Jinja. An analysis of last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) indicates that schools from eastern Uganda, particularly those in Busoga sub-region, performed poorly.
According to educationists, the poor results by schools in the cited region, in any case, is not even a surprise. This, they say, has been the case over the years.
Primary schools in six of the 10 districts in Busoga sub-region failed miserably. Apart from Jinja District that competed favourably, the other three recorded nearly below average performance.
Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) results released last week indicate that Namutumba, Iganga, Kaliro, Mayuge, Luuka and Buyende districts were among the worst performing districts in the entire country, with majority of candidates failing flat.
In an interview with Daily Monitor last week , the Luuka District education officer, Mr Moses Galandi, said one of the main causes of the poor performance was absenteeism of both teachers and pupils.
“Over the years, the performance in Luuka District has kept declining. In 2015, we got 150 first grades and in 2016 we had 144, this year it could drop further. This is because most pupils prefer to work in the sugar cane field instead of being in class,” Mr Galandi said.
He added: “We have now decided to only pay teachers who report to work frequently. We hope this will solve the problem of absenteeism.”
Mr Galandi said the poor learning environment also contributed to the bad performance. He said many pupils lack proper learning structures where by some pupils sit on the ground or stones, while others study under trees. This he said, when the weather is bad, there are no classes since the pupils have nowhere to study from.
He suggested change in policy, mostly the automatic promotion of pupils, which he said compromises performance.
When contacted last week, the Buyende District education officer, Mr Difon Bwire, said: “We have many private schools that do not have qualified teachers. Recently, we closed about 125 private primary schools in the district whose facilities were wanting.”
In his assessment, the Namutumba District education officer, Mr Steven Magoma, believes that failure by the parents to provide scholastic materials as well as meals to the pupils, particularly during lunch time, contributed largely to the poor performance in the region.
However, the Kaliro education officer, Mr Peterson Basalirwa, attributed the poor performance to evil spirits that attacked pupils at the beginning of the second term.