Department of Political Science

The political economy of education quality initiatives in Uganda

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Uganda has seen a significant increase in access to primary education since 1996 but without an increase in quality learning. We show that there are weak political incentives to undertake reforms to enhance quality learning, for three reasons. (i) A system of decentralized rent management renders quality improvements arbitrary. (ii) There is a legacy of fee-free education playing an important part of the electoral appeal of the NRM for rural voters. (iii) The pressure to push through education quality-enhancing reforms, whether from civil society, powerful interest groups, or parliament, is too weak to overpower incentives to address the learning crisis head-on. At the local level, the school administrations in high-performing schools were able to draw upon resourceful networks in order to mobilize local council funds and parents’ contributions, in spite of the official policy of free education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Education in Developing Countries: From Schooling to Learning?
EditorsS. Hickey, N. Hossain
Number of pages25
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication year2019
Chapter8
ISBN (print)9780198835684
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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