The sad reaction to the news that he had scored aggregate 29 in last year's Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) said it all. Robert Wangota, 13 was distraught.
“I let myself and my parents down. I had expected to perform well and my parents had high hopes in me,” Wangota, who hails from Bubetsye village in Nyondo sub-county, Mbale district in Eastern Uganda, said plaintively.
Wangota had expected better grades having scored aggregate 11 in the mock examinations. He sat his exams at Nyondo Primary School.
Wangota was however not the only pupil from the Eastern region of Uganda who underperformed.
Thousands of pupils from the districts of Mbale and Bududa performed poorly in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations, which were released in January.
Of the 7,260 pupils from Mbale district who sat the 2017 PLE examinations, 1,327 failed; which is 18.7% of the candidates. In Bududa, there were 454 (16.5%) failures out of the 2,741 pupils who sat the exams.
Uganda, has in recent years, been at the forefront of education policy reform in sub Saharan Africa.
For the most part, the country’s problematic assessment framework has formed the basis for reform discussions among the country’s leading educationists.
Over the past two and a half decades, Uganda has made remarkable inroads in promoting gender parity in its education system.The parity was achieved in 2009 [50% boys and 50% girls enrolled].
When 13 year old Rose Ariokot gaily returned to her poverty stricken parent's home in Amudat [Northern Uganda] for holidays, late last year, she had no clue her relatives were planning to take her through the outlawed initiation custom, otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Nearly 17 years ago, the Ugandan education ministry closed half of the country’s national teachers colleges (NTCs) on the basis that demand for Grade 5 Diploma teachers had dropped.
However, the Government recently launched a sh96b reconstruction project
The issue of how Uganda can sustainably improve learning outcomes for its young school going citizens has, once again come to the fore; with the World Bank proposing in its 13th edition "Economic Update on Human capital in Uganda- report” that the country, among other things-abolishes PLE [National exam in the final grade of Primary school] as a means to improve transition rates to lower secondary and to achieve universal lower secondary enrolment.
How do we develop effective prototype devices that can in the future help our local communities harness and convert solar radiation to heat energy for cooking? How can we best make use of organic pesticides in agriculture and move a model car using solar energy?