Awarness and application of life skills education in primary schools in post-conflict areas: a case of Kalaki County Kaberamaido District.
This research study was conducted in Kalaki County, in Kaberamaido district, in north eastern Uganda, in April 2009, using cross-sectional survey, since a large sample was required and involved respondents of different age groups. The methods used for data collection included questionnaires, interview guides and observation. Data was collected from 12 schools in the study area. 12 headteachers, 73 teachers and 380 pupils took part in the study. Kalaki County experienced traumatic situations for about two decades, due to war between Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda. The study therefore set to find out; i) Lifeskills awareness of pupils and teachers in selected schools in the county. ii) The learners application of lifeskills. iii) The challenges teachers face in promoting lifeskills development among the learners. In establishing lifeskills awareness of pupils and teachers and application of lifeskills by pupils,the schools were grouped into two, based on their proximity to camps as; schools near camps and schools far from camps. The schools near camps were ½ -2km from the camps, while schools far from camps were 4km onwards from camps. The pupils were also grouped according to gender, as male and female. The study established that, despite a significant awareness of lifeskills among teachers and pupils, pupils in schools near camps were more aware of lifeskills than pupils in schools far from camps. The headteachers and teachers in schools far from camps were less involved in the promotion of lifeskills than their counterparts in schools near camps. Application of lifeskills also varied between pupils in schools near camps and those far from camps. This is partly due to the less involvement of headteachers and teachers, less utilization of structures such as debating/writers clubs, guidance and counselling sessions. The study further established that teachers do not have enough time, funds, lack lifeskills materials, face cultural influence. In conclusion most pupils in schools far from camps are not aware of lifeskills compared to pupils in schools near camps. Application of lifeskills by pupils is still weak. Most teachers face numerous problems in the promotion of lifeskills. Therefore to reduce the level of awareness of lifeskills, materials on lifeskills need to be supplied to schools. Other stake holders like parents, medical personnel need to be brought on board. On challenges faced by teachers; lifeskills could be allocated time on the timetable or a core subject on lifeskills be introduced in schools. Funding lifeskills activities could be considered.