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Edukans in Uganda

Uganda’s current formal education system is a four tier structure that is modeled along a 7-4-2-3 year progression pattern: Seven years of primary education, followed by four years of lower secondary or Ordinary level (‘O’ level), two years of upper secondary or advanced level (‘A’ level) and three to five years of tertiary education. In parallel, there is an alternative technical and vocational transitioning consisting of a wide variety of training programs that follow immediately after primary education and three or four year post-secondary technical/vocational programs. The structure of education has remained in force since attainment of independence over 50 years ago. Primary school leavers, have the option to proceed to secondary education or join P.7 enrolling BTVET institutions. O’ level/UCE leavers on the other hand have several options; these include proceeding with Advanced Level (UACE) Secondary education, enrolling for a two year advanced course in a BTVET institution, or enrolling for a two-year grade three primary teacher training program in a Primary Teachers’s College. A’ level/ UACE leavers also have several avenues for progression to higher education/training. These include (i) proceeding to university, (ii) joining a National Teachers College for a two year course (iii) Joining a Uganda Technical College for a two year course, (iv)Joining a Uganda College of Commerce for a two year course (Government of Uganda, 2016).

Edukans programmes

In Uganda, Edukans is locally registered as Edukans Education Services (as an NGO and Ltd under Guarantee) and will continue to drive the agenda of Edukans which is to provide marginalised children and youngsters around the world with quality basic education and vocational training. The organisation focuses on the four key thematic areas of Quality basic education, Vocational education, Education in emergencies and equal opportunities for boys and girls.

Edukans has been working in Uganda through partners since 1994 supporting and improving the quality of education and skills development programmes with a focus on underprivileged children and unemployed youths. Currently in collaboration with its strategic partner ELECU, AVSI, Advance Afrika and Heifer Uganda has been supporting basic education and skills development through a number of districts and Agriculture training institutions.

The specific projects that are being run by together with these Strategic partners are;

  • Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda (ELECU) – is implementing the EDU Q-Card tool and EDUstars school approach;
  • AVSI – Skilling Youth for Employment in Agri-business (SKY) project in St. Joseph Vocational Training Centre in Kamuli; Kyera Agricultural Training College, Busitema University/Arapai campus in Soroti;
  • Advance Afrika – we are implementing 2 major projects (Small holder farmers under the Civic Engagement Alliance in Lango, Teso, Karamoja and Bridging opportunities for effective and productive livelihoods of youth prison inmates and ex-inmates in Northern Uganda in Amuru, Kitgum, Gulu);
  • Heifer International – Learn for Agri-business project (L4AB) in Dokolo.

Edukans team

The Edukans Country Representative Uganda is Pamela Kertho. For specific questions about our work in Uganda or in case you want to partner with us, please contact Pamela Kertho via pamela@edukans.org.


On 12 November 2020 we were on the national news in Uganda! Edukans Country Director Uganda Pamela Kertho presented the ambitions of our new Tools4Training project in West-Nile, Uganda. Together with War Child Holland and Norwegian Refugee Council, we will cooperate with Directorate of Industrial Training to strengthen the vocational skills training that young refugees receive and to prepare them well for labour market opportunities. Special thanks to Nuffic Global Development for its support through the Orange Knowledge Programme!

Ambitions 2020 Uganda

  • 100 STAR schools in current programme certified, 200 new schools identified
  • 200 school leaders/ deputies and 3,000 teachers trained in active teaching and learning methodologies
  • Improved academic achievement of 70,000 students
  • Conduct yearly successful Edukans exchanges like World Teacher Program, with Core PTC’s and schools in their service area
  • At least 20 agri-skills providers capacitated with 7 steps to Work approach to enable them to perform in market-oriented skill trainings reaching out to 9200+ rural youths (18-35 yrs) directly and another 7200 children and youth indirectly that will be able to improve their livelihoods.


1. Quality Education

EDUstars Model

The EDUstars quality improvement model underlies Edukans programme for school improvement and improving students’ academic achievement, both at primary school level as in first cycle secondary. The programme aims to improve the overall school situation focussing on five major domains: school environment, teaching, learning, school management and effective community participation (the five points of the star). Each domain counts with 8 key indicators ranging from 1-4, compatible with the Ugandan Education Quality Framework.

Education Quality Card (EDU Q-Card)

The starting point for EDUstars education quality improvement is a participatory assessment with a hands-on online tool called EDU Q-Card. This tool follows the logic of the EDUstars model. The tool enables both expert- and self-assessment, produces on-the-spot reporting and makes improvement actionable. Working with EDU Q-Card requires a change from controlling way of working to coaching and guidance. Connected to the tool, Edukans offers other services, like trainings in Active Teaching and Learning, School Leadership. More information about the EDU Q-card can be found on https://eduqcard.org/.

