Encouraging Young Readers in Arua

Arua Public Secondary School is a large school in Arua, a city in Arua district in Northwestern Uganda. Uganda is one of the largest refugee-hosting nations in the world, and Arua’s proximity to South Sudan, the DRC and other neighboring country borders contributes to Arua Public Secondary School’s high population of student refugees. A little over 20 percent of its 2,175 students are refugees, and of these students, 170 are girls.

Obstacles That Challenge Access To Education

Arua Public Secondary School’s graduation rate is 20 percent. The social challenges linked to poverty and the affordability of school fees are the largest roadblock to graduation. Their school fees of 260,000 Ugandan shillings, or about 70 U.S. dollars per term, includes breakfast and lunch. Many of the student refugees live together in urban areas outside the refugee camps, and only return to the camps for their monthly food allotment. They’ll often sell part of their food allotment to cover school fees and rent. 


According to the school, many students from the refugee communities are highly motivated to do well in school, as they see it as an opportunity to have a better future. School fees are waived for the top students each term; however, if a student can’t pay their fees, they are not allowed entry to campus. 

Learning In Action At Arua Public Secondary School

The students who are able to attend classes have access to a large library filled with tables and benches for seating and has plenty of good lighting too. It contains government-issued textbooks, specialty subject textbooks (biology, physics, chemistry, etc.), and books donated by the African Library Project. If you were to visit this library, you would often find these two rooms full of students studying and reading. This library is a conducive environment for learning, especially for the students who do not have a quiet space to study at home.  


You Can Promote Literacy

If you are interested in improving libraries for students in Uganda, please reach out to us! You can check out our Volunteer page for more information. 

About This Case Study Series

 Welcome to our Ugandan Case Study Series featuring 10 libraries recently visited by ALP Founder Chris Bradshaw and ALP Container Manager Tracy Gaestel. Chris and Tracy traveled to Uganda to meet with our partners at enjuba and First Foundation Education Trust. Enjoy this deeper dive into some of our Ugandan libraries.

 Collected on June 12, 2023