Kampala: The Uganda National Examination Board has revealed that a number of learners in both primary and secondary schools did not return for studies after the first covid-19 lockdown due to various challenges faced by both learners and parents.
According to the findings from the research that was conducted by UNEB to assess the impact of Covid-19 on learning in primary and secondary education 10 percent of primary learners and 13 percent of secondary learners did not report back to schools after the first lockdown.
According to the report, results show that 10% of the P 6 learners and 13% of the S 3 learners did not report back to school. Gender-wise, the proportion of P 6 girls (8%) who did not report back to school was significantly lower than that of boys (10.2%), that is, male learners were more affected than female learners.
Meanwhile, the proportion of P 6 learners in rural areas (11.3%) who did not return back to school was also significantly higher than that of urban areas (1.9%). While private primary schools gained 1.5% more P 6 learners at re-opening, 11.8% of the learners in public primary schools did not return to school.
According to the executive director of Uneb, Daniel Odongo, this was attributed to lack of tuition by parents to take back their children to school, teenage pregnancies, preference of casual labor to duties, early marriages, and loss of interest in learning by some learners.
Odongo added that whereas more learners might not return back to schools when schools reopen next year in January, some of them have been able to acquire vocational skills.
The results also indicated that the majority of the teachers had lost interest in teaching because of inadequate or no pay, and yet the income-generating activities they had established proved a better alternative in terms of earnings.
Following the findings, UNEB has thus called upon the government through the ministry of Education to help both learners and parents cope with the Covid-19 situation by making some recommendations including the following;
-A follow-up study needs to be done to find out why there was a decline in P 6 learners’ achievement whereas there was an improvement for the S 3 learners.
-Sensitize the parents on the need to regulate the amount of work given to children so that children get time to learn.
-Assist teachers in striking a balance between teaching and sustaining the established income-generating activities.
-Provide psycho-social support and counseling to the youth who were arrested, sexually harassed, and those who experienced domestic violence and child labor.