Some months ago I was asked to be part of an advisory panel on a project to improve primary education in Uganda. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. What, I wondered, would I have to offer? The project, SESIL (Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Leadership) is funded by the Department for International Development and managed by Cambridge Education. The basic premise is that by introducing systems for collecting, analysing and using data to make decisions, school leaders will be better placed to improve children’s outcomes by the end of primary school. Before heading out to Uganda, I was briefed on some of the facts on the ground. One of biggest problems is teacher absenteeism. According to the World Bank’s Service Delivery Indicator Education Survey from 2013, “1 out of 4 (23.3 percent) teachers in…



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