Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha
In times past Ugandan children did not want to go to school, and their parents preferred to keep them at home. The picture has totally changed. Now the children love to attend classes, and their parents are supportive. The realize that education is the best way to rise out of poverty.
In Uganda there are many government primary and secondary schools which charge little or no tuition. The problem is that the quality of instruction is generally poor. Teachers are not well supervised, and teaching supplies are inadequate. Some of the better performing government schools do charge tuition. Families are often asked to pay for supplies. Most students and parents prefer private schools. Tuition at these schools, while low by U.S. standards, is not affordable by most village families. And there is very little help for students wishing to study at the university level.
I am partnering with several people in Uganda to operate a scholarship program. We currently sponsor four students in medical school, fifty students studying in nursing and allied health fields, and forty students in other higher education institutions. We also offer some assistance to about 100 primary and secondary students. We have also established one secondary school, three primary schools, and one vocational institution. The costs for these programs is very high. We have had to reduce the number of students we are supporting and are giving only partial support to many others.
I think it is very important for children and young adults in Uganda to get as much education as possible. They advance their abilities in English and acquire math and reading skills which will enable to get jobs in the future. The alternative is for them to stay in the village and do subsistence farming or manual labor. They will be just living on the edge.
The scholarship program is really a lifeline for these young people. It is my hope that we can secure adequate funding to continue this activity.
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