lack of effective science education
The development of any society is closely tied to its advancement in science and technology. And yet science education in Uganda (and many African countries) has been reduced to teaching enough theory to simply pass exams. Practical, problem-based learning and experimentation has been put aside. This leads to poor overall classroom performance, poor skills development, low job & career prospects and ultimately, weak economic development.
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. This situation is exacerbated for rural areas where 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.
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 84% 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. Now, what are the chances for the disadvantaged young people who could not continue with school?
computer literacy and resource access
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. The young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and rural areas are left out of the loop. It is common knowledge to find a young science innovator scavenging rubbish sites for parts to use in the development of their ideas and this makes them to often be labelled crazy and hopeless. But still, what is the hope that these ideas will see the light of day when the innovator does not have sufficient knowledge and support in business startup and development?