UK education reform, the discussion is

    very relevant to points made in this article.12See Lewin (2005) and Palmer et al. (2006).

  • illustrates how commitment to international targetscan be positively made by governments andprogress subsequently achieved. In Uganda, by2003, the primary gross enrolment rate was over100% with gender parity at 0.98 (UNESCO, 2005).However Uganda also demonstrates even with alargely effective state, a sector-wide approach andgenerous education nancing, and despite theprovision of more learning materials and improve-ments in school provision and facilities, the qualityof teaching and learning may continue to be lowand inequities in access and outcomes remain.Expectations need to be realistic, especially where,as noted earlier in relation to LOI policy, certainissues are both complex and politically charged.Reform will almost inevitably be partial and not

    portant as recent trends in the percentage share ofprimary education expenditure reveals a rise insalary expenditure from 61.5% in 1998/99 to aprojected 76.8% in 2006/7, and a decline in theprovision of funding for instructional materials

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 281necessarily lessened by technical solutions in theform of yet more new innovations and panaceas.More complex understanding of the reform processis needed, including the need for conceptions ofissues like quality which attend more to being t forpurpose with curricula and pedagogies more appro-priate to particular contexts.13

    Third, sustainability is also critical. As noted byDFID (2006), families have to nd some of the costsof primary education even when tuition is free. Thecost to governments of mitigating strategies, yetmore UPE investment and a reasonable investmentin PPET will continue to be high and requiresubstantial ongoing funding agency support. Moreattention should be given to the need to balancevarious investment options, the implications ofcontinued dependency on external funding and therealities, and rationales, of individual and familydemand for education.14 This is particularly im-

    13For a critical review of the content and impact of donor-

    driven targets and expectations, see Clemens (2004), Jansen

    (2005) and Smith (2005). As noted by these commentators, and

    others, technical support may also be problematic when it does

    not engage with context, capacity and the need for deep and

    sustained change. More evaluation of current approaches, and

    their match to context, is required (see also Verspoor, 2003;

    World Bank, 2006).14As noted in DFID (2006), there is a need to focus on the

    factors which exclude poor people and disadvantaged groups

    from public services, and develop interventions and incentives

    accordingly, including social protection transfers. These must

    also acknowledge that family investment decisions in relation to

    education are related to both the perceived relevance of primary

    education (e.g. curriculum content, quality of education pro-

    vided) against other needs/opportunity costs, and the opportu-

    nity prospects of post-primary access. The concomitant

    expenditure in education budgets will require long term donorcommitments, and thus long-term dependency on aid.from 9.1% to 2.9% for the same period without acorresponding rise in quality.15 Whilst these changescan be explained; for example, schools have built uptextbook stocks over the past six years, of greaterconcern is the decline in the amount of disbursablefunding in school hands, a key factor in generatingcommunity accountability.Targets for progress can also lead to unintended

    consequences. It is widely recognised that theexpansion of UPE has had an impact on quality(UNESCO, 2004), due in part to funding tending tofollow, rather than precede, expansion. The rela-tionship between achievement and socio-economicclass may mean that increased enrolment frompoorer quintiles may have an effect on overallstudent performance (Al Samarrai, 2005). Theintroduction of UPE in Uganda also increased thenumber of parents sending their children to privateschools, fearing (rightly) a further drop in quality inovercrowded state schools. Policy intentions, suchas the wish to increase both choice and equity, canbecome incompatible, and progress in one issue canlead to difculties in relation to another.Fourth, although argued as central in the DFID

    White Paper (2006) and elsewhere (e.g. World Bank,2003), the issues of governance and effectivestates need careful consideration. The Ugandandevelopment model privileges good governance,by which is understood transparent, accountable,democratic government processes. The GoU isresponsible for creating a supportive environmentfor community and individual initiatives andpartnerships to plan and manage their own affairsmore effectively, thereby reducing dependence andincreasing capability. However, educational policy-making inevitably reects conict and incoherencewithin a state as well as ideological disputes overand struggles for control of the meaning anddenition of education. As illustrated earlier inrelation to quality and school nancing reform inUganda, decentralisation can sharpen as well as

    15A relatively recent UNESCO study on teacher attendance

    (2005) covering the period 20002003 revealed that 30% of

    Ugandan primary school teachers are absent from school at

    anyone time, leaving Uganda heading the international leaguetable of absenteeism.

