Children Perception

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ELCUFA ground staff have travelled around kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Buikwa, Mityana, Mpigi and throughout different parts of the nation and interviewed children of different ages on what they thought about education in Uganda. This included barriers to proper education, challenges they face, among others.
Below are the children’s stories

Many of these stories directly relate to poverty in Uganda for example;

I dig and help my mother to brew alcohol. Life in Buikwe is so hard. Many children have left school because of lack of money.
There is a lot of drought and people get less harvests. Young children sleep hungry and yound girls are married off by hteir fathers for callte.

The girl the quote abouve ittustrates a difficult yet common reality: children face multiple deprivations simultaneously, making heir situation harder to overcome. This highlights the need for different levels of support: at the household, school and community level, some of it coming from the family and some from outside. Children idenfitied multiple and multifaceted causes or teterminants of poverty affecting their lives and education. Discussions with children showed that they experiencd many of these deprivations at the same time and that children around them faced similar challenges.

Education

Education is one of the important things. If i had the opportunity, i might be able in future to get education. That would be very good. If that things fails, if the opportunity of education fails, then i would love to do a business;

Overview Of Education In Uganda

Universal primary education (UPE) was introduced in uganda in january 1997. The government of uganda made an initial political commitment of meeting the cost of primary education for four children per family, but this was soon extended to cover all people who wanted to access primary education. Under this commitment, the government in principle abolished all tuition fees aned parent teacher association (PTA) charges, with complementary financing measures to support the programme resulting in an increase in total education expenditukre from 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1995 to 4.8% of GDP in 2000- however, PTA fees in particular are still charged in many schools. Following the introduction of UPE, gross enrolment in primary school increased

 

Key Issuses:

  • Most children in all research sites speak positively about school. The overwhelming majority who attend school enjoy it and identify it as one of the things that makes them happy. Those unable to attend are generally saddened or frustrated by this.
  • Some children like school because it gives them an opportunity to learn and to spend time with their friends. Others value it because they see education as a stepping stone to being able to achieve a better life. Children spoke, for example, about enjoying the company of friends in school and liking to learn mathematics and reading. Some children who were not it school seemed to like ti because it is what most other children do and thy did not want to be left out.
  • The main obstacle that children face in attending school relates to school relat3es costs and household income poverty. This leads to many children in urban and rural localities dropping out of school.

 

Children’s perception of school

Che knowledge i get from school is better than my friends – because if you stay at home they tell hoy to raid. Other option is to stay at home like a woman and you can even get killed if you do that. Another friend of mine was conviaced to go caiding and he because very successful doing this, having many cows, but because he was so rich even his friends killed him.

Cildren’s understanding of school

Children participating in the study were not asked to explain their understanding of education or of school. Rather, the questions asked to children focused initially in what they thought about shcool – however they understood it. We did not initially ask about education particularly in group exercises such as PTA and FGD, except when had spoken them-selves about education and follow upo questions were asked. That is we first ewnted to see what children thought about school wihtout the majority of out respondents saw it as agood place to be for different reasons. For some children the understanding o school was linked to education: those in pjrimary spoke about learning Maths andj how to read; those in secondary explained how they learned different subjects. For some of those who linked school to education, shcool was seen as necessary for future work opportuniites: going to school could enable them to become doctors, teachers, policemen/women or other. For other children. particularly in primary, school was seen as a place

What children said about school

Children in all the research sites, both urban and rural, said that shcool was a very important part of their lives. They said that they injoyed going to school, often citing it as one of the things that made them happy. Those who were unabel to attend school saw it as something that was laking in their lives and which they aspired to do. Responses from children about why they liked school varied. Some children linked schooling to the potential to get a good job when they grew up. Younger children in school saw it as a way to become a teacher, doctor, nurse, policeman/woman or lawyer:

Children’s perception of school

Che knowledge i get from school is better than my friends – because if you stay at home they tell hoy to raid. Other option is to stay at home like a woman and you can even get killed if you do that. Another friend of mine was conviaced to go caiding and he because very successful doing this, having many cows, but because he was so rich even his friends killed him.

