Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Learners in Kitgum district are struggling to complete Primary and Ordinary level of education, a new report has revealed. The transition report by Fred Owot, the Kitgum District Education Officer-DEO notes that only 30 percent of learners enrolled in Primary One sit Primary Leaving Examinations-PLE and only 5 percent of learners who sit PLE complete the Ordinary Level at secondary.
The report delivered to head teachers comes as education stakeholders are still talking about the dismal performance registered by the district in last year’s PLE. Kitgum district emerged as the worst performer in the just released PLE results among all districts in the Acholi sub-region, with only 27 out of 3,695 candidates passing in first grade and 1,198 scoring Division U.
Rogers Olila, the Kitgum District Education and Health Secretary attributes the low completion rate to economic, social, and individual factors. Olila notes that parents are reluctant to pay even the smallest fees such as 5,000 shillings in PTA, and other support needed for the child to comfortably learn.
According to Olila, most learners lack guidance when they clock adolescence and end up becoming parents and eventually dropping out of school.
Bazil Jimson, the head teacher of Akado Primary School blamed the poor performance and dropout on too much love for merry-making. Jimson appealed to the local leaders to control the level of places of social gathering that attract learners.
Jimson revealed that some learners are also uncontrollable because they are addicted to drugs.
Jimmy Segawa Ebil, the Kitgum RDC expressed disappointment over the high dropout rate. He noted that only 300 out of every 1000 pupils complete Primary Seven, and only 60 out of 300 complete senior four. Ebil appealed to all the teachers to work hard to change the statistics for the best.
Ebil also called upon the clan leaders, religious leaders, parents, and local leaders to respond to this situation as soon as possible if they want improvement in the education department of Kitgum district.
Christine Adong, a resident of Westland Ward in Kitgum municipality said children have become very wayward because of the freedom to operate certain businesses. Adong cites that for instance discotheques are not strict on who enters or not, while businesses men sell drugs can children can freely access.
“How does a parent handle a child that abuses drugs and threatens their life? The district should start by banning the sale of illicit drugs and alcohol that make our children develop the courage to do the bad things they do and disregard education,” Adong said.
In 2022, the Kitgum district probation office revealed that they had registered 66 children abusing drugs in the first six months, 49 of whom were girls.