Education sector in Uganda

The Education sector in Uganda boasts of being the hub of formal education given the high influx of foreign students from the east African regions.

Market overview

The Education sector in Uganda accounts for about 5% of the country’s GDP.

Uganda boasts of being the hub of formal education given the high influx of foreign students from the regions. It consists of primary level education, secondary level, tertiary and vocational level education. There has been tremendous growth in investment in the education sector as a result of Government’s deliberate effort to liberalize the economy and further creating a favourable environment thereby encouraging private sector investment. The government retains the regulatory and supervisory function as well as curriculum development.

There are currently, 32 universities in Uganda all accounting for a student population of about 110,000, turning out over 30,000 graduates annually. Makerere University, ranked among the top five universities in Africa, accounts for over 30% of this total. There are also technical and commercial business colleges that enrol another 20,000 students studying various disciplines, some of particular relevance to the needs and development of the private sector.

International Studies

At all the levels of education there is an increase in the number of schools offering international curricula in the country. The ever-increasing population of foreign nationals, expatriates, diplomats and foreign workers in the country provides a huge market for these schools. In addition, the high-class Ugandan population is increasingly opting for international education for their children in these institutions.

Uganda has some of the best schools accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges with examination centres for popular Cambridge Examinations i.e. IGCSE and GCSE.

Uganda enjoys a comparative advantage in East Africa due to good curriculum, lower tuition and student maintenance costs, and English being the main language of instruction. This has led to an influx of students from the East African region including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and South Sudan. There are opportunities on skills based education other than only formal education that can feed into other sectors like manufacturing, tourism etc and take advantage of the EAC market.

Key Facts about Uganda’s Educational Sector

  • 27 private universities, 5 public universities

  • 6-8 million gross enrolment in primary schools

  • 200,000 students enrol in higher education annually

  • 80% of students paying their own fees

  • Public Universities have approx 70% of the student population

  • Decreasing numbers of government scholarships

  • Fees paid range from $1000 to $3000 over 3 years

  • Higher Education providing $40 million contribution to GDP in 2010 (up from $30 million in 2009)

  • Only 28% of students in Higher institutions of learning are studying science and technology

Key opportunities

  • Provision of secondary education – The absorption capacity for post-primary / secondary education only allows for less than half the number of students leaving primary education.

  • Provision of technical and vocational education – demand for technical skills training in industry-related skills due to the country’s industrial growth. The newly developed oil and gas sector presents opportunities for technical and vocational training that has been non-existent in the country.

  • Provision of in-service specialized training programmes to redress the imbalance of availability of unskilled or semi-skilled labour versus managerial and technical experts.

  • Provision of agricultural skills and development education –Opportunities exist for specialized skills training at various levels of the industry chain in fields of crop and animal husbandry, land management, horticulture, artificial insemination, fish farming, silkworm rearing and agricultural mechanization.

  • Provision of managerial skills development education – Potential areas to be targeted include project planning and management, human resource management, small business management, finance and accounting, hotel management etc.

  • Research and provision of innovative ways of education

  • Creating links between UK and Uganda Universities to provide UK education in Uganda – To bring UK qualifications/accreditation closer

  • E-learning

  • Professional development for Teachers

  • Provision of soft skills for professionals and creating networking forums

  • Social Enterprise

  • Setting up international schools

Latest export opportunities Education and Training

Latest export opportunities in Uganda

Getting into the market

  • Uganda’s incentive package for the education sector provides generous capital recovery terms. Education services are not subject to VAT.

Qualifying education services under the VAT Statute include: –

a) A pre-primary, primary or secondary school;

b) A technical college or university;

c) An institution established for the promotion of adult education,

Vocational training, technical education, or the education or training of physically or mentally handicapped persons.

  • Education materials such as textbooks and laboratory equipment are zero-rated, which means that investors in the education sector can claim for a refund from Government of any VAT that they pay on inputs (items purchased as Education materials).

  • To encourage interest in ICT and in computer, government has removed all forms of taxes on computers to make them affordable to users in the country. For other general incentives you may find them are:

More about doing business in Uganda


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Racheal Tukamunbona, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: [email protected]

  • Eric Olanya, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda . Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: [email protected]

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Education and Training sector

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Education & Training
Countries: Uganda
WordPress PopUp Plugin Export Action Plan