On Wednesday February 7, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) released Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results for the 2017.
While handing over the results to The Minister of State for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo, the UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo noted a decline in performance in upcountry schools.
Notable among them are schools in the eastern Uganda districts of Bukwo,Butelaje, Kween, Kapchrwa, Bulambuli, Pallisa, Sironko, Busia, Bududa and a few others like Bulisa, Kasese and Bundibugyo in western Uganda.
This is in contrast with the shining performance of schools around Kampala and other neighboring central districts like Mukono, Wakiso, and Mpigi, among others.
Among the challenges cited by Odongo is language deficiency, where English as a subject is one of the most poorly-performed, registering a steady decline over the last three years. This decline has hit hard children in rural schools as compared to their counterparts in urban areas who are at least able to learn English at an early stage.
That noted, English is not only a subject but also a language of instruction in our institutions of learning and the official language which our pupils and students are supposed to use as a means of communication in future when they begin work.
Meanwhile, much as the gap in gender parity is improving as more girls are enrolling for school and able to sit for final examinations, this is not the picture in the villages as it is being painted.
This therefore, means that the policies be reviewed with a view of attracting and retaining the girl child in school, and one of the ways of doing this is by providing free sanitary pads for them.
Also, in her speech, much as the Minister of Education Janet Museveni promised that government is to recruit more teachers especially for sciences to boost the education sector, emphasis should be put on village schools.
There must be allocation of enough teachers in both the sciences and arts disciplines that the ratio of teacher to students improves.
This would enable the teachers easily interact with students, learn their weaknesses and challenges and find solutions.
There is also need to improve on the laboratory facilities by setting up buildings, providing equipment, chemicals and providing training to teachers.
The government also ought to improve library facilities by providing the necessary books and training human resource to assist village students improve their reading skills and acquire knowledge.
Teachers in village schools should be given incentives so as to improve their standards of living like their counterparts in urban areas so as to be motivated to do their work with commitment.
The issue of providing meals to the children while at school should be taken seriously; parents should be encouraged to feed their children in order to improve their concentration.
It is very saddening to learn that in many village schools as some pupils and students go for their meals others disguise by playing football to pass time.
I really wonder how one can concentrate in class or grasp what he or she is being taught when they are on an empty stomach
These are but some of the many measures that government needs to put in place so as to register improvement in performance in village schools and better the quality of education in the country.