  • mitigate tensions, particularly where institutionalchange is slow. Decentralisation can improve servicedelivery but also increase spatial and social in-equity.16 The processes of change, drawing onparticular capacities in particular contexts need tobe understood, especially by development partners.

    Tilley, 1997, p. 36) by people co-operating andchoosing to make them work. As Reimers andMcGinn (1997, p. 190) remind us, it is essential torecognise that the key guides are democraticdialogue, empowerment, time, persistence andpatience, as:

    education systems are not machines but arenasfor conict, and that what education systems doreects how people construct their roles regard-ing these systems, and that it is people who canfacilitate the development of knowledge andsustained organisational learning.

    Finally, the potential for high stakes conictbetween development partner and recipient shouldnot be ignored, especially if the partnership has nottaken sufcient account of the possibility that

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285282Certainly, the development partners in Ugandahave learnt both a certain degree of caution and theneed to engage more fully with the politics andprocesses of change. There is a sense of frustrationin some quarters that the anticipated outcomes fromthe considerable investments made so far in theeducation sector are not as great as had beenexpected, especially with regards to improvedquality of teaching and learning. The Ugandanexperience reveals that grand plans like the ESIPare generally insensitive to personal and individualreasons for change and reform (GoU-MoES, 2005).Yet it is to individuals and the institutions theyinhabit that the task of realising reform falls,whether these are globally negotiated educationpolicies or national level ones. All have to bemediated in practice at the national and local level.Moreover, if one acknowledges that the language ofSWAps (Harley, 2005), programme and budgetsupport is that of technical rationality and thatthese aid modalities and approaches tend tofunction primarily in the formal sphere and not atthe level of the experience of most teachers andpupils, let alone directly in their families, then itshould not be surprising that change is slow andthat the reforms may generate a high degree ofsuspicion, if not scepticism.Both overt and covert political agendas and

    structures of inuence and power lessen the impactof the technical development discourse in whichfunding agencies frequently engage. Added to this,for many ministry ofcials (and politicians too)there is an inordinate faith in proclamation,especially when this is in written form. There is astrange assumption that once a directive or plan orstrategy is on paper, and has been afrmed by anauthority, action and outcomes will automati-cally follow. They will not. Programmes workthrough their subjects liabilities (Pawson and

    16As acknowledged in World Bank (2004), the disadvantages,

    as well as the benets, of decentralisation need more considera-

    tion, especially when linked to marketisation/privatisation. A

    variety of factors, including local vested interests and weak

    institutional capacity, need to be tackled to both improve

    accountability and overcome (or indeed avoid increases in) bothspatial and social inequity.Ugandan society might be basing its educationagenda on very different values, processes andpriorities to those understood by developmentpartners. The cultural aspects of change are toooften neglected. It can be argued that in much ofsub-Saharan Africa, individual rationality is essen-tially based on communal logic, which prioritisesreciprocity between the parties involved. This canhave signicant implications for the negotiation andimplementation of educational development initia-tives.17 Such aspects of change, and the processesinvolved in policy dialogue and implementation,place a premium on peoples knowledge, judgement,and planning, teamwork, research, communicationand other skills. The presence of such capacities in

    17Whilst the authors are not entirely persuaded by the thesis

    presented by Chabal and Daloz (1999), their analysis is

    compelling and deserves serious consideration. They especially

    caution against historically unrealistic expectations of the

    development potential in Africa within the timescales develop-

    ment agencies normally operate. In a wide-ranging study entitled

    Africa Works, they argue that in much of sub-Saharan Africa

    individual rationality is essentially based on communal logic and

    that the logic of any action lies in what it induces by way of

    expectations of reciprocity between the parties involved. Their

    thesis is that Africa is on a fundamentally different development

    path to that assumed by Western development partners, and

    argues that this derives from a different logic from that of

    classical economic development. The authors argue that exploit-

    ing disorder or instrumentalising disorder is in fact a different

    kind of order which is perfectly rational within its own terms. If

    the thesis is accepted, such cultural differences will have

    signicant implications for the negotiation and implementation

    of development initiatives. Furthermore, such differences may

    help explain the aversion to institutionalising reform practices,

    and, indeed, may be an obstacle to development as currentlyconceived by the majority of funding partners.

