Addressing school safety in Uganda
Rita Lulua, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Onesmus Dralega, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Lisa Sherburne, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Safety as an important aspect of quality learning has been inadequately addressed under Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda. A study found that 84% and 76% of pupils reported to have observed or experienced violence against girls and boys respectively. Teachers were identified as perpetrators by 17% (Action Aid International, 2004). Abuse causes health risks, school drop out and failure to achieve full potential among children. Since 2005, JSI/UPHOLD, a USAID-funded project that works in 28 districts of Uganda, has supported the Ministry of Education and Sports to introduce Safe School Contracts to more than 200 primary schools. Teachers and pupils sign the SSC where teachers agree to protect pupils from abuse while pupils identify three safety friends. Focus group discussions and interviews were conducted with pupils and teachers to explore their experiences. Pupils reported positive changes like increased confidence, less tension on school grounds, less harassment and reduced assaults.