Uganda is one of the ‘highly indebted countries’ that had its debts cancelled after the Gleneagles G8 summit of 2005. It recently stepped up school spending - introducing free secondary education – but the future is looking doubtful.
Laden with empty food containers in which he carried his packed lunch and breaktime snacks, eight-year-old Phillip Tasiku plays with his friends as they return home from Kitante Primary School in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Even though Phillip’s tuition is now funded by the government, his mother Esther has to pay 30,000 Ugandan shillings (around $18) in extra charges each term as well as provide Phillip’s food.
Universal education in Uganda has been described by many, including President Yoweri Museveni, as a success. Uganda now boasts an extra 1.5 million pupils in primary school since the programme was introduced.
The politicians say: “We now look to a future where at least every Ugandan will be able to write down their names and read a signpost”. They tell us that free education – especially for poorer people – means that Uganda is to become a country of the enlightened. But wait a second...!