Only 157 out of the 650 candidates who sat for their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) in 2021 in Bukomansimbi district have enrolled in Advanced Level (A-Level) this year, raising concern among local authorities.
District Education Officer, Patrick Zziwa expressed deep concern, noting that the 95% decline in A-Level candidates poses a serious threat to the education system in Bukomansimbi.
He emphasized a tendency in which the number of candidates decreases as they go through the district’s academic levels.
“The number of candidates who sat for PLE is not the same number that we register in secondary here in Bukomansimbi, it declines at O-Level, and the number of UCE candidates is not that we register at A-Level,” Zziwa went on to say.
Preliminary reports attribute the drop in enrollment to economic challenges and the lingering impact of the global pandemic.
Zziwa raised an alarming point: institutions admitting even primary seven dropouts, potentially diverting children away from formal education.
“Most of the candidates break out and join institutions, and now here in Masaka, we have institutions that take even those who have finished their PLE,” Zziwa said, underlining the importance of sensitizing parents, particularly uneducated parents who may not comprehend the significance of higher education.
The reduction in enrollment has impacted schools such as St. Joseph SS Butenga, where just 20 of 110 UCE students advanced to A-Level, and St. Victor’s SS Kitaasa, where 70 of 204 candidates advanced to A-Level.
“We believe that there is a need to educate parents because some are illiterate.” “Because they did not attend school during their childhood, they do not understand the importance of educating a child to A-Level,” said Miss. Namazzi Anasitazia, Deputy Head Teacher at St. Joseph SS Butenga.
Ssenyonga Geravazio, the headteacher at St. Victor’s Kitaasa SS, also mentioned economic difficulties. Due to financial constraints, some students fear their capacity to finance university tuition, preventing them from completing A-Level.
Local governments are now actively examining the unique difficulties that pupils in the district face, with plans to adopt focused solutions.
Education officials are planning programs to enhance awareness about the value of higher education and the opportunities it may give beginning in 2024.
The DEO encouraged other leaders to connect with the community and involve parents and guardians in supporting their children’s educational goals.
As authorities continue to understand and resolve the challenges at hand, the commitment to creating an environment that supports education and empowers students to pursue their academic aspirations remains strong.