Researching the politics of development



Inclusion as political mobilisation: The political economy of quality education initiatives in Uganda

Working paper 65

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Anne Mette Kjær and Nansozi K. Muwanga
Uganda has been successful in broadening access to education. However, this achievement has been undermined by low literacy and numeracy levels and high drop-out rates. A political settlement perspective sheds light on the politics of education reforms. We find that there are weak political drives to implement quality-enhancing policies, first, because the formal and informal governance arrangements allow for a system of decentralised rent management that serves to appease lower-level factions. Secondly, the NRM government is caught in the rhetoric of allowing free education in an appeal to rural constituencies. Finally, there is relatively weak pressure to push through education quality-enhancing reforms, be it from civil society in general, powerful interest groups, or parliament. At the local level, we find that how a school is situated within local elite networks is important in explaining local-level variance in the quality of government primary school performance.