National exam success shows poverty is not correlated to performance

27 January 2020

The Ugandan Government have released the 2019 national Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) results revealing that – for the third consecutive year – Bridge pupils have outperformed the national average with those from the most impoverished Ugandan regions and districts excelling.

In the Eastern region, the most impoverished area of the country –  67% of children at Bridge achieved marks in the sought after division 1 and 2 categories whereas only 43% of Ugandan children in the region achieved scores in these divisions. Overall, 57% of Bridge’s top performers, achieving division 1 scores, came from the eastern region. The story is the same, if not even more impressive, in the Northern region; a similarly poor region, where 78% of Bridge pupils achieved scored division 1 or 2 scores, compared to only 46% of children nationally.

On a district level the results continue to indicate that poverty has no correlation to PLE performance at Bridge. Bridge’s best performing boys and girls – with 10 and 11 aggregate respectively – came from Mayuge,  Iganga and Wakiso. Whereas districts such as Arua, Bugiri, Kiboga and Pallisa, produced some of the school network’s best division 2 scores. In some areas whole school of pupils excelled with 100% of Bridge pupils from Mayuge achieving division 1 or 2 scores. In Arua, 100% of boys and in Bugiri, 100% of girls achieved these marks.

Alongside the notable results from some of Uganda’s poorest communities, the data shows that notably the length of time that a child spends in a Bridge school has a significant impact on their performance. In 2019,  80% of pupils who had been at Bridge for five or more years achieved marks in the highest 2 divisions; compared to only 57% nationally.

Additionally, 100% of boys who studied in Bridge for five or more years scored in the top 2 divisions; compared to just 60.3% achieving division 1 or 2 nationally.

Other data includes:

  • Overall 94% of Bridge pupils’ passed the exam, compared to 90% nationally.
  • Overall 65% of Bridge pupils’ scored in division 1 or 2, compared to 57% nationally.
  • 74% of Bridge schools had a 100% pass rate.
  • The number of girls achieving division 1 scores trebled from the previous year with two thirds coming from the eastern region – the most impoverished region in the country.

In the Eastern region’s Mayuge District, 14-year-old Ashiraf Muguya scored 10 aggregate, placing him in division 1.  Speaking about his results, Ashiraf said: “I am so so happy. I studied  hard and had lots of help from my teachers who never gave up on me. My mother is overjoyed because of my results. I want to be a doctor when I finish school and maybe even build my own hospital one day. Now it’s possible and I would never have achieved this without Bridge in my village.”

Ashiraf’s mother who is a single parent couldn’t help but break down with tears of joy saying: “I am celebrating and dancing because my son has passed with such high marks. My community are dancing with me – It is proud making. I am thankful that now he has the possibility to leave the village  and make a different life in the future.”

For many Bridge pupils, a good education is their only path to a better future. Success in the PLE means that they will potentially be able to go onto good secondary schools and opportunities unavailable to many in their communities.

Commenting on the results, Christine Apiot, Acting Country Director for Bridge Schools, said, “Knowing that we are supporting children to excel in some of our country’s most impoverished areas inspires those working at Bridge each and every day. Now, with three years of successful results we are confident that what we are doing in Uganda is working. A good education will give children the opportunity to change their future and hopefully the future of the community – every child deserves that.

Ms Apiot also attributed the success to the ongoing support from the government of Uganda, saying, “We are grateful to the Ministry of Education and Sports for the support and encouragement that they extended to us throughout the academic year. We believe that their support and desire to improve outcomes for Uganda’s children will benefit the whole nation.”

The PLE results are the latest in a string of independent results showing improved outcomes for children in Bridge run or supported schools. The results released by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) are further evidence of the strong performance of Bridge schools. They build on the 2017 and 2018 exam results; which enabled Bridge graduates to join top secondary schools including Nabisunsa Girls, Tororo Girls and Busoga College Mwiri.



For more information, please contact:

Solomon Serwanjja

Public Relations Manager



Notes to Editors:

Interviews, photos and case studies available on request.

The PLE Exam took place in November 2019. The results were released on the 17th January 2020 by the Minister for Education.

Bridge has been operating in Uganda, since 2015 and educates thousands of children across the country


The Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) are the compulsory national exams that all Ugandan pupils take at the end of Primary Seven.  Independently administered by the Uganda National Examinations Board, PLE is a high stakes standardized exam that sifts children for secondary schools.  The mark is entirely based on exam performance and does not comprise any teacher assessments or coursework. Those who achieve high grades are better placed to be able to access secondary level education in Uganda.

  • Pupils who pass in division 1,2 and 3 scoring 28 aggregate – with a credit in english and maths – qualify for secondary school education.
  • This year, 293  Bridge pupils sat for the Primary Leaving Examinations: 162 girls and 131 boys.
  • Bridge is proud to teach the Ugandan curriculum and inspire them to be strong, confident Ugandan citizens. There is no greater testimony to this than the good PLE results now scored over three consecutive years.


This is the third year that Bridge pupils have sat the National Government’s PLE. More information on the 2017  and 2018 PLE results can be found here



The Uganda PLE results follow Bridge learning gains in other countries:

  • For the fifth consecutive year Bridge pupils in Kenya outperformed the national average in the KCPE. Read more here
  • A DFID report in Nigeria which showed equity of learning in Bridge schools, here
  • Liberia RCT, which showed that children in Bridge run schools achieved 2.5 more years of learning than their peers, here


About Bridge

Bridge believes every child has the right to high quality education and works in partnership with governments, communities, parents and teachers to ensure access to quality education. Bridge has served more than 750,000 children to date, in over 1,500 schools.

Bridge leverages in-depth teacher training and support, advanced lesson plans and wireless technology to provide pupils with a meaningful and life-changing education. Globally, there is an education crisis. Around 600 million children are either not in school at all, or in school and not learning. Bridge is committed to helping tackle this through a data driven, evidence based approach that delivers strong schools and a great education for all.

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