I had the opportunity to conduct my internship at the Centre of Education for Research and Training (CERT) at the University of Malawi from the 14th of July to the...
I got an opportunity to conduct internship in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Uganda from July 16 to October 10, 2014, and I was attached to the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation. Under the supervision of Dr. Albert Byamugisha, who is a Commissioner for Monitoring and Evaluation, I had three main activities: (1) assist policy research being conducted by education experts in OPM; (2) participate in the various activities related to the implementation of education projects by OPM or other International Aid Agencies; (3) conduct analysis using education database in Uganda and draft a report about Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy.
For the first activity, I assisted in analyzing the performance of the education sector during the writing of the Government Annual Performance Report (GAPR) Financial Year (FY) 2013-2014. I closely worked with the department to collect secondary data and reviewed related documents on the performance of all sub-sectors in education sector for the past 5 years. I conducted trend analyses and drew policy implications which would be highlighted in GAPR for FY 2013-2014. The document will be discussed at a retreat of cabinet ministers in November 2014 and will be on the website (http://www.opm.go.ug/) for public use and reference.
For the second activity, I joined the monitoring and evaluation activities by RTI International’s project, Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP), sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). I joined their support supervision for a primary school in Wakiso district and attended a debriefing meeting held at the District Education Office.
For the third activity, I collected required information and data, and drafted a report with the preliminary findings to pursue my doctoral research about the effects of private financing under the UPE policy in Uganda. To begin with, I conducted several informational interviews with the officials in the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and experts in International Aid Agencies which are implementing key education development projects in Uganda. In MoES, I conducted interview with high-level education officials, including Dr. Yusuf K. Nsubuga, Director for Basic and Secondary Education, and Dr. Daniel Nkaada, Commissioner for Pre-Primary and Primary Education. I also conducted interviews with the experts, including Dr. Omala Saint Kizito, a Lead Statistician with Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB).
In addition, I was able to get opinions about my research topic from leading experts working with key education projects in International Aid Agencies in Uganda, including Dr. Innocent Mulindwa Najjumba, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank, Uganda Country Office, Dr. Tracy Brunette, Director for Monitoring and Evaluation at USAID/Uganda SHRP project office and Representatives from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Uganda Office. Moreover, I also conducted interviews with staff from Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU).
During secondary data collection, I gathered data about school characteristics from Education Management Information System (EMIS) in MoES and data about school-level academic performance in Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) from UNEB. Beyond the secondary data collection and analyses, I conducted field work to collect primary data by visiting 10 public and 10 private primary schools. In each sampled school, I conducted semi-structured interviews with a head teacher, two class teachers and one member of School Management Committee. The questions were mainly about school finance and the stakeholders’ perceptions about it.
Overall, internship at OPM in Uganda was very rewarding. I could learn several practical skills and knowledge crucial in conducting social surveys through not only collecting data and conducting analysis in Kampala but also by having practical experience in the field. Through joining SHRP’s assessment activity, I could have experience of working as part of a professional project team. It was also a good experience to see the actual teaching and learning process by checking the lesson plan and observe classes in Ugandan primary schools. Through the field work experience with the research assistances, I could go through all the basic processes required to conduct social survey and learn several important points in efficiently collecting data within a limited time and budget.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my academic adviser, Professor Keiichi Ogawa, who gave me this precious internship opportunity and my supervisor in OPM, Dr. Albert Byamugisha, who extended me warm support through the whole period of my internship. My special thanks also go to Mr. Richard Kabagambe-Tureebe, who provided me with guidance and instructions on daily basis, and all the staff in Monitoring and Evaluation Department of OPM. I also would like to give my profound thanks to Dr. James Wokadala, a lecturer in Makerere University, Mr. Jeje Moses Okurut, a doctoral student in Kobe University, my research assistants, Mr. Disan Mwijukye, Mr. Ocitti David Okech, Pr. Charles Onyango and Mr. Robert Masaba and everyone who kindly gave me his or her precious time during my survey.