Survey on secondary school dropouts in Uganda launched

The lead research economist conducting secondary school dropout survey, Dr John Mayanja Bbale presenting the survey questioner during the inception workshop at Makerere university college of business & management sciences on March 18, 2020 to participants. Courtesy photo

What you need to know:

  • This, therefore, calls for a study on determinants of secondary school dropout and design policies with consultation with all stakeholders that shall enable retention of children in secondary school,” Dr Bbale explained.

  • Dr Bbale said based on the latest 15 sub-regions of Uganda as defined by UBOS and that the districts were selected based on the rate of secondary school dropouts.

The first ever-independent survey to establish reasons why students drop out of secondary schools has been launched.

The survey, which has been termed as Determinants of Secondary School Dropout in Uganda by the researchers Makerere University School of Economic Senior lecturer Dr John Mayanja Bbale covering 29 districts.

Speaking during the inception workshop marking the beginning of the survey at Makerere University College of Business and Management Sciences, Dr Bbale said specifically, the study: investigates the socio, economic and institutional determinants of secondary school dropouts in Uganda.

“The study will investigate the determinants and suggest solutions to secondary school dropouts with a view of proposing locally/district-based achievable policies that synergies national interventions. Using largely primary data; the study will examine the causes of secondary school dropout that are peculiar for each gender, location and region,” he said.

Dr Bbale said the study will also examine whether the factors that lead to secondary school dropout differ among gender and residence status of students, investigates the salient factors of secondary school dropout among the different communities and regions in Uganda, Establish Minimum class level below which one is supposed to attain before dropping out.

“Therefore, there is need to explore these causes/factors with the involvement of all stakeholders and in different communities so as to specify policy interventions that are community specific,” he said.

Dr Bbale said they are going to do study based on the population and the study will employ both qualitative and quantitative methods, revealing that questionnaire and interview guide have been developed to assist in data collection from all the respondents.

Survey data shall be obtained from students in schools and those that dropped out and from the parents in the selected areas. Data from Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Key informants shall be obtained from teachers, head teachers and local council chiefs.

“The population of the study comprises of secondary school dropouts in the last 10 years, current secondary school students, their parents and guardians, local council leaders (LC1), teachers, head teachers and the district education officers in the selected districts,” he said.

Dr Bbale said because of the importance attached to education and most importantly secondary school, the Ugandan government has embarked on several policies such as: introduction of USE, infrastructural development, among others to increase enrolment and accessibility of students in secondary schools.

“However, despite these efforts, secondary school dropout rates have been increasing. For instance, according to UNESCO, dropout rates for lower secondary in Uganda doubled from 18.2 per cent in 2013 to 37.2 per cent in 2016, compared with Rwanda which dropped from 34.4 per cent to 16.4 per cent over the same period,” he said.

Dr Bbale said according to Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB), pupils who passed Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) between 2002/2011 and joined secondary schools were 3.6 million. But out of these 1.2 million (33%) with more male than female did not complete Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).

To achieve Vision 2040, NDPII identifies five priority areas: three opportunity and two development fundamentals. The two development fundamentals are Infrastructure and Human Capital Development. The report argues that appropriate and adequate human capital facilitates an increase in productivity and technological growth hence an endogenous economic growth driver.

Dr Bbale said the report (NDPII) conceptualizes human capital development into six categories one of which is the 13-17 years of age, which is a focus of this study. The aim is that all children of this age group are retained in school with a special focus on the girl child till completion of secondary school.

“Further, the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2017-2020, was formulated cognizance of the UNSDG-4 target, which requires that by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality of primary and secondary education.

This, therefore, calls for a study on determinants of secondary school dropout and design policies with consultation with all stakeholders that shall enable retention of children in secondary school,” Dr Bbale explained.

Dr Bbale said based on the latest 15 sub-regions of Uganda as defined by UBOS and that the districts were selected based on the rate of secondary school dropouts.

He said in each sub-region with the exception of Kampala, 2 districts were selected as follows: Central 1: Rakai and Sembabule; Central 2: Buvuma and Mubende; Kampala: Kampala; Busoga: Buyende and Namayingo; Bukedi: Butaleja and Kibuku, Elgon: Kween and Manafwa; Teso: Bukedea and Serere.

The other districts are Karamoja: Kotido and Nakapiripiriti. Lango: Amolator and Oyam; Acholi: Amuru and Nwoya; West Nile: Maracha and Zombo; Bunyoro: Buliisa and Kakumiro; Toro: Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa; Kigezi: Kisoro and Rukiga; Ankole: Buhweju and Isingiro.

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