This paper examines the concept of community involvement in education, which Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD) is experimenting in selected districts in Uganda, with specific emphasis on Aroi Sub County, Arua district. The initiative was introduced for communities surrounding a particular primary school get involved in issues that adversely affect children’s learning, especially the deterioration in performance and declining quality of education under the universal primary education (UPE). The paper highlights some of the achievements the initiative has realised so far, and argues that although UPE has more than doubled primary school enrollment levels, it has been characterised by high dropout rates, inadequate attention to pupils, overcrowded and unmanageable classes, lack of physical/instructional infrastructure and trained teachers, and minimal community involvement in managing the schools. The initiative, which empowers communities to make regular visits to their nearest school to observe lessons, check availability of toilets facilities for boys and girls, assess the cleanliness of compound and sanitary provisions for adolescent girls, examine whether the classrooms have appropriate learning aids, minimize child abuse such as defilement, mistreatment and unfair punishment; and assess whether children have something to eat at school or not, not only encourages free interaction between communities, schools and pupils, but also creates strategic linkages for participatorily monitoring pupils’ learning and performance and opens avenues for communities to contribute towards addressing some of the factors responsible for deterioration in performance and quality of education . It also offers an excellent opportunity for building a learning society and promoting the spirit of lifelong learning. The author highlights some of the obstacles encountered while involving communities in monitoring issues that positively contribute to the improvement of the learning environment of their children in primary schools, and ends the paper with some concluding remarks regarding the way forward.
|Keywords:||Community, Dropouts, Education, Involvement, Learning Environment, Participation, Performance, Primary School|
Doctoral Candidate, School of Adult Learning and Higher Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
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