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DEO's Blame Parents for Poor Academic Performance in Busoga :: Uganda Radionetwork
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DEO's Blame Parents for Poor Academic Performance in Busoga

A report released recently by the Uganda National Examinations Board attributed the poor performance in the region to the high rate of teacher and pupil absenteeism, lack of meals at schools and the pupils inability to read and understand examination questions.
20 Apr 2018 14:37
Kagoda writes in the soil as his teacher looks on

Audio 4

Musa Kagoda, a primary five pupil at Outspan Primary School turns up for school every day albeit without scholastic materials. The open space at the front of the school structures that is used as a playground by his classmates is what he uses as a book.

"He has been coming to school without books. So I supervise his work outside class as his friends work within the classroom,” Agnes Nabirye, Kagoda's teacher told our reporter in an interview.

According to education officials in Busoga region, pupils like Kagoda are let down by their parent's failure to provide basic scholastic materials like books and a meal which would make school time enjoyable to the learners. In Kagoda's situation, learning becomes unrealistic and school time comes as a burden.

A report released recently by the Uganda National Examinations Board attributed the poor performance in the region to the high rate of teacher and pupil absenteeism, lack of meals at schools and the pupil's inability to read and understand examination questions.

The education officials that URN spoke to were in agreement with the findings of the report. Kamuli district Inspector of Schools Thomas Badaaza says that the findings are linked to the fact that parents in the region have lost interest and decided to become spectators in the education of their children.

 

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Badaaza explains that the laxity by the parents started with the introduction of Universal Primary Education in 1997. "Today most parents in rural areas believe that since UPE was introduced, it is the duty of government to educate their children and the sad thing is even political leaders have sat back and let them think like that."

Mayuge District Education Officer William Nadiope says that the performance is poor because there are parents who support their children to register for national exams but never push them to attend class. Instead, they remain home to work and later appear to sit for the exams.

 

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Nadiope adds that the several sensitization campaigns that have been carried out in the district have been rendered useless since some parents believe that education is not important.

"We carry out campaigns but some parents will boldly tell you that education is not important because they did not go to school yet they own sugarcane plantations. And as such are not willing to invest in the educating their children."

Swaib Sekimuli Magumba, the Iganga District Inspector of Schools says that in the majority of the schools in Iganga, parents are not responsible enough to even provide scholastic materials or meals for their children.

 

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Iganga district has over 200 primary schools. However, only 40 percent of the children in the district are able to access at least one meal at school while the rest go hungry.

In the district, pupils in both government-aided and private schools are encouraged to pay for school meals. In some urban schools in the district, children pay for porridge at break time and posho accompanied by beans for lunch. The children pay between 20,000 to 30,000 Shillings depending on whether they will have a meal at both break and lunch.

Schools in a rural part of the district encourage parents to carry three kilograms of maize grain with 1,000 Shillings to carry out the milling of the maize for the entire school term.

According to the examination body' statistics, six out of the 10 districts that make up Busoga region of have had the highest number of pupils scoring zero at PLE year after year. In the past five years, the districts of Namutumba, Iganga, Kaliro, Mayuge, Luuka, Bugiri, Kamuli and Buyende have been listed among the worst performing districts in the country.

According to a 2016 UWEZO Learning Outcome report, learning outcomes nationally in the country is low. Only three out of 10 pupils between Primary three and seven are able to read a primary two English Story and carry out long division.

Jinja District Education Officer Paul Baliraine says that education in Busoga is struggling because unlike in other regions where parents have heavily invested in the education of their children in government-aided schools, the ones in Busoga care less.

 

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Budala Waiswa, a parent of a child in Primary Six pupil at Bute Primary School in Mayuge district says that at times he finds it hard to afford scholastic materials for his daughter. "At the schools, they ask for all sorts of things like school uniforms and food and at times our children are sent back home when they do not have them."

Waiswa says that he prioritizes as a parent. This term being the beginning of a school year, he had to buy schools uniforms and pay for food. As a result, he did not have any more money left over for books and pencils. His daughter has had to resort to fetching water for people to be able to afford scholastic materials.

However, Dr Tony C. Mukasa Lusambu, the Assistant Commissioner for Primary Education says that the problem of poor performances in Busoga region cannot be tied down to one reason. He points out teacher absenteeism, poor parenting, polygamy, deforestation, early marriages and unstable leadership in the region.

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