For better outcomes: FICH takes Oyam schools to Apac 

(Last Updated On: 7 April 2024)

Oyam | As many rural schools in Lango sub-region continue to grapple with adaptation and poor performances, especially schools under Universal Primary Education (UPE), a local NGO has come in to push for the success of learners. 

“Better late than never” is a common phrase as Foundation for Inclusive Community Help (FICH) has come on board.

Recently, FICH facilitated a section of school heads, teachers and parents from seven UPE schools in Oyam district in an “Educational Learning Visit” to Abalokweri Primary School in Apac district.

Over the years, Abalokweri Primary School has maintained its performance in the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).

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In the 2023 PLE results released by UNEB, Abalokweri Primary School was ranked among the top schools that excelled. The school is situated in Abalokweri cell, Akokoro parish, Akokoro sub-county in Apac district.

Speaking to tndNews, Arazi Geoffrey, the headteacher of Abalokweri maintained that the school has held on to the great performance through cooperation among the learners, teachers and parents, motivation of teachers, giving out weekly tests to the learners and also giving the academic bursaries to the best performers.

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“Once we give academic bursaries to the best performers, the rest of the learners are motivated and inspired to also perform to their best. As for the worst performers, the remedy we give is guidance and counselling them instead of castigating them.”

Arazi says allocating time to the learners to have group discussions and class evaluation has greatly contributed to the academic performance of the learners over the past years, something he says has built self-esteem and confidence in reading and analysing the questions.

“We begin our lessons at 7 am till about 2 pm then encourage our learners to divide themselves into groups and have group work and discussions. Basically, it is a question and answer session for the learners with the teacher’s supervision,” he explains.

Headteacher Arazi Geoffrey (M). Photo by Nancy Atim.

Moses Aruki, chairperson of School Management Committee of Abalokweri says their achievement and great performance by learners is through the continuous motivation of the teachers, an aspect he says has improved on effectiveness and productivity of the teachers over the years.

Aruki further says that enough accommodation is assured to their teachers to ensure that the teachers are never late or destroyed.

“As an SMC body, we ensure that our teachers get accommodated around the school premises including the children studying in the same school to avoid frequent absenteeism.”

Meanwhile, the chairperson of Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) of Abalokweri, Francis Opeto Akaki who has now served for nine years, says transparency is their beacon of success. He reveals they give clear accountability for the money parents contribute to the PTA pool.

“The money we assume from the PTA pool through the parents’ contribution helps the school in putting structures within the school premises such as the latrines, and teachers’ quarters, among others in case the funds from the government delays.”

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Anthony Nam, the head teacher of Aloni Primary School describes the educational visit as an inspirational tool to the visiting team from Oyam district.

Nam cites that the learners are very active while the cooperation between the teachers, PTA and SMC is motivating.

“This school is in a very remote area but is beating all odds. We have learnt a lot and I believe we have a lot to change in regards to academic performance especially now that we have learnt.”

Nam who also doubles as the chairperson of headteachers’ association of Iceme sub-county narrates that limited psycho-social support, school environment and poor teaching methodology are among the very many factors that have hindered performance in some schools.

According to Nam, the biggest challenge in Oyam district is lower parental support and limited parental engagement in school activities.

“Many parents look at the school as belonging to some people but rather not theirs, like the parents of Abalokweri are holding their school at heart.”

He now calls for more efforts in sensitising parents to love and own schools where their children study given the fact that Aloni, as an example, has never gotten a first grade in the past five years although the majority of them attain second grade.

The Inspector of Schools, Oyam district Benson Ongom, highlights that Abalokweri was chosen to help the Oyam counterparts learn and later implement lessons learnt in their schools to see improvement.

“Oyam’s performance last year was not very bad. However, when you compare Abalokweri’s performance, they are far ahead of Oyam district. It is now a matter of the participants to go back and discover the loopholes and do the needful to see a desired change.”

Ongom equally calls upon the different stakeholders to come on board to ensure that they strengthen the monitoring and support supervision in all schools across Oyam district.

To the different NGOs and stakeholders, Ongom asks them to come together and have a common goal to see an improvement in the performance of learners instead of focusing on other factors that contribute little to education.

“We need to put aside our political, cultural and religious differences to nurture the young ones properly for them to attain a brighter future.”

The failure rate in Oyam district, according to Ongom, is due to limited support from parents, negligence from some teachers, political statements that frustrate teachers and domestic violence.

Domestic violence, he says is leading to child torture and child labour hence affecting their learning.

Inspector of Schools Oyam, Benson Ongom. Photo by Nancy Atim. 

In the 2023 PLE results, Oyam district recorded 164 grade-one candidates from private schools and a distressing 20% dropout rate.

What does FICH say?

Victoria Harriet Anyango is the program manager at FICH. She notes that the visit purposely aims at fostering collaboration and getting solutions to several challenges hindering academic success in UPE schools across Oyam district.

She says FICH initiated and facilitated this education visit with key objectives of learning factors that affect pupils’ performance, exploring strategies for improving learning outcomes for pupils in schools and to as well establishing stronger relationships and school partnerships between the seven schools in Oyam district and Abalokweri in Apac district.

“After this visit, we plan to have talks with the office of the district education department, secretary for education and Health for Oyam district local government to have a reflection meeting with all stakeholders of Oyam to help improve the performance of learners.”

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