The Observer (Kampala) Polly Kamukama 11 December 2011 [HR][/HR] Uganda's pupils have one of the worst reading cultures in Africa. And when it comes to mathematics, the performance is equally dismal, according to a study, whose findings were first published in a Kenyan newspaper. Citing a survey carried out in 15 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa, The Daily Nation pointed out that Mauritius was the best performer in mathematics, while Tanzania had better reading skills. Kenya was ranked second in maths while Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, Swaziland and Kenya topped reading in that order. Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Lesotho performed poorly in maths while Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho and Mozambique were the poorest in reading. Uganda came last in both subjects. The study, carried out by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality, drew from a sample of about 5,000 pupils from close to 200 schools. The respondents were taken through basic mathematics and reading tasks. The rankings are a reflection of government ineffective interventions to uplift education standards, and point to a need for a shift in ideology and strategy. "The quality of education in the 15 countries is still poor despite the cross-regional approaches that the governments have taken to improve standards," the consortium's regional boss Demus Makuwa was quoted saying. According to The Daily Nation, the report acknowledged that although countries in the regional bloc had striven to uphold the EFA and MDGs programmes, governments still need to do a lot about the quality of education given to children. However, it was reported of how children and teachers from all countries, particularly from Uganda, exhibited a high level of knowledge about the AIDS prevalence.