|Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School|
The education system in Uganda is slightly different to many of those in other countries. In order to attend school, students must pass entry exams and provide school fees each term. Classes are based on an assessment of the student’s ability as opposed to their age and are therefore often a mix of ages working at the same ability. If students cannot provide school fees they cannot attend school, even if they have already made it halfway through the school year – they must repeat again the next year or whenever they return to school. If students do not pass the end of year exams they must also repeat the year (and pay school fees again). Instead of repeating school years and paying more school fees many children turn to finding work in unskilled labour in order to generate an income. Those that cannot afford school fees simply do not attend school.
The current situation in Kibuye is that the majority of children out of education are girls. It is often the case that girls are viewed as being of a lower status than boys and more useful either being either sold into marriage or used in order to provide an income for the family – often to send their siblings to school. AASU is addressing the issue of girls education, immediately by having affordable school fees but also more gradually through community education sessions regarding the rights and women and girls.
As Sharon (AASU’s founder) is a village girl herself, she is a great example of the opportunities an education can bring to both boys and girls. AASU has been holding meetings throughout Kibuye and will continue to do so, addressing the importance of education for both boys and girls. We currently anticipate a 2:1 ratio of boys to girls enrolling in February 2011. Whilst this is an encouraging start, it is hoped the numbers of girls enrolled will continue to rise and this imbalance will be addressed as the school becomes more established and the community awareness is raised through the educational sessions.