HE was a bright boy throughout his primary education, always comfortably standing among the first three class positions of his class every end of term. Joshua Kusiimwa had a great education career path, until the worst happened.

A few days to his Primary Leaving Examinations, Kusiimwa fell sick. Much as he turned up for the final national examinations, he was disorganised and he did not pass. He got 15 aggregates from four subjects; instead of the four aggregates he had always obtained in Primary Five and Six.

Kusiimwa later joined an academically weak secondary school, ending up with an unprofessional degree course at the university.

“We have lost good brains in this country, not because they are not intelligent, but because they failed to cram towards the final examinations and are now struggling in life. This has to end,” says the education state minister Dr. John Muyingo.

As the minister notes, the situation would have been different for Kusiimwa, had he been doing continuous assessments; since an accumulation of good scores in Primary Five and Six would have helped him excel in his final examinations.

Uganda is one of the 126 countries around the world likely to achieve gender parity in primary schools by 2015.

The just released Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring report shows that over the last decade, Uganda made a 95% progress in addressing the gender gaps at primary level.

According to the Education Ministry statistics, the net enrollment for girls at primary level increased from 82.3% in 2000 to 97.2% as today, while that of boys moved from 88.8% for boys in 2000 to 96.3%. Gender parity has grown from 48:51 (girls to boys) in 2000 to 50:51 today.

The EFA report notes that the equal enrolment ratios for girls and boys is the first step forward in improving the quality of education. “A schooling environment that is free of discrimination and provides equal opportunities for boys and girls helps children to realize their potential.

“The starting points towards gender equality include making sure the school environment is safe, improving facilities to provide, for example, separate latrines for girls and boys, training teachers in gender sensitivity, achieving gender balance among teachers and rewriting curricula and textbooks to remove gender stereotypes,” the report stresses.



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