The two-week internship at FHI360 in Washington, D.C. was short but fulfilling. As I look back on it, my mind is filled with uplifting memories. I made the right decision...
I got a marvelous opportunity to conduct internship in the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) in Uganda, for six weeks from August 25th to October 3rd, 2014. I was attached to the Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation (SME) division under the Education Planning and Policy Analysis (EPPA) Department under the supervision of Mr. Joseph Eilor who is an Assistant Commissioner and head of the SME division. My objective for the internship was to know Uganda’s education situation and to get experience working in Ministry in developing country. For the first two weeks I worked with SME division, however, because my research focus is in the relationship between school feeding program and students learning outcomes, Iwas re-assigned to a Project Management Unit (PMU) working jointly with World Food Programme (WFP) to manage the school feeding program. During the internship I had two main activities all related with collecting data about my research topic: “The impact of school feeding programme on pupils’ performance in Uganda”
The first activity was that of collecting secondary data from Education Management Information System (EMIS) data base and other sources within the MoES. I extensively reviewed documents about impact evaluation related to school feeding and other school related information collected by District Education Officers (DEOs). Through this activity I was able to improve my research skills, especially collecting secondary data. Moreover, I was able to understand school feeding program in Uganda as well as how to monitor and improve school feeding project.
The second activity I implemented was that of visiting public primary schools in Kampala and Tororo districts. I was able to visit 2 schools in Kampala and 4 schools in Tororo and used semi-structured questionnaire to interview teachers and pupils. In addition I assisted in collecting data on pupils’ characteristics, including but not limited to enrollment and attendance, dropout. This information was required by the District Education Officers (DEOs) for preparing school monitoring. By taking part in school visits, I was able to gather data that helped me to prepare for my presentation at the 15th International Conference on Education Research, held in Seoul National University in Korea and writing master’s thesis.
It was my first time to conduct internship in developing country and it was a very rewarding experience both in terms of my academic research and gaining firsthand experience about education development successes and challenges. Through this internship, I could discuss directly with officers in MoES and obtain critical advices and valuable data from them. Especially, it was motivating for being able to get advice on how to write my research and suggesting possible policy changes in Uganda’s education. Moreover, I met many people from international aid organizations and it was very good opportunity not only to improve my research, but also to rethink my career plan. Before this internship opportunity I had struggled many times to collect quality data (primary and secondary) and analyze it because of my very limited knowledge about analytical skills.
Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to my academic supervisor, Prof. Keiichi Ogawa, who gave me this rare and unique internship opportunity. I wish to say thanks to Mr. Joseph Eilor for accepting me as an intern, for supervising me and for the warmest supports. I also appreciate the help and support I received from all the staffs at MoES during my stay in Uganda.