Following the Covid-19 pandemic that saw the country go through two lockdowns with schools closed for almost 2 years, schools have continued to register high cases of School drop outs especially in the Northern and Eastern Region.
Spot check reports done in some schools by local Education leaders in Eastern Region, specifically in Namisindwa District indicate that there is a decline in turn up of students.
At the time of the spot check, Mutsasa Primary School had 298 out 732 students that were supposed to be present. Musiye Primary School in Buwamba Sub County, opened with 619 and the current number attending school is 537. The number at Bumbo Primary School has dropped by 415 from the registered 1530 students at the beginning of the year.
Joan Masibo, a primary school teacher in Namisindwa said that dropout rate has been increased by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Most of the children were doing casual labor during the lock-down and as a result they think working is better than being in school, they have dropped school in favor of quick money,” the educator said.
Tserono Primary School, had 217 students in school out of the 650 students enrolled at the beginning of the term.
At Bungati Church of Uganda Primary School, the number dropped from 450 to 286 pupils attending school. The numbers at Bunambobi Primary School dropped from 434 to 138.
Ms. Masibo also noted that this has been worsened by parents because they have encouraged their children to go work to contribute to family incomes.
“Most parents here think education is a waste of time, all they care about is money so they encourage their children to dropout and take on casual jobs in order to contribute to the households,” Masibo said.
Reports from Educators indicate that there was a higher dropout rate in day schools as compared to Boarding schools.
According to a UNICEF report released in March 2022, In Uganda, around 1 in 10 schoolchildren did not report back to school in January 2022 after schools opened.
The same report indicates that, in Malawi, the dropout rate among girls in secondary education rose from 6.4% to 9.5% between 2020 and 2021.
In Kenya, a survey of 4,000 adolescents aged 10-19 years found that 16% of girls and 8% of boys did not return when schools reopened. The number of out-of-school children in South Africa tripled from 250,000 to 750,000 between March 2020 and July 2021.
The teachers say the school dropout rates are alarming and this will affect the development of the region. They call upon Parents and the Government to intervene and encourage the children to go back to school and also sensitize the parents and children about the need to stay in school.