Cildren’s understanding of school

Children participating in the study were not asked to explain their understanding of education or of school. Rather, the questions asked to children focused initially in what they thought about shcool – however they understood it. We did not initially ask about education particularly in group exercises such as PTA and FGD, except when had spoken them-selves about education and follow upo questions were asked. That is we first ewnted to see what children thought about school wihtout the majority of out respondents saw it as agood place to be for different reasons. For some children the understanding o school was linked to education: those in pjrimary spoke about learning Maths andj how to read; those in secondary explained how they learned different subjects. For some of those who linked school to education, shcool was seen as necessary for future work opportuniites: going to school could enable them to become doctors, teachers, policemen/women or other. For other children. particularly in primary, school was seen as a place

What children said about school

Children in all the research sites, both urban and rural, said that shcool was a very important part of their lives. They said that they injoyed going to school, often citing it as one of the things that made them happy. Those who were unabel to attend school saw it as something that was laking in their lives and which they aspired to do. Responses from children about why they liked school varied. Some children linked schooling to the potential to get a good job when they grew up. Younger children in school saw it as a way to become a teacher, doctor, nurse, policeman/woman or lawyer:

The main reasong to go school is to get knowledge you can study up to higher level and become a teacher; knowledge bring unity so [going to school] leads to good existence because you get ot know how to handle conflicts;

(Girls, in school, 11-14 year olds’ kamuli)

Several children who have continued to secondary school had a clearer idea of the types of opportunity they could aim for with explained that he wanted to become,

 

Education will enable me to become a medical personnel, to reduce corraption and ensure that i help the community. In order to do so i need to concentrate on sciences.

(Boy, 16, in school Mukono)

Children also liked school for the time spent with their peers – playing in the case of the younger children, having conversations with friends in the case of the older ones. For some, it was a arespjite from daily domestic work; for some paid labour.

 

My friends at school, when i’m with them i feel so happy i even froget the problems i have at home.

(Girl, 14, in school Mityana)

In group discussions in Wakiso, kampala and Mukono, children made reference to other children in the community who were not interested in school because they already worked to earn money, which they thought was more useful than going to school. This was also mentioned during a key informant interview in Mukono:

However, none of the children interviewed directly during the study spoke about actively choosing or preferring to work rather than attending school. This subsection now explores children’s voices in relation to school enrolment, attendance and dropout abstacles to their going to school.

School Related Costs

 

Sometimes when they send me back for school fees i go and dig for people so that they can pay me money and i pay my own school fee. At times i get into the lake and fish so i can pay for my own fees.

(Boy. 13, katosi, Mukono)

The only thing that makes me happy is that i am now healthy. I can work and get money to pay my PTA (fee);

(Boy, 16, Wakiso)

Our parents are poor, they do not have money for school fees, and they do not have cows to sell. They go to burn wood and sell charcoal – but he money they get from town is used to buy food. That is why there is ono money for school fees;

(Boy, 11-14 year olds’ in school Buikwe)

 

 

Q. What do you do?
A. I am just seated at home;
Q. Have you ever gone to school?
A. i stopped in P4;
Q. What happened thereafter?
A. I failed to get books uniform and school fees
(Girl, 15, Mpigi)

 

The challenge posed by school fees and other school-related expenses is more problematic in scondary school than in primary schol, as expenses are higher and there is a gereater opportunity cost to families with children who attend secondary school: as children get older many families consider their time would be better spent working than studying. This is one of several reasons why the transition rate between primary and secondary school is low. In Buikwe, for example, a numbers of 15 and 16 year olds remain in primary school as the have no money to pay the primary examination fees or secondary school fees to allow them to make the transition.

 

Non Universal Secondary Education(USE) students pay 45,000 shillings and USE students pary 25,000 shililngs. The school administrators say this money is tor lunch but since we started this trem they have never served us lunchy at school;

(Girl, 15-17 year olds’ Buikwe)

 

I stopped going to school in P3 just last year. It was the second time and like my grandma use to help me out but she got into a bad situation. She had to cut a lot o fmoney so she couldn’t helpo me out any more nad i dropped out;
(Girl, 11, out of school, Kampala)

I use to go to school, but when i was in P5 my mother didn’t have enough and asked me to stay at home for some time until when she gets more money and take me to school. SO they promised me that when they get money i will go back to school when i am in P6. So when i wake up in the morning i pray, greet my parents, wash utensils, wash clothesm, clen the house and cook fook. In the afternoon after lunch i sleep for some time. Then, in the evening i read a book and then paly with friends the book i read is the one i used to have in school. So i keep reading to keep myself informed;
(Boy, 11, out of school Kampala)

 

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