Two trainings were planned and conducted for 35 participants in June 2019 and 19 participants in December. The participants gained valuable skills in mentoring and coaching, digital skills on the use of tablets to capture and process data. Due to this, there has been improvement on feedback giving and developing action plans. Improvement was also realized in generating reports for feedback sessions using the tablets. In addition the frequency of school assessment by inspectors and CCT improved. Before the project, schools were assessed once or not at all in a year. But the project has improved the average assessment and support supervision rate per school to, 3 times a year.

Some of the current results are:

  •  91 schools assesses and following up action points
  •  39,818 pupils in primary schools reached
  •  1,152 primary teachers reached, of which 216 trained in assessment
  •  100 head teachers and deputies trained
  •  9 inspectors involved
  •  3 district education offices involved
  •  19 center coordinating tutors involved
  • 1 Deputy principle of Nakaseke PTC, 2 representatives from the Directorate of Education Standards (DES) and 2 from the Basic Education department Min of Education involved

EDU Q-Card programme 

Overall Objective

The objective of the EDUstars programme in 2019 was to improve students’ academic achievement in 100 primary schools starting with EDU Q-Card assessments in the districts of Luwero, Nakasongolo en Nakaseke.

Expected Results 

  1. Strengthened guidance and coaching of 100 schools by 9 school inspectors, 3 district education officers and 19 CCT’s (Centre Coordinating Tutors.
  2. Improved leadership and management capacities of 200 head teachers and deputies
  3. 1,000 primary teachers capacitated in ATL (Active Teaching and Learning)
  4. Improved learning outcomes for 30,000 students.

Implementation Strategy 

  1. Involve MoES to adopt the EDU Q-Card as a new approach of monitoring and guidance of schools, according to their own policy.
  2. Capacity building (training) of school inspectors, district education officers and CCT’s in EDU Q-Card assessment tool and methodology, ‘appreciative inquiry’ and coaching.
  3. Regular assessments in 3 years, at least once a year on every school, monitoring of progress and facilitate actions for improvement.
  4. Skills and employment


World Teacher Program Uganda

In July 2020, an Edukans World Teacher Programme will be organised in Nakaseke, Nakasongola and Luwero district. 15 Dutch teachers an lecturers will organise a two week program together with ELECU. On 6 schools and at the Core PTC Nakaseke a programme will be organised to improve education in this region. It will be a program of workshops in active teaching and learning, school visits and feedback. The focus will be on mutual learning.

2. Vocational Education

2.1 SKY programme, with AVSI 

Through the Skilling Youth for Employment in Agri-business (SKY) project, running from 2016 – 2020, AVSI Foundation and Edukans strive to create employment opportunities for 6,000 youths in Uganda. As part of this ambition, the project invests in building the capacity of 14 agricultural training institutions. Three of these institutions have been selected to participate in a twinning program coordinated by Edukans. This twinning program contributed to two key project outputs: 1) Profiled and selected Agri-Institutions capacity strengthened to deliver responsive agribusiness modules, and 2) Agri-institutions have adopted reviewed youth responsive agribusiness modules.

The main goal is to enhance sustainable creation of employment of youth in the agribusiness sector. 

Three agricultural training institutes were selected for comprehensive capacity building activities:

St. Joseph Vocational Training Centre in Kamuli

Kyera Agricultural Training College in Mbarara

Busitema University/Arapai campus in Soroti

SKY network event

Beneficiaries of the Action 

  1. 6,000 unemployed youth provided with quality agriskills education and supported to find decent employment;
  2. 14 agricultural training institutions and 2 Ugandan TVET institutions supported to provide quality and market oriented skill trainings.


The 7-steps to WORK methodology was used in a twinning program between the Ugandan agricultural TVETs, Edukans and Dutch Agricultural TVETs. The activities focused on:

  • Improved strategic planning and management of the schools
  • Improved quality of education
  • Improved business environment, and
  • Improved market oriented training courses.

Results per December 2019

Two Ugandan TVETs (St. Joseph Vocational Training Centre and Kyera Agricultural Training College) were linked with two Dutch agricultural TVETs (TERRA college and NORDWIN college) for a period of two years. The twinning of the Dutch and Ugandan TVETs resulted in an increased capacity of the TVETS, more specifically in: more competent staff, active teaching methods, stronger industrial linkages between school and companies, more focus on business skills in curricula, improved  internships and a better focus on employment opportunities.

The School Improvement Program of Busitema University aims to improve teaching skills and management skills at the Arapai campus (TVET and BSC level), and to strengthen the business approach and the linkage with the industry. Edukans and World Teacher teams use the 7-steps to WORK methodology in their training activities for a period of two years.

A Mid Term Review in 2019 showed that the most significant changes of the program so far are realized in the areas of active teaching and learning methodologies; integration of the business component in lessons and establishment of agribusiness linkages; and teamwork at the institutes. A  short video (https://vimeo.com/339223331) demonstrates the active involvement of teachers and managers of the institutes and the achievements made.

