Improving the learning environment for Ugandan children
The Government of Uganda, with support from UNICEF, is working to improve the learning environment for children. This is being done, along with other interventions, by strengthening monitoring and support activities, and coordinating key activities related to major sector initiatives.
Access to timely, accurate data is critical to these activities. In the past, information about schools was limited primarily to the yearly, paper-based census, which focused on relatively static indicators, such as the number of classrooms in a school. Compilation and distribution of such data was slow, sometimes occurring a year or more after collection.
Without relevant and timely data, creating an enabling learning environment is challenging; the accuracy of planning and support activities is reduced, as is the ability to make data-driven strategy or policy recommendations.
EduTrac is an attempt to change this.
What is EduTrac?
EduTrac is a mobile phone-based data collection system being piloted by the Ministry of Education and Sports and UNICEF.
The ministry is using EduTrac to monitor education indicators that need to be collected on a more frequent basis than the annual school census allows. The data is collected from school administrators and others working closely with schools. They respond to periodic polls via free-of-charge SMS messages, and the reports they send are visible to district education officers and national officers through a web-based reporting dashboard.
In the districts, district education officers are responsible for EduTrac. The officers manage and promote the use of EduTrac within schools, follow up with schools, and take action based on information submitted by reporters in their districts. EduTrac aims to support districts in their efforts to improve planning for education, as well as help them to provide targeted responses more quickly to schools.
At the school and community levels, different groups of reporters respond to different polls. Head teachers provide data on teachers’ attendance, and are responsible for data sent in by P3 and P6 teachers. P3 and P6 teachers send in data on pupil attendance and the curriculum on a weekly basis. Members of school management committees send in head teacher attendance each week, while members of the Girls’ Education Movement send in reports about various school infrastructure and school meals each month.
At sector level, the Ministry of Education and Sports and other education players use the data to support faster, more targeted school supervision and management.
- The Ministry of Education and Sports is scaling up EduTrac with funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) as part of an integrated education monitoring platform. The use of EduTrac and increased emphasis on collecting and using data effectively is due in large part to close collaboration between UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Sports throughout the design and development phases, which started in 2011.
- EduTrac is now operational in 37 districts throughout Uganda. It has roughly 10,000 registered reporters in more than 3,800 schools.
- All districts and associated sub-counties have schools that are actively using EduTrac, with several reaching response rates of above 70 per cent.
- Support, training and related activities have been implemented in all districts, with a strong emphasis on building the capacity of District Education Officers and colleagues at the Directorate of Education Standards.
- Internal exercises aimed at gauging the accuracy of the data revealed that several indicators, including violence, school management committee meetings, universal primary education, grant disbursement and curriculum progress, have accuracy rates of roughly 90 per cent.
- By 2020, all primary schools in Uganda will be using EduTrac to track attendance of teachers and pupils and other key information on education as part of an integrated dashboard that includes different data sources.
What this EduTrac is doing for our school should also go to other schools, so that the whole nation can access at least this benefit.
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What does EduTrac track?
- Pupil attendance for primary 3 and primary 6 classes
- Teacher and pupil enrolment
- Universal Primary Education grant disbursements
- Child abuse and violence
- School feeding
- School management committee meetings
- School latrines
- School water points
- Progress in literacy and English curriculum and
- Teacher attendance