UGANDA: GOVERNMENT TO BOOST OUTPUT THROUGH MONITORING ABSENTEEISM IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Below: Ms. Grace Labalpiny Kilara, the headteacher of Gulu Public Primary School, in her office.

Mrs Kilara“We were a bit compromised in the way we used to report on the performance of our teachers; and this has always been reflected in our Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) results. How do you recommend that a teacher is ‘very good’ yet his pupils would get zero first grades in PLE? It doesn’t add up. We have realized that the problem can’t be solved by only one ministry”

“Gulu parents are not happy about performance of our schools as compared to towns like Lira. Why does your school get only five pupils in division one, yet other schools get 247 in first grade? This is not acceptable. We have a big problem in Gulu”

 

GULU-UGANDA: Ministries of Education and that of Local government have come up with a new policy of monitoring teacher/pupil absenteeism in primary schools, which is the highest in Africa, Mr. George Okidi, the Assistant Commissioner, Education Standards has revealed.

The new policy means Assistant Town Clerks/Town Agents; and Assistant Secretaries/Parish Chiefs, who are all employees of the Ministry of Local Government, will join their counterparts of the Ministry of Education-Inspector of Schools, in monitoring both teachers’ and pupils’ attendance.

“We were a bit compromised in the way we used to report on the performance of our teachers; and this has always been reflected in our Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) results. How do you recommend that a teacher is ‘very good’ yet his pupils would get zero first grades in PLE? It doesn’t add up. We have realized that the problem can’t be solved by only one ministry”, says Mr. Okidi.

He made the remarks on Thursday, January 25, 2018 from Gulu Public Primary School during an education stakeholders’ meeting called to equip managers of schools within Gulu Municipality with the new policy.

In the old policy, it was only the head teachers who filled Public Service Performance Agreement; but this time every stakeholder is involved.

The Town Clerk, Gulu Municipal Council Mr. Francis Baryabanawe, told the meeting that the poor performance of Gulu Municipal schools in national examination, PLE is ‘not acceptable’

“Gulu parents are not happy about performance of our schools as compared to towns like Lira. Why does your school gets only five pupils in division one, yet other schools get 247 in first grade? This is not acceptable. We have a big problem in Gulu”, says Mr. Baryabanawe.

According to Gulu District Education Officer, Mr. Caesar Akena, there are three main factors to the poor performance in national examinations, namely; poor attendance of learners and teachers, lack of implementation of school feeding program and lack of supervision by stakeholders.

“We should improve on attendance, community participation in schools and feeding in schools must be made compulsory. No child must be left behind”, says the educator.

The Deputy Mayor of Gulu Municipal Council, Ms. Pauline Lukwayi urged stakeholders to embrace the new policy and ensure that the school feeding program is implemented in all schools for the benefit of the learners with the aim of improving on performance.

According to the headteacher of the 60-year old Gulu Public Primary School, Ms. Grace Labalpiny Kilara, the new supervision policy tool is ‘very helpful’ in support supervision.

Her school, which scored 2, 45, 8 and 8 in divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively in the 2017 PLE, suffers from lack of support of parents in the management of the school and payment of school dues in time.

She however complains of poaching by private schools of some of the brighter pupils in lower primary by convincing parents to transfer such pupils to their schools just to boost the number of pupils who pass in division 1 from their schools.

She observes that some pupils are lazy, lack concentration in class or simply absent themselves from school; which in the long run affects PLE results.

“With this new tool, we shall enforce strict supervision of teachers for effective teaching and improved on performance in PLE”, says Ms. Kilara

Last month the Ministry of Education released the 2017 PLE results and named Fort Portal Municipality, Entebbe, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Mbarara, Lira and Masindi as the best performing districts. A total of 640,833 candidates set for the exams from 12,391 centers across the country.

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