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The world has significantly improved access to primary education in the last two decades:
primary enrollment rates in developing countries reached 91%,
school age kids out of school halved, and
gender parity dramatically improved.
This is no small feat.
However, quality remains unacceptably poor in many low-income countries,
squandering a devastating amount of human potential in our increasingly global world.
If this status quo continues, we all lose.
Africa is one of the worst affected regions.
Of the 97 million children who enter school in Sub-Saharan Africa,
over one third (37 million) will reach adolescence unable to read, write, multiply, or divide.
This is particularly urgent because, Africa is home to 1.3 billion people (17% of the world),
and is expected to reach 2.5 billion people by 2050.
In 1997, Uganda was one of the first countries to implement universal primary education,
increasing enrollment 70% in one year from 3.1 million to 5.3 million students,
and to 8.5 million by 2013.
We are also one of the youngest countries in the world;
half of our population is below age 15.
Despite this progress,
less than half of 12 year olds are literate (41%) or numerate (45%), and
just over half of students who start primary school complete it (53%).