Are our children learning? Illuminating the Covid-19 learning losses and gains in Uganda; Uwezo national learning assessment report, 2021

Organisation(s): Uwezo Uganda

Date: 2021

Pages: 56 p.


This report represents the latest of a series of national assessments of children’s foundational literacy and numeracy skills that Uwezo has carried out in Uganda since 2010, as part of a wider movement for citizen-led learning assessment. The assessment of 2021 was conducted in the difficult conditions of school closure and restricted movement, in the belief that its findings could contribute to the tasks of recovery of the education system, from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, that lie ahead. In addition to the usual assessment of children and survey of their background, our volunteers obtained information about children’s continuation of learning while at home during the school closures. The findings on learning suggest that some improvement was made in 2018-21 in the pace of children’s progress, in the upper primary grades, towards foundational reading and numeracy competence. This apparent improvement may be partly attributable to home-based study in 2020-21 while children remained in the same grade for longer than usual as schools remained closed. Partly too, it may reflect better teaching before the pandemic. Those who had acquired these competences automated and retained them despite the prolonged school closure. But the findings also illustrate the delay of younger children’s progress as a result of the school closures. In some respects, the gap between older and younger children has widened. The school survey findings, although limited in scope, show underlying problems of insufficient staffing and physical structures that affected primary schools before the closures and will continue to impede effective learning. In other respects, there are indications that greater attention is being given to children’s safety in school.

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