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Uganda Early Years Enrolment and Repetition Study


RTI International

Research Type: 

Country Specific

Start Date: 

Monday, June 12, 2017

End Date: 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018




Country Specific Theme *

Project Target Countries: 



Open Competition

Project Description: 




  1. Student over-enrolment and high repetition in early primary years is a prevalent trend for developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, studies have shown that official gross enrolment rates in many countries (calculated as the number of children enrolled in particular grade divided by the number of children in the population age associated with that grade), can be very misleading in relation to the actual number of children completing primary school education.The region also has the highest global population of primary education repeaters, estimated at 35%.
  2.  In Uganda, more children are enrolled in primary grade 1 than the population of children at the official school entry age, indicating that some enrolled children must be under-age and/or over-age for the grade.When children repeat or enter primary grade 1 at an older age the gross enrolment rate increases, however the true  implications of this are often overlooked in policy decisions. Recent studies show that with high enrolment rates of 100% or higher, a significant proportion of the primary grade 1 population in school never enroll; or of those enrolled do not finish  primary education and are not captured in official national data on enrolment rates, but contribute to poor learning outcomes in primary education.

  Key Knowledge Gaps

  1. Emerging evidence is beginning to document the trends in primary and pre-primary enrolment and repetition rates in sub-Saharan Africa, taking an in-depth look at the scale of the problem in case study countries such as Uganda. Initial results from a pilot research project undertaken in two districts in Uganda (Mbale and Kumi) showed higher rates of ‘hidden’ repetition, resulting in significant differences between the actual and official national data on early primary education.
  2. A clear evidence gap exists in understanding the actual scale of over-enrolment in grade 1 in relation to access to pre-primary education, the ages of enrolment in grade 1, and/or repetition rates in grades 1 and 2; and how this impacts policy and primary education sector spending at the national level; and learning outcomes for all, particularly the poorest populations.


The objectives of this study are to;

(i) understand the efficiency of early primary and pre-primary education in Uganda;

(ii) how this impacts policy and primary education sector spending at the national level and

(iii) learning outcomes for all, particularly the poorest populations




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