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Table 11 Pupils/class ratio

Year

No. of

Classes

No. of Pupils

Pupils/Class

Ratio

1990

45899

2,281,590

37

1991

56301

2,539,549

37

1992

58286

2,364,078

40

1993

58846

2,674,965

42

1994

67528

2,598,692

45

1995

74963

2,912,473

43

1996

69344

3,068,625

44

1997

74519

5,170,886

69

1998

69,893

5,463,853

78

1999

80,205

6,591,429

82

Source: Educational Statistical Abstract & Headcount Data

Table 16 shows that pupil class ratio has increased slowly from 37:1 to 44:1 during the period 1990 - 1996 and this increased sharply to 69 in 1997 and then to 78 and 82 in 1998 and 199 respectively.

Table 12 Classroom/school ratio and pupils/classroom ratio

Year

No. of

Schools

No. of

Classrooms

No. of Pupils

Classrooms

School Ratio

Pupils/

Classroom

Ratios

1990

7,667

45899

2281590

6

50

1991

8,046

56301

2539459

7

45

1992

8,325

58286

2364078

7

41

1993

8,430

58846

2674965

7

45

1994

8,442

67528

2598692

8

38

1995

8,531

74963

2912473

7

39

1996

8,531

69344

3,068,625

8

44

1997

8,813

74519

5170886

8

69

1998

9,848

69,893

5,463,853

7

78

1999

10,779

80,205

6,591,429

 

82

Source: Education Statistics Abstracts: Various issues.

From Table 17 above, we note that the classroom -school ratio increased from 6 to 7 in 1998 and pupil-classroom ratio decreased from 50 to 44 in 1996 but increased to 82 in 1999 due to UPE which was introduced in 1997. This is a clear indication that classrooms are overcrowded. However, the this situation will soon change because more classrooms are being constructed and we do not expect enrolments to increase significantly from their current levels.

Table 13 Indicators 9 and 10 - Percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications 1998

1998

Number of primary school teachers

Percentage of primary school teachers

 

 

Total

With academic qualification

Certified to teach

With academic qualification

Certified to teach

NATIONAL

TOTAL (MF)

179,093

98,509

80,584

55.0

45.0

(The whole

Male (M)

117,655

65,346

52,309

55.5

44.5

Country)

Female (F)

61,438

33,163

28,275

54.0

46.0

Table 14 Teachers/School Ratio

Year

No. of Primary

Schools

No. of Teachers

Teachers/School

Ratio

1990

7,667

81,590

11

1991

8,046

78,259

10

1992

8,325

86,821

10

1993

8,430

91,905

11

1994

8,442

84,043

10

1995

8,531

76,134

9

1996

8,531

81,564

9

1997

8,813

89,247

10

1998

9,848

98,509

10

Source: Education Statistical Abstracts

From Table 19 above the average teacher school ratio is 10. This means that although the number of students has tremendously increased as a result of Universal Primary Education, the number of schools and teachers has not increased proportionately.

Table 15 Indicator 11: Pupils Teacher Ratio

Year

Total Pupils

Total Teachers

Pupil/Teacher Ratio

1990

2,281,590

81,590

28

1991

2,539,549

78,259

32

1992

2,364,078

86,821

27

1993

2,674,965

91,905

29

1994

2,598,692

84,043

31

1995

2,636,409

76,111

35

1996

3,068,625

81,564

38

1997

5,170,886

89,247

58

1998

5,420,730

98,509

55

1999

6,591,427

107,278

61

Source: Education Statistical Abstracts: Various Issues.

In Table 20 we note that the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools increased from 28 in 1990 to 61 in 1999. Again, this is as a result of the pressure placed on the education system by the increased enrolments caused by UPE.

