At PEAS we measure our work through the metrics of access, quality and sustainability. These three measures allow us to analyse our performance in a number of ways. For example, we can understand how PEAS is expanding educational access through data on the percentage of pupil’s families living beneath the $1.90 a day poverty line, or monitor sustainability through financial data. Measuring quality, however, is more complex. To do so, we regularly survey our teachers, conduct lesson observations and carry out inspections focused on the drivers of quality and, while this data gives us confidence that we are on track, it can be argued that the most important illustration of the quality of our school network is national examination results.
National Examinations allow us to see how our schools are improving, year on year, both relative to their own performance, and the national average. This month, the Examinations Council of Uganda released the results of the 2019 UCE examination, which take place after four years of lower secondary school. The results were impressive.
Twenty-two of our twenty-eight schools showed a marked improvement in the number of pupils achieving one of the top three grades, and across the network these results rose by an average of 11% per school. This rise saw 61% of PEAS school students passing with the top three grades, compared to a national average of 49%. This is particularly impressive, as PEAS pupils arrive at secondary school with lower than average attainment, as we accept students who might otherwise have been educationally marginalised.
The improvement in results was shared equally between boys and girls, which is significant as Ugandan girls often face social stigmas and expectations outside of school which limit their progress. We are proud that our teams were able to confront these challenges so successfully. We also saw significant progress in the percentage of girls passing at least one science, which rose from 68% in 2018 to 86% in 2019.
Finally, certain PEAS schools deserve an honourable mention, as their results were particularly impressive. PEAS Aspire, Nyero and Lamwo’s results rose by 48%, 40% and 37%, respectively, after middling performances in 2018, while PEAS Akoromit and Toroma managed to rise from 85% to 92% and 80% to 89%. Their success in making their excellent schools even better really is worthy of celebration.
It brings us great joy that so many students are now well positioned to continue their education, and to see how our education team’s efforts are improving teaching and learning across the network. Daniel Omaya, the head of our Ugandan network surmised it well, when he said that, “these results are the outcome of targeted support and a concerted effort. More than three quarters of our schools have posted improved results in 2019 – it seems that our work paid off”.
The work so far may have paid off, but in our eyes, it has only just begun.