Whenever we visit Uphill Junior School we spend time observing classes at all levels of the school. Lessons are delivered in english, the current national examination language for the Primary Leaving Certificate which pupils sit at the end of Primary 7, with further explanations in local language if needed. However, due to the lack of sufficient curriculum materials, many of the lessons are delivered via the blackboard, with little opportunity for the children to practise their developing english skills. We wanted to help the Uphill pupils discover the joy of reading for themselves – it is very important for the children to be able to read for pleasure, as well as to access curriculum information, to enhance their understanding of the english language. Colourful picture books based on African life and folk tales have been sourced and are being taken out to the school each time we visit. It is hoped that a school library with a good range of books will be developed over time.
Where possible, books written by African authors, or commissioned by education charities working in East Africa have been sourced, along with fun stories based on familiar animals. The Uphill Trust has recently linked up with Red Earth Education, a charity working with primary schools in North East Uganda, to buy multiple copies of a book written specifically to develop early literacy skills in Ugandan schools.
In addition to the books that will be going out to Uphill Junior School in October, this collaboration has resulted in books being donated to teachers in a number of schools in North East Uganda. By working together, more children will benefit from discovering the joy of reading.