chapter  9
Sweet and bitter places: the politics of schoolchildren’s orientation in rural Uganda
ByLOTTE MEINERT
Pages 18

The educational policies of the Ugandan state and its international donors are increasingly promoting the ruralisation of primary education with a view to equipping children with the skills relevant to sustainable, agriculturebased rural livelihoods. Faced with rural poverty and population pressure, policy-makers want to prepare children, through schooling, to improve rural living conditions and avoid the large-scale urbanisation that often goes along with urban poverty in sprawling slum areas in developing countries. On the other hand, rural children hope that going to school will eventually remove them from dependence on agriculture and thus improve their social status and life chances. In school, children learn to see themselves as citizens of a nation state and an international community, and some start longing to move away from their locality, its limitations and its horizons. Even though only a few families and children actually experience other family members enjoying urban success, urban places often come to symbolise children’s hopes for the future and for another social status.