Evaluation of factors affecting performance in government-aided primary schools in Gulu Municipal Council, Northern Uganda
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The study was conducted on Government-aided primary schools in Gulu Municipal Council that sat for Primary Leaving Examination. This study covered the period of 1997-2006. The selection of the study was based on the fact that Gulu district is located in the northern part of Uganda and suffered the prolonged LRA insurgence that hit the region for over 20 years. Therefore, internal migration coupled with natural increase contributed to swift increase in the enrollment of pupils in the schools within the Municipality. The study was guided by the major objective of evaluating the factors that affected the performance of candidates in PLE in the Universal Primary education system in Gulu Municipal council. The methodologies used in the study were Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient that established the relationships between the performance of the candidates and the independent ratios. Meanwhile, Multiple Linear Regression models were fitted to determine the amount of variations in the performance of the candidates explained by the intervening factors. The major findings of the study were that; School related factors principally the ratio of pupils to a classroom and pupil to textbook ratio strongly positively correlated with the performance of the candidates in PLE. However, the ratio of pupils to a teacher is established not to have had a very strong positive relationship with the performance of the learners in PLE within the period under study. It was established that pupil’s sex did not have an influence on the performance of the pupils in Gulu Municipal primary schools in PLE. Similarly, the study identified teacher qualification to have had a positive correlation with the performance of the pupils in PLE in the period under study. This relationship however varied according to the grades of the teachers. Consequently, it was established that untrained teachers, Grade 4 teachers and Graduate teachers negatively correlated with the performance of the candidates in PLE. Conclusions were drawn that pupils’ ratios to school facilities affected the quality of performance in PLE in Gulu Municipal primary schools over the years studied. Grade Three and Diploma holders in primary Education (DEP) were better of than the other grades of teachers in the teaching of primary school pupils. However, the sex of the pupils did not have any significant effect the academic performance of the pupils. The following were the major recommendations made basing on the findings and directed to the parents, policy makers and implementers. There is need to embark on the improvement of school facilities in order to meet the horrendously high number of pupils. The Municipal Council needs to invest more in the provision of school facilities particular the classrooms and textbooks. This would promote effective use of the instructional materials to facilitate the learning process. Similarly, teacher recruitment should be fortified with emphasis on Grade Three and Diploma holders in primary education (DEP). An improvement in this area would boost up the standards of pupils’ performance in PLE in Gulu Municipal Council primary schools. The District Service Commission should ensure that suitably qualified teachers are recruited to teach in the primary section of education so that the pupils can meaningfully gain from the learning process. Children should be given equal opportunity to access formal education regardless of their sex as it has been verified that the sex of a candidate does not determine his/her academic performance in national examination.