A Learning Network Event between the three institutes was held in October 2019, to take stock of the lessons learned, to exchange experiences and best practices, to showcase results to external parties and to increase networking among the institutes.

Planned activities for 2020

  • Business Training on 7-steps to Work for the managers of the three training institutions
  • Training on Organizing Networking Events for the three institutions
  • Implementation of networking events and open days of the three institutions

2.2 Learn for Agri-business programme, with Heifer International (2018-2020)

“Learn for Agri-business project (L4AB)” is a three year project implemented by Heifer International Uganda and Edukans intended to reach 3,200 youth in Dokolo district in Northern Uganda in the two subcounties of Kwera and Dokolo. The project focuses on agribusiness skills development blended with agribusiness value chain development.

Northern Uganda has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Particularly for rural youth there is a huge gap between their education, skills levels and market requirements. Edukans and Heifer decided to join forces to close this gap from both ends: by improving access to quality trainings for employable skills, while at the same time creating (self) employment opportunities in profitable agricultural value chains. This way 3,200 uneducated young people will be enabled to earn a decent income to support themselves and their families. To achieve this, youth are trained in methods to increase the production of maize, sunflower and groundnuts and to process, store, transport and sell their produce. With these skills they can participate in 2 newly established agri-business hubs that will link them to profitable markets, value chains and support structures.

Learn4Agri-business in Dokolo district 

Overall Objective 

The overall objective of the Learn4Agribusiness programme is to enable 3,200 youth (and 7200 other children of the targeted youth) in Dokolo district, North Uganda directly to make a decent and sustainable living  in agricultural value chains: maize, groundnut and sunflower. Additional, 2 agriculture training institutions and extension staff will be trained as well.

Expected Results 

  1. 3,200 rural youths (18-35 yrs), in 5 sub-counties (Agwata, Batta, Dokolo, Kangai and Kwera of Dokolo District reached with trainings.
  2. 3,200 youth in Dokolo district, Northern Uganda, directly enabled to make a decent and sustainable living  in agricultural value chains.
  3. 20 extension staff of Dokolo District local government and 2 agriculture training institutions trained. They are constrained by limited capacities and resources to reach (vulnerable) youth. In addition, 7,200 other children of the targeted youth will benefit by increased income of their caretakers
  4. With the right technical skills for production (e.g. crop cycle management, soil conservation, composting, pest control, use of drought-resilient varieties) and processing (handling, transport, drying, storage, packaging, etc) young farmers can reach much higher production levels in a more sustainable and cost-efficient way.

Implementation Strategy 

Heifer implements the project in liaison with a number of stakeholders among which the government, microfinance institutions and community agri-input entrepreneurs, via their approach of ‘Agri-hubs’ enabling the beneficiaries to access affordable credit. Edukans provides add-on training and capacity building.

Beneficiaries of the Action 

  1. 3200 unemployed youth are provided with quality TVET education and supported to find decent employment
  2. In addition, 7,200 other children of the targeted youth will benefit by increased income of their caretakers
  3. 2 agriculture training institutions and 20 extension staff are trained for adequate teaching on market oriented skill trainings and guidance of trainees for better agricultural extension provision and income earning opportunities.

Implementation Area and priority sectors 

The programme is implemented in 5 sub-counties (Agwata, Batta, Dokolo, Kangai and Kwera  of Dokolo District. From two project studies (i.e. Labor Market Assessment and Value Chain analysis and Feasibility study), Edukans focusses on development and training on 13 curricula frameworks (11 Value Chains, 1 soft skill, 1 Business and Entrepreneurship). Priority area skills training delivery, development of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials and aid in information enhancement during training.

2.3 Bridging Opportunities for effective and productive livelihoods of youth prison inmates

“Bridging opportunities for effective and productive livelihoods of youth prison inmates and ex-inmates in northern Uganda” is a project that Edukans is jointly implementing with Advance Afrika in the three districts of Northern Uganda (Gulu, Kitgum and Amuru). The role of Edukans is presented below.

3. Education in Emergencies

Edukans is looking into possibilities to join EiE programmes in the Northern part of Uganda (‘Education Cannot Wait’). ELECU is part of the network. As soon as the Edukans Country Office is operational, we will network with the partners and bring in our expertise on EDU Q-Card, Active Teaching and Learning (ATL) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

SEL centers on ‘teaching the whole child’, focusing five interrelated competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Interestingly, the pilot produced promising results in terms of boosting children’s self-awareness, emotional management of theirs and others. We expect SEL – now piloted in Ethiopia – to have high relevance in EiE settings.

4. Gender

Sexual and Reproductive Health 

Sexual and reproductive health education is another Theme and programmatic intervention relevant for the Ugandan context; especially in refugee settings. This will also be explored. Adolescents and young people lack proper knowledge and have serious misconceptions, beliefs and wrong information about their sexuality and reproductive health aspects of life. All these bring serious challenges and vulnerability to various social, health, economic, emotional and physical complications in their later life, especially for girls.

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