Education Fact Sheet

Minister of Education & Sports: Hon. Mrs Jessica Alupo Epel


Education Sector Policy and Institutional Framework

The current policy framework of Education and Sports Sector is based on the Government White Paper on Education (GWP 1992) and complemented by the Education and Sports Policy as well as international commitments on education (particularly MDGs and Education for all Goals). It also includes specific policies on key cross-cutting issues that influence education service delivery. Key cross cutting issues in education service delivery includes School Inspection, HIV&AIDS, Gender, Guidance and Counselling, Special Needs Education).

The above Policy framework is mainly implemented through the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP 2007-2015), annual Ministerial Policy Statements and sub-sectoral strategic plans (particularly for Secondary Education and BTVET – Skilling Uganda) as well as flagship programmes which currently include Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE). Policy implementation is also boosted annually by off-budget support initiatives (from Education Development partners). These initiatives are usually in the areas of Early Childhood Development (Pre-primary), Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), Physical Education and Sports, HIV&AIDS, Gender, Special Needs Education; and Guidance & Counselling.


Education System: 7-4-2

Uganda’s current structure of education system is a four-tier model, and it has been in existence since the publication of the Castle Commission report (1963). It consists of seven years of primary education, followed by a four-year cycle of lower secondary, a two-year cycle of upper secondary (7-4-2), after which there is two to five years of tertiary education.  There is also a two-year pre- primary stage of education attended by three to five year olds before joining primary school. The education structure and the opportunities for progression have been shown in the table below.

The structure of Uganda’s education system

Education level



Progress opportunities

Pre- Primary

2 Years


1. Primary Education

Primary Education

7 Years

Primary Leaving Examination (PLE)

1. Lower Secondary (O’ Level)
2. Technical school

Lower Secondary
(Ordinary Level)

4 Years

Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE)

1. Upper Secondary (A’ Level)
2. Primary Teachers College
3. Technical Institute
4. Other Departmental Training Institutes.

Technical School

3 Years


1. Technical Institute

Upper Secondary
(Advanced Level)

2 Years

Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE)

1. University
2. Uganda College Of Commerce
3. National Teachers College
4. Uganda Technical College
5. Other Departmental Training Institutes

Primary Teachers College

 2 Years


1. National Teachers College

Technical Institute

 2 Years


1. Uganda Technical College

Uganda College of Commerce

2/3 Years


1. University

National Teachers College

2 Years


1. University

Uganda Technical College

2 Years


1. University


3/5 Years


1. Post Graduate Studies

Note: The Examining Body is Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB).
Source: Ministry of Education and Sports (Government White Paper on Education).

Primary education

In 1999 there were 6 million pupils receiving primary education, compared to only 2 million in 1986. Numbers received a boost in 1997 when free primary education was made available for four children per family. Some of the primary school graduates go on to pursue post primary education.

Post-primary education

This takes on the following forms;

Secondary education

Lower secondary consists of 4 years of schooling at the end of which students Ordinary-level exams (O-level) in at least 8 subjects. Upper secondary consists of 2 years of schooling at the end of which students sit Advanced-level exams (A-level) in at least 3 subjects.

Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Two and Three-year technical schools and Institutions provide an alternative to post primary education. Alternatives for graduates from lower secondary school include: 3 year Technical schools, 2 year Technical institutes; 2 year Primary Teacher Colleges (PTC); Department Training Colleges (DTCs), and Vocational schools.

Higher Education

Higher education in Uganda is composed of universities, national teachers colleges, colleges of commerce, technical colleges, training institutions, and other tertiary institutions.