By Francis Kagolo
Tutors have attributed the high failure rate among girls studying business, vocational and technical education training (BTVET) certificate courses to pregnancies and maternal problems.
More than half of the female candidates who sat for business and technical exams last year failed, according to the results released by the education ministry yesterday.
The results indicate that 932 (57%) of the 1,639 female candidates compared to 46% of their male counterparts failed the exams. Those who failed are required to sit for probation papers.
The highest number of failures was in business courses, where 659 (76.1%) of the candidates, majority (about 80%) of them girls, are to re-sit the exams.
The business courses include the national certificate in secretarial studies, accountancy, purchasing and supplies management and business management.
However, although male candidates beat their female counterparts in most technical courses, the latter managed to pull off better performance in brick/block laying and concrete practice, leather tanning and shoe making, as well as plumbing.
Male candidates maintained good performance in pottery and ceramics, motor vehicle mechanics, tailoring and cutting garments, as well as carpentry and joinery.
“Most of the girls come to study when they already have children,” said Paul Angura, the registrar of Uganda College of Commerce, Soroti.
“Others get pregnant and deliver while studying. So they come (to school) with their children and baby sitters. This affects their performance,” he added.
Wilson Oringor, a tutor at Uganda College of Commerce, Tororo, noted that students fail business calculations due to lack of mathematical skills.
Others pushed the blame on the fact that most students who register for BTVET certificate courses are “academically very weak”.
Although the examinations were leakage-free, Twesigye said UBTEB identified a few malpractices, which are still under investigation.
Education minister Jessica Alupo asked parents to encourage their students to enroll for business and vocational education, which she said was the sure way to curb youth unemployment.