lack of effective science education
The development of any society is closely tied to its advancement in science and technology. Current primary and secondary education in Uganda lacks a holistic approach to fostering interest in science and critical thinking. Since the implementation of the Universal Primary Education program in 1997, aimed at providing basic education to all children, enrollment increased from 3.1 million students in 1996 to 8.4 million in 2013. While this is wonderful, the average student to teacher ratio is 45 to 1.
Rather than providing students with creative or experiential learning opportunities, the education system focuses on preparing students for standardized tests. This inherent theoretical curriculum does not sufficiently foster student interest in advancing science education. Science laboratories are present in only 51% of schools, and those that exist are poorly equipped. It is found that 80% of rural students received low grades or failed sciences altogether. Students who do well in these courses who wish to further pursue science education have to deal with this severe lack of resources and are discouraged to continue. As a result, of students in upper secondary school, only 20% participated in mathematics, 14.4% in physics, 11.5% in chemistry and 12.35 in biology.
For even the lucky few who are able to graduate with a university degree, unemployment rates inhibit youth from engaging in the development of technology and their country. Unfortunately, employment opportunities for young Ugandans are extremely low, with unemployment percentages reported as high as 83% for Ugandan youth aged 15-24. With one of the largest youth populations in the world, these staggering unemployment rates are crippling to the entire population. With 52% of Ugandans under the age of 15, and 78% under the age of 30, the youth of Uganda represent a rapidly expanding workforce with little opportunity to flourish.
In today's world, there is an ever growing amount of resources and information made available freely to those who know how to access it. In Uganda only 16% of the population uses the Internet, severely restricting the flow of these resources. While there are several factors that restrict internet usage, two of the biggest reasons remain computer affordability and literacy. In the dawn of increasingly inexpensive microcomputers the internet is becoming more accessible than ever, placing greater importance on computer literacy. With exposure and knowledge of how to use devices such as Raspberry Pi, which serves as a $35 desktop PC, Ugandans can access the world wide community, learning resources, and information that will accelerate the advancement of Ugandan technology.