Cartier Philanthropy - Transforming secondary education in Uganda

Transforming secondary education in Uganda


Educate! is transforming secondary education in Uganda by implementing a practical, experience-based learning model that teaches students the leadership, communication and entrepreneurship skills they need to maximize their chances of finding a job in a country where youth unemployment runs at 62%. We supported Educate! to roll its curriculum out to 66 extremely low-resource schools in eastern Uganda, reaching 6,500 students.

Focus area
Access to Basic Services

Results achieved

Uganda has the world’s youngest population coupled with a youth unemployment rate of 62%. With the majority of young people lacking the practical skills required by the formal job market, the informal sector offers the greatest opportunities for job creation.

Since 2009, Educate! has been working to transform secondary education in Uganda and to improve students’ work-readiness by developing and scaling a practical, experience-based learning model. In Educate!’s intensive training programme, mentors teach students core skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, problem-solving, confidence, public speaking and resource identification and mobilization, while also encouraging them to take leadership roles and establish small businesses. The programme curriculum comprises 22 sessions, each 80 minutes long, delivered over two school years.

Between 2016 and 2018, we supported Educate! to roll its programme out to 66 extremely low-resource schools in eastern Uganda.

  • The 6,500 students enrolled in Educate!’s leadership and entrepreneurship classes (with a near-zero attrition rate) gained key hard and soft skills, knowledge that they transferred to at least two further students each.
  • In every school, the Educate! students and their peers established a Student Business Club to apply and practice their entrepreneurial skills. The 80 Club members involved in each of the 66 clubs were encouraged to conceive and start up profitable innovative small-businesses, mostly selling products made from easily-obtained local materials (wood, paper, banana leaves and sugar cane)..
  • 25 youth mentors were trained to coach students through the Educate! programme and 110 teachers from Educate! partner schools took part in Skills Lab sessions to learn how to use experience-based interactive teaching methods and guide students.

Educate! considers state education reform the most cost-effective way to achieve large-scale impact. Educate! provided technical advisory and implementation support to the Uganda Ministry of Education to integrate a more practical entrepreneurship curriculum in the national curriculum and formalise teacher certification in skills-based pedagogy. A new Teacher Training Policy is currently awaiting parliamentary approval.

Research conducted on Educate!’s impact since 2016 estimates that Educate!’s students earn twice as much as the average student and are 50% more likely to be employed after completion of secondary school. Female Educate! participants benefit even more, with a 244% increase in annual income and a 113% increase in likelihood of employment.