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Out of Africa

Too many African schools worship the idea of education but then teach nothing useful. A school in rural Uganda points the way to a brighter future

By Richard Dowden   February 2007

Uganda’s education pyramid

If you ask Africans what they want for their children, they reply: education. Most of their wealth and savings go to paying school fees. Britain is committed to giving millions of pounds to African governments so they can provide free primary education. You can’t argue with that. Education—especially of girls—is an unqualified good. But as with so many things in Africa, scratch the surface and the reality is different.

I recently visited schools in Uganda, where Aids deaths and family breakdown have created huge numbers of orphans, and drop-out rates are high because of school fees,…

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