Factors Affecting Academic Achievement of Children with Special Needs in Uganda Primary Education
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The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting academic achievement of children with special needs in Ugandan primary education. This study utilized 24,241 pupils‟ data of literacy and numeracy test scores at grade six of the year 2012 obtained from NAPE. The pupil and school level data was obtained from EMIS for the year 2012. Based on Glewwe & Kremer (2005) production function, the OLS regression models were estimated using STATA software. The mean score for the pupils in literacy was 17.5 and for numeracy was 34.4. Age was found to be significant and academic achievement dropped with increase in age. Sex was also significant and female pupils were found to be highly likely to obtain 1.6 marks more in literacy and 4.7 marks less in numeracy than male pupils. Academic achievement improved positively by placing a pupil in a private rather than government school. Pupils in full boarding schools were more likely to obtain 11.4 marks in literacy and 8.9 marks higher in numeracy rather than pupils in day schools. The effect becomes negative and significant for a pupil in a full boarding school compared to one in a partly boarding or day school. Pupils located in rural areas performed worse than those in urban areas. More qualified teachers were found to be better than teachers with other qualifications other than Diploma in Primary Education. In terms of school distance from home, the study established that the farther the pupil‟s home from school, the better their academic achievement which is surprising. Interaction of age and sex revealed that female pupils in 14-16 year age group are likely to obtain 1.5 more marks in numeracy than males in a younger age group (< = 13 years). After interacting sex and location, it was found that scores for female pupils in rural areas dropped significantly by 2.2 marks than males in literacy but location was not significant for numeracy. Female pupils other than male ones in partly boarding schools performed worse in both literacy and numeracy than their counterparts in day schools and full boarding schools. The study recommends that pupils with special needs should enrol at an early age for school. Secondly, strategies to close the gender gap in academic achievement can be devised. It is important that better qualified teachers are recruited for better academic achievement of pupils with special needs.