Community involvement in promoting quality primary education in Bukedea District
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There is growing understanding that involving community members/parents in the management of schools is the key to improving the quality of education. Consequently, this study examined community involvement in ensuring quality primary education in Bukedea district. Specifically, the study investigated the quality of education in primary schools; the role of the community in ensuring quality primary education, the constraints of community involvement and, opportunities for community involvement in ensuring quality primary education in Bukedea district. A descriptive survey research design was adapted where a total sample of 164 respondents including community members, teachers, head teachers and the Bukedea District Education Officer (DEO) were consulted. The primary data was collected using structured questionnaires for community members and teachers, as well as key informant interview guides for head teachers and DEO. Consequently, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Research findings revealed that there was low quality of education in Bukedea district primary schools as revealed by upper primary pupils who were unable to read and write in English, scoring of poor grades in UNEB exams and lack of life skills among others. Although not adequately performed, community members played various roles in ensuring quality education in Bukedea district. These included discussing with teachers about children’s performance; attending school meetings; contributing financial, material and labour to the school and sending children of 6 years age to school. The constraints to community involvement were inadequate income to make financial contributions to schools, gender inequality in homes, ill- health of some members, lack of time in case of working community members, illiteracy/ignorance by community members and negative teacher/head teacher attitudes towards community participation in education quality management. Several opportunities for community involvement in ensuring quality education in Bukedea district primary schools like participating in school-related projects, forming committees to help in school management, gender mainstreaming in decision making, supporting implementation of UPE, liberalization of the education sector and helping to improve health and hygiene of the children and school were also noted. In order to increase community involvement and boost the quality of education in primary schools in Bukedea district, the study recommends teacher training particularly in a comprehensive model of parent involvement, organizing occasions to engage parents in their children’s education, instituting rewards for better performance of teachers, creation of voluntary community organizations to mobilise resources on behalf of the schools and, increasing the monitoring and inspection of education standards in the district.