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Running head: EDUCATION OF ORPHANS IN UGANDA

Education of Orphans in Uganda


Deric Batt
Ball State University

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS IN UGANDA

Education of Orphans in Uganda


When Kyama came here to tell us about some of the AK Scholars she was looking to find
sponsors for, one thing caught my attention. Kyama referred to a few students who were orphans
in Hoima, often due to the spread of AIDS. According to Kyama, this has left some children to
live with other family members, while a few of her students live with other, unrelated village
members. This is frightening in a few manners to me, most seriously in the effect on the
childrens psyche.
This point led me to research some of the effects of these living arrangements on the
education of these students. One interesting piece of research that studies the phenomenon of
orphans in Uganda finds approximately 12% of all children in Uganda have lost at least one
parent, with most of these orphans living with their remaining parent (Yamano, Shimamura, &
Sserunkuuma, 2006). This, of course, does not account for children who live with one parent by
other means, but it does set an interesting baseline for orphan totals in the country.
According to this study, the involvement of orphans (from both single parent and
adoptive homes) in the education system is determined heavily by two different factors. The first
is a factor of age. While orphans and non-orphans attend school at a rate of above 90% during
what the study determines are childhood years (ages 7-14), orphans attend school at a lower rate
than non-orphans during their adolescent years (ages 15-18). While there is a relatively minor
difference between orphan and non-orphan males in both sets (94.5%% of non-orphan males
attending school during childhood years vs. 91.7% of orphans during the same years, and then
79.9% vs. 77.2% during adolescence), the difference between the attendance of orphan vs. nonorphan females during adolescence is truly astounding. During childhood, orphan and non-

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS IN UGANDA

orphan girls attend school at exactly the same rate (93.8%) during childhood, there is a 10.8%
difference (83.0% vs. 72.2%) during adolescence. This is striking to me, and probably merits
extra attention to our female orphans in Hoima.
Secondly, there is a factor of poverty. There is a substantially big difference in school
attendance among orphan and non-orphan students who are part of families in the lower 25th
percentile of the socioeconomic ladder in Uganda. For non-orphans in the lower 25th percentile,
80% of girls attend school during their adolescences, with 74.5% of boys attending school.
Astonishingly, these numbers drop to 45.5% of female orphans (a drop of 34.5%) and 37.5% of
male orphans (a drop of 37.05%).
These numbers are very important to the cause of the Hoima-Uganda Education
Foundation, as they illustrate a level of need for these students that stretches beyond the current
scope of the program. While this research did not contain any answers for why the situation is
the way it is, it perhaps warrants a further investigation on H.U.E.F.s part into the life of these
orphan children and their families. This perhaps illustrates a population that, once Hoima begins
to see the educational results it sets out to achieve, will seemingly be at risk of having their
educational process prematurely ended.
The ability to enroll our students in quality secondary schools and help them at least
move one step higher on the educational ladder is vital and noble work, but H.U.E.F. must look
ahead and be prepared to face the next challenge that comes. One suggested strategy for dealing
with these potential issues is creating a feedback system with the families who take in orphans
and trying to help them meet their needs. This does step outside of the scope of what H.U.E.F.
currently sets out to do, but the aim of this would be to achieve the same ends. Another potential

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS IN UGANDA

strategy in dealing with this potential issue would be to keep these children as one of the primary
focuses of further sponsorship drives, highlighting their need and the need of their adoptive or
single parent families in helping these children create a brighter future for themselves and
Hoima. The goal here would be to provide their families with the necessary economic support to
allow them to keep these children in school and building towards a better future for the
individual and their family.
While this issue is not one that requires the immediate attention of Hoima, given the
educational enrollment rates of children are similar at this age, this problem certainly has long
term implications for our students. I would recommend, personally, that H.U.E.F., if possible,
find a manner in which to keep close tabs on these students and their families, providing extra
support for a very vulnerable population.

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS IN UGANDA


References
Yamano, T., Shimamura, Y., & Sserunkuuma, D. (2006). Living arrangements and schooling of
orphaned children and adolescents in Uganda. Economic Development & Cultural
Change, 54(4), 833-856.