Sironko Schools Facing Very High Drop Out Rates

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Over the past seven years, 13,000-plus children have dropped out of school in Sironko district.
Data from the Sironko education office indicates that in 2002, 20,850 children were enrolled for primary one in the district. Last year only 7,000 of these children were still in school to register for the Primary Leaving Examinations.
Sarah Bugoshe, the Sironko District Education Officer, says a large number of children drop out of school to work as domestic servants or to offer cheap labor on sugarcane and banana plantations. The drop outs are highest in the mountainous areas of Sironko where monitoring and assessment of school performance is low.
Bugoshe says persistent teacher absenteeism is another major reason for the high school drop outs. She says students are not motivated to go to school if their teachers set a bad example for attendance.
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In addition to suffering high drop out rates, Sironko also had a high number of candidates missing the Primary Leaving Examinations this year. More than 200 children who registered for this year's exams did not sit for them.
The high drop out rates have prompted some local authorities to pass bylaws forcing parents to keep their children in school.
Michael Kimeke, the LC3 chairperson of Butegeni, says his sub-county has passed a bylaw that will levy high fines on parents whose children habitually miss school. The parents will also be charged with child neglect.