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9000 Pupils Dropout Annually from Oyam Primary Schools


9000 Pupils Dropout Annually from Oyam Primary Schools
PHOTO — Loro Model Primary School – Oyam

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A recent study conducted over the past three years has uncovered a concerning trend in Oyam District, Northern Uganda, revealing that more than 9000 pupils dropout from primary schools annually.

The study, conducted by the district Education department across 65 out of 109 government-aided primary schools, documented a total of 28,109 dropouts over the three-year period. Specifically, 9,520 pupils dropped out in 2020, followed by 9,086 in 2022, and 9,503 in 2023.

Dropping out among pupils spans from primary one to primary seven, with significant numbers recorded across all grades. For instance, in 2023 alone, 1,641 pupils dropped out in primary one, while 1,029 dropped out in primary seven across the 65 surveyed schools.

David Adea, the Oyam District Senior Education Officer, expressed grave concern over the high dropout rate, attributing it to various challenges such as teenage pregnancy and child labor.

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Benson Ongom, the District Inspector of Schools, noted a gender disparity in dropout rates, with more girls leaving school compared to boys. He urged parents to prioritize their daughters’ education and ensure their continued enrollment.

Scovia Akanyo, a parent from Akuce primary school, blamed parental neglect for contributing to dropout rates, highlighting the importance of parental support in keeping children in school and away from criminal activities.

In response to the crisis, Geneva Global, a charitable consulting company, launched the Speed School accelerated education program. This initiative aims to provide out-of-school children with an opportunity to attain formal education, condensing the first three years of primary education into a ten-month curriculum.

Operating in Oyam North, specifically in sub-counties of Abok, Aleka, Otwal, and Ngai, the program targets primary schools identified based on dropout rates and the availability of suitable structures for conducting lessons.

The Oyam district inspector of schools praised the program for its positive impact on learners, emphasizing the need for sustained efforts beyond the project’s duration.

Maxwell Okao, the head teacher of Akucawitim primary school, emphasized the importance of parental cooperation in keeping children enrolled in the program, highlighting its potential in reducing community crime rates.

Additionally, under the program, mothers of learners are organized into Self-Help Groups and trained in financial literacy, empowering them to support their children’s education through income-generating activities.

The findings underscore the urgent need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to address the root causes of dropout rates and ensure access to quality education for all children in Oyam District.

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