  • the partnership between Government and fundingagency partners is therefore critical to the develop-ment and evaluation of reform to ensure it remainsa fresh and dynamic process.

    4. Conclusion: agenda for further research

    This article has illustrated the complex agenda andprocesses of education sector reform and the need formore long- term studies and comprehensive accounts.Although the quality of research upon which ESIPwas constructed was generally good, a strong case canbe made for more qualitative research on the intrinsicexperience of the SWAp and the budget supportfunding modality, both within the education sectorand across other sectors. For example, it is generallyacknowledged that the impact of reforms which havetaken place in the MoFPED were signicant andshaped much that has been set in place within theMoES, but what wider impact have reforms anddevelopment in the education sector had on othersectors? What horizontal lessons have been learnt? It

    would be valuable to undertake more research on thedynamics between the various stakeholders involvedin SWAp and budget support processes.It would also be valuable to look at the longer term

    impact on reform of critical policy aspects such asdemand for education from more disadvantagedgroups, improvements in learning outcomes and therelationship between increased and changing PPETand the labour market. Reform is too often under-taken with the current policy agenda in mind, ratherthan on the basis of longer term experience.Comparative studies of developments in, for example,Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia, to name fourcurrent examples where SWAps and budget supportmodalities are being developed and implemented,would also add to the institutional knowledge of thegovernments concerned and of their developmentpartners. A better balance between thematic issuesand comprehensive studies could do much to makereform, and investment, more effective in future.Specically, it would be timely for a progress

    review of what has happened to the education


    F. World Bank

    Project Funding










    A. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285 283G. GoU own

    revenues (and

    general budget


    A. Budget



    B. Budget



    C. Budget



    A. Budget



    E. Other





    Holding A/C Education

    Budget Support

    AccountFig. 1. Education budgeolidated


    TDMS IV & V


    Primary classroom


    Grant to DistrictsPrimary classroom



    Instr. Materials


    District Capacity

    Building (ED27(B)

    Rehabilitation 2ary

    school ED12(A)

    Central Capacity

    Building ED27(C)

    Education Sector

    Planning ED27(A)

    Dutch &

    h Project

    undingt support account.

  • through the use of its own continued large scaleproject support and TA budget.

    support of the new curriculum (exactly the same



    Al Samarrai, S., 2005. Financing Primary Education for All:

    ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Penny et al. / International Journal of Educational Development 28 (2008) 268285284Public Expenditure and Education Outcomes in Africa.

    DFID, London.

    Appleton, S., 2001. What can we expect from universal primaryferencescyc

    The example of the education MTBF planningle is shown in Fig. 1.Aply acknowledge the contribution of DFID inpporting the preparation, development and pro-ction of the book upon which this paper is based.e views expressed in this paper do not necessarilyresent those of DFID.

    pendixaryfulproblem occurred with the introduction of the2000/2002 curriculum). Although there are now11 LOIs there is far less money for learning andteaching materials than in previous years whenthere was only English.

    5. The lack of focus on genuine PPET reform.


    The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribu-tion made to their understanding by teachers,community groups and district education staff inUganda, the staff of international developmentagencies, funding and technical assistance agencies,universities, and NGOs. We are particularly in-debted to Mr Francis Lubanga, Permanent Secre-tary, MoES, Ms Alice Ibale, previously AssistantCommissioner, Instructional Materials Unit,MoES, Mr George Kalibbala, Education Ofcerat the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Ms Rosem-

    Rwanyanga, Irish Aid. The authors also grate-2. The serious slow down in primary curriculumreform and implementation.

    3. Continued lack of progress in LOI policy.4. Serious under-funding of learning materials inreform vision and process since 1998 (and why?).Particular issues might encompass:

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    Education sector reform: The Ugandan experienceIntroductionKey features of education sector reform in UgandaBackground and challengesFinancing and institutional frameworksImproving the quality of primary educationPrimary curriculum developmentThe Language of Instruction (LOI) Policy for the lower primary gradesThe provision of basic learning materialsPrimary teacher developmentEstablishing and maintaining education standards

    Funding access and equity in primary educationUPE capitation grantSchool facilities grant

    Increasing access, equity and efficiency at post-primary levels of education and training within sustainable budgets

    DiscussionConclusion: agenda for further researchAcknowledgementsAppendixReferences


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