The Oâ€™level results released on Friday show a large disparity between the male and female performance levels. In all the districts except five, the boys performed better than the girls.
In 19 districts, no single girl got a grade one. Overall, 45% of the girls got division 4, which is almost a failure, and 4.4% got division 9, a complete failure. This means 50% of the girls who sat for the 2008 Uganda Certificate Examinations did not pass.
Such big failure rates for girls are detrimental to national development because educated girls and women enhance the quality of their societies and nations.
An extra year of a girlâ€™s education reduces the infant mortality rate by between 5 to 10%. Educated women are more likely to have a manageable number of children, and to nourish and educate their children better.
No doubt, universal primary and secondary education are a big step by the Government towards educating the population but as a nation, we still need to do much more to support girlsâ€™ to get quality education.
In most of our societies girls are still subjected to early marriages, excessive workloads at home, and they have to stand in to nurture their siblings and families whenever the adults are not in position to. This means that many girls simply have no time to attend to their books.
A lot more still has to be done for the girl-child and this calls for the involvement of all of us in society.
Affirmative action for girlsâ€™ education should start at the family level.
At home, girls should be allowed time to concentrate on their studies, societies should be sensitised to shun early marriages and to support education; and at national level affirmative action for girls education should be cascaded downwards to benefit girls in the disadvantaged districts and communities rather than girls in the already advantaged schools and districts.
Educate a woman, educate a nation