Table 16 Percentage of total repeaters by gender and class

 

P.1

P.2

P.3

P.4

P.5

P.6

P.7

All classes

 

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

1990

51

49

54

46

55

45

54

46

55

45

57

43

68

32

54

46

1991

54

46

54

46

54

46

54

46

53

47

55

45

66

34

55

45

1993

54

46

54

46

55

45

54

46

54

46

54

46

65

35

35

45

1995

54

46

53

44

55

45

54

46

54

46

56

44

67

33

33

43

1996

53

47

53

47

53

47

55

45

52

48

54

46

64

36

54

46

1997

52

48

53

42

53

47

54

46

54

46

56

44

62

33

54

46

1998

52

48

68

32

53

47

53

47

54

46

56

44

67

33

57

43

From Table 21, the percentage of repeaters is more for male than for female for all the years. On a yearly basis, the percentage of male repeaters has increased from 54% in 1990 to 57% in 1998. But there had been an improvement for the years 1993 and 1994. On the other hand, the percentage of repeaters for females has reduced from 46% in 1990 to 43% in 1998. Indicator 12, repetition rate, represents the percentage of pupils who are enrolled in the same grade in the following year as in the current year. This indicator is in table 22.

Table 17 Indicator 12 - Repetition rate in primary education by grade 1997

 

Grades

Average grade 1 to 5

 

P1

P2

P3

P4

P5

P6

P7

Total

10.0%

8.5%

6.3%

5.6%

4.2%

3.4%

1.8%

7.1%

Male

11.1%

9.7%

7.3%

6.5%

5.0%

4.1%

1.3%

8.1%

Female

8.9%

7.2%

5.3%

4.7%

3.5%

2.8%

2.3%

6.0%

Education Planning Department.

Table 22 above reconfirms what we have already witnessed in table 21. From table 22 the repetition rate for females is lower than the repetition rate for males. This is true for all grades apart from grade 7, where the repetition rate for males is higher than for females.

Table 18 Percentage drop-outs in primary schools, 1995

 

Males

Females

Average for both male and female

P1

14.2

13.4

13.8

P2

11.0

11.3

11.2

P3

10.1

9.8

10.0

P4

9.6

9.7

9.7

P5

9.3

10.0

9.7

P6

9.4

10.4

9.0

P7

8.2

9.4

8.8

Total Average

10

11

10.4

From Table 23 we note that the percentage dropouts of total pupils in 1995, by Gender decreased slowly from primary 1 to primary 7 At primary 1 there are more male dropouts (14.2%) while at primary 7 there are more female dropouts (13.4%). On progressing to primary 7, however, the percentage of female dropouts exceeds the percentage of male dropouts.

Table 19 Percentage passes

 

P1

Enrolment

(‘000)

P7

Enrolment

(‘000)

PLE

Registration

(‘000)

PLE sitting

(‘000)

PLE

Passes

% PLE

Passes

Transition

Rate P7 to

S1

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1990

555

174

161

144

118

82

40

1991

614

183

164

149

119

80

40

1992

563

181

170

155

104

67

32

1993

526

153

169

155

104

70

22

1994

568

182

171

175

124

71

31

1995

672

185

172

183

132

72

42

1996

797

495

192

200

141

71

40

1997

1,951

227

217

242

175

72

35

Source: Education Statistical Abstracts

Figures in table 24 show that PLE passes had decreased from 82% to 72% over the years 1990 to 1997. The best performance was in 1990, where 82% of the candidates passed. The year 1992 saw the worst performance, with only 67% passes.

The transition rate from P7 to S1 remains low. It reduced from 40% in 1990 to 35% in 1997.

As seen in figure 6, since 1993, the transition rate for females was higher than the transition rate for males.

The survival rate, given by the percentage of pupil cohort that enters together in the first grade of primary education and grade, with or without repeating a grade. Table 25 shows that the survival rate up to grade 5 is 94%.

The same table gives the coefficient of efficiency. The coefficient of efficiency up to grade 5 is 87.8%. The coefficient of efficiency for the whole cycle of primary 1 to primary 7 is 73.1%.

