22 January 2013

Uganda: School Heads to Blame for Drop-Outs - Exam Board Chief

Parents have been blamed for the high drop out rateof pupils in schools.     ( Resource: Over 20,000 Uganda Pupils Missed National Exams

Head teachers should be held accountable for the school drop-outs according to the Uganda National Examinations Board chairman, Fagil Mandy.

"Their salaries should depend on the number of children retained in school," Mandy said, speaking at the release of the 2012 Primary Leaving Examinations results on Monday.

Mandy blamed absenteeism from exams and school drop outs on the head teachers who he said are too lax to ensure that the children stick in schools.

He said the Government should strengthen the contract system for head teachers to stem absenteeism, making school retention a big factor in their remuneration

He also observed that the teaching of sciences is theoretical in many of the schools. Teachers only introduce some of the science tools during exams.

Mandy decried the method of education, which is teacher-centred with little participation of children.

"The teachers just rap away as the kids passively listen and the schools call that discipline. We need a learner-centred education system, where the children participate and are allowed to do things.." he said.

Mandy rapped district education officials who do not inspect and supervise schools to ensure that the teaching time is effectively allocated to ensure effective learning.

He said less than 10% of the schools in the country are giving children physical and co-curricular education, which he said was very crucial for the development of a child's mind to grasp even subjects considered hard.

"School can be more liberating to the pupils if we looked at the way we allocate time in schools. Now three quarters of the time is spent on exams of all kinds, weekly, monthly, quarterly and others and by the time the children do PLE, they are bored and tired. I want to see a more changed school environment," he said.

He warned the schools, which are selling results to their owners to stop it. He said that the results are free and, therefore, parents should not be given an extra financial burden.

The education minister, Jessica Alupo, expressed concern that science and mathematics were the worst done subjects.

The Government Policy, she said, is to prioritise the teaching of sciences because they are important to the country's transformation.

She said the National Curriculum Development Centre and the Directorate of Education Standards should help the ministry understand how the children can be helped to pass science and maths.

She, however, said the UPE and the thematic approach curriculum are a big success.

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