Upc

Primary education: dropout rates worry UPC

(Last Updated On: 1 February 2024)

Kampala |Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party has called for more focus to see the quality and excellence in primary education. 

The political party in its address on January 31 congratulated pupils and parents after the release of the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results last week. 

While some parents and pupils are still celebrating the excellent results, UPC has asked parents to celebrate cautiously and handle those pupils who did not perform well carefully.

“It was not their wish and it has a psychological effect,” the head of media and communications of UPC, Faizo Muzeyi, said.

“As we strive to improve the quality of our education in the country, we need to conceptualize and realize the basic importance of primary education. This primary education offers the key foundation on which to build further education which the government ought to effectively put more emphasis on,” he added.

 If it is of good standards, then the projection of the future is more promising, according to Faizo, adding that this output, if well guided through secondary education, can give hope for better manpower desperately needed in Uganda to fit in the digital generation and global economy. 

“UPC has noted with concern the challenging situation of high dropout rates right from primary 1-7. For instance, according to Education Abstract 2016 for the Ministry of Education and Sports, a total of 1,798,323 new entrants were registered for primary 1 in 2016. At the end of the seven-year cycle of primary education, those who sat for PLE were only 749,254 according to UNEB statistics.

“By implication, 1,049,069 pupils never completed their primary education. This is a very appalling situation!”

If our children do not acquire primary education, Faizo says then their advancement in society is fundamentally limited or with no hope at all, which gives a challenge to a country to cater for a youthful population with no skill as a result of school dropout.

He noted that several studies for such school dropout point to a wider range of issues which include financial challenges, early child marriages, teenage pregnancies, child labour, especially for boy child, discrimination of persons with disabilities, and domestic violence which separates families leaving children victims of circumstances. 

“Such pupils lack parental care and self-esteem coupled with fending for themselves. To change this trend, it demands all stakeholders be very much focused and effective as regards delivering the desired quality education for our children as we build the firm foundation that will enable them to fit in this digitalized and competitive world.”

According to the UPC head of media and communications, the government should ensure that Universal Primary Education provides quality education service as opposed to just providing access to schools for our children. 

This, he states, requires setting a conducive learning environment for both our pupils and teachers which includes but is not limited to sufficient instructional materials, face lifting and constructing modern classroom blocks, recruitment of enough teachers and enhancing their welfare as well as support from both the parents and societies. 

“Schools should also ensure completing the syllabus on time. All this calls for persistent goodwill and clear focus. UPC is fully aware and acknowledges that the most important resource for Uganda is its people who must be brought up very well.

“We need a broader approach that promotes family and its core values, right policies that seek to make primary education totally free and compulsory as well as having comprehensive remedial measures targeting all dropouts,” Muzeyi appeals.

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