Table 20 Indicators 13 and 14 Survival Rate to Grade 5 and Coefficient of efficiency 1997

Survival rate to Grade 5

Coefficient of efficiency to Grade 5

Coefficient of efficiency in primary education

Both sexes (MF)

Male (M)

Female (F)

Both sexes (MF)

Male (M)

Female (F)

Both sexes (MF)

Male (M)

Female (F)

94.0%

93.5%

94.3%

87.8%

85.9%

89.8%

73.1%

72.0%

74.0%

The quality of Primary Education Provided

Much has been done in Uganda to provide education that meets quality standards (MQS), which are indicative of provision of good quality education in the primary schools. The provision of construction materials has facilitated the rehabilitation and expansion of existing classrooms where the pupils learn, new classrooms have been constructed and construction of latrines for boys and girls separately has been done. Provision of instructional materials has been met and pupils and teachers are using these materials. This will go a long way in raising the quality of primary education being provided. Primary Teacher Education has been undergoing reform too with improvement in, tutor training programmes, provision of transport and instructional materials, construction of tutor residences, and so on. To ensure that teachers and tutors do their job efficiently and effectively, teacher/tutor wage has been improved and government now pays their salaries in time. Such mechanisms which motivate tutors will guarantee quality teaching and learning in the country’s primary schools, and are reflected in reduced repetition rates (Indicator 12)and drop-out and an improvement in survival rates (Indicator 13) in Tables 23 and 24 respectively.

However, pupil teacher ratios remain high and this has an effect of reducing quality teaching because large classes put too much pressure on teachers. Government recognises this and the target is to reach a pupil teacher ratio of 40:1 by the year 2003.

Other issues Contributing to UPE are: Madarasa and Quranic schools.

These schools are playing a key role in widening access to primary education for Moslem communities. They do not concentrate only on Arabic Quran as was in the past but also other primary school curricular subjects are taught and learnt. These schools have opened up and do also recruit qualified teachers to work in them.

Relevance of Primary Education in Meeting the Basic Learning Needs of the Child, the Community and the Country

The taste of relevance of any kind of education is anchored in its curriculum. Here the issue is viewed in terms of the curriculum scope, range, and balance. There is such a new curriculum in place.

Restructuring of the Education System

In the centre, the Ministry has been restructured and the Departments of Pre-primary and primary education, headed by a commissioner, have been established to formulate policies, plans and guidelines in respect of pre-primary and primary education and to guide, monitor and evaluate their implementation. This is a definite boost in providing quality education.

Financing and Management of Primary Education

Until the recent past Government has been financing and managing primary education. Since UPE Government has broadened financing education to include other stakeholders e.g. the communities, funding agencies and the NGOs. The Aide Memoire on the Joint Government/Donor Review of ESIP of April 12th to 23rd 1999 acknowledged the work of the Government in respect of Budget Support Undertakings. There has been considerable progress by the Government in implementing the various undertakings incorporated in its agreements with Financing Agencies. They include involvement of local communities in financing primary education. Some of these communities experience abject poverty so are a problem and constraint to the progress of UPE.

Government’s achievements is respect to budget support include: the creation of a more comprehensive and accurate Medium Term Budget Framework (MTBF) for the education sector; maintenance of the increased education share of the overall spending budget, and of the agreed shares within that for primary education and instructional materials; an improved information strategy, completion of the outstanding teacher arrears payments, with further measures to prevent new accumulation of arrears; updating of the school staff establishments, based on new enrollment and staff in post headcount data; completion of the school facilities plan; and the review of the teacher supply and demand study, and preparation on that basis of an integrated teacher development financial plan.

Medium of Instruction

The idea of liberalising teaching in lower primary (P1-P3) using first language and thereafter in English, is practically possible in rural schools but not in urban settings because of ethnic mix ups. Local languages are indeed gaining prominence and therefore facilitating learning and retention of those who have accessed primary schools to complete it. However, textbooks to be used in the teaching of these languages need to be developed urgently.

School Accountability to the Community

The communities are deeply involved in UPE and there is insistence that schools account to the communities. In this regard management in schools display evidence of accountability and all related matters on school notice board as a way of accounting to communities. However, there are cases where this is not done, funds misallocated, misused and embezzled. Government continues to strengthen school accountability procedures.

