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In 2015, 75% of Ugandan students did not complete secondary education

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Parents still cannot generally afford secondary education

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Students who cannot participate in secondary education prefer to learn a trade in order to have the opportunity to earn an income sooner

The vocational trades school is an important component of the Centre. It allows individuals the ability to learn a trade or vocation so that they can earn an income within two years.

- Ahimbisibwe Daniel, TRC Program Manager

Why

Although secondary education is nationalized, lack of funds for school fees and distances between schools create barriers to education.
More than 80% of the population live in rural areas in Uganda - where education is either not accessible or unaffordable. Though rates of poverty are slowly declining in Uganda according to the World Bank, between 2005 and 2009, for every three Ugandans who improved their financial status, two lost that footing. This remains an issue for some Ugandans in accessing quality education. If they cannot send their children to secondary school, there are often few options to improve their future. The Ugandan Bureau of Statistics has revealed that the nation’s informal trades sector is growing faster than its formal sector. Currently, the informal trade sector accounts for 43% of the total economy, and 72% of Uganda’s working population is engaged in the agricultural sector. ICEF has analysed this, and TRC is filling a current gap in the rural community by providing skills and training to meet this demand.

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Story

The vocational school officially opened in June 2015 by offering classes in tailoring, carpentry, brick building, and agriculture. In 2017, our computer - tech program is launching.
The vocational school was started in a partnership between TRC and Schools Building Schools, a Canadian not-for-profit that focused on building educational capacity within existing international organizations. The vocational programs offered reflect current industries that young people enter as trades. In 2017 we are launching a computer - tech program, offering computer literacy, computer program education, and eventually website design and development.

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Impact

Each certificate program involves a two-year commitment. A certificate Level II is available and with this, a student can apply to university in Uganda.
Though the school is very new, it’s impacts could be a significant change agent for the community. Unlike Western programming, vocational certification can lead to higher education. Furthermore, a student can earn an income while planning future academic goals. Many students are also responsible for their families, so earned income is split between family responsibilities and personal planning. For example, one of our vocational students recently lost her parents, at the age of 15, she has become a child parent for her three siblings. When she graduates the tailoring program, she will begin to earn income to support her family. In 2016, Schools Building Schools sent an intern to TRC to do an impact evaluation and assessment of the vocational school. This vital information is helping us to streamline and cater the school offerings to the evolving local community needs and economy.

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