Innovative Basic Education Programmes for Disadvantaged Children

There are a number of innovative basic education programmes for children in disadvantaged areas. For example, in nomadic areas of Moroto and Kotido (Karamoja) we have Alternative Basic Education for Karamoja (ABEK) which is focusing its activities on bringing literacy to children who are not in formal schools. These children are taught in their manyattas (homes) at their convenient time, using instructors from their communities. The programme is at a two-year pilot phase in two parishes in Moroto and two in Kotido districts. By September 1999 enrollment in both Districts was 9,265 children, 67% of whom are girls. The programme is facilitated by Redd Barna.

One other innovation is the complementary opportunities for primary education (COPE). This is a programme designed for children who have either never attended school or dropped out before acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and are aged 10 – 16 years. Girls are specifically targeted in this programme. It has a practical and flexible curriculum which is responsible to the community needs and a short learning time of 3 to 4 hours a day. This leaves plenty of time for the children to participate in the socio-economic activities for their benefit. This programme is running in 4 districts with an enrolment of over 3,600 children and is expanding to 4 more districts. The programme is supported by UNICEF and the Government of Uganda.

The other programme is the Basic Education in Urban Poverty Areas (BEUPA). This is a GTZ supported programme on a pilot scale in Kampala city slum areas. It is to provide basic literacy, life skills, and employment skills to the target group who are children aged 6 – 16 years.

Screening and Catering for Disabilities among Primary School Children

Already there are positive measures taken in respect of providing for disabilities among primary school children. The measures are: children with disabilities have been given first priority to enroll; the passing by Parliament of UNISE Act to cater for children with special needs, the establishment of Educational Assessment and Resource Services (EARS) centres in 39 districts already to ensure provision of adequate skills to teachers to identify and handle children with special needs; and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Local Councils to make policies and decisions specific to their interests.

6.3 Improvement in Learning Achievement

The previous curriculum at the primary level caused a lot of apprehension to Ugandans. It was largely academic and examination oriented, with summative examinations being administered by UNEB at the end of the seven-year cycle. For example, in primary 7 mathematics, pupil’s performance on questions testing for conceptual understanding was far better than on questions testing for applications of mathematical principles and operations in four major topics of the syllabus (see Table 26). This performance is worrying to the pupils, the parents and the community. More so since Mathematics is the significant underpinnings of science and technology. Equally worrying is their performance in English (Table 26). The pupils found it particularly difficult to restructure sentences, to write a free composition and to answer questions on comprehension. They also could not use words or phrases correctly. The curriculum did not seem to be relevant to meeting the basic learning needs of the individual pupil. It did not also relate to the needs of the community served by the schools.

Table 21 Pupils performance in PLE Mathematics by gender.

Skill or content Area

Conceptual development Application of principles

Male Female All (N=209) Male Female All (N=209

Number

65%

67%

66%

28%

31%

29%

Geometry

63%

51%

58%

2%

1%

2%

Statistics

61%

58%

60%

8%

15%

11%

Measurement

15%

9%

13%

3%

4%

3%

Source: Uganda National Examinations Board.

Table 22 Pupils performance in some questions in the PLE English Paper of 1994.

What is required by the

Question(s)

Mean score

(out of 10)

Standard

Deviation

Filling in each blank space with a suitable

Word or phrase

3.0

2.2

Restructuring sentences

 

1.7

2.0

Studying information provided in a tabular

Form and answering a set of questions about it.

4.8

2.1

Reading a written conversation and

Answering questions about it.

3.1

2.3

Writing a composition from a set of jumbled sentences.

2.1

2.3

Writing a short free composition

(100-150 words).

3.2

2.6

  1. Source: Uganda National Examinations Board.

  2. Sample size = 209.

The situation could have been exacerbated by the shortage of textbooks, teachers' guides, learning media, scholastic materials, equipment and so on to support the curriculum. A number of teachers in the primary schools were untrained; and they could not implement instructions and assessment effectively. All these factors inter-played only to worsen the situation for quality primary education.

Realizing that basic education is essential for real development needs of the community and the nation and that quality education ought to be the attribute of basic education, Government agreed that a new curriculum embracing EFA principles, goals and targets should be designed, developed and produced for primary education. Government also agreed to improve and modernise teacher training programmes and to implement the Continuous Assessment system in a bid to improve learning achievements and outcomes.



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