Factors influencing attendance of the community preferred primary schools in refugee hosting districts in Uganda
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This study bases on improved school attendance as a key for better education outcomes to establish demographic, household socio-economic, and school factors that influence attendance of the community preferred primary schools in refugee hosting districts in Uganda. The community preferred primary schools were those attended by the largest proportion of children residing in the community. Four refugee hosting districts of Adjumani, Yumbe, Arua and Isingiro were selected for collection of the data since these host the largest refugee population in the country. The primary outcome was school choice (attendance or non-attendance of the community preferred primary schools). Chi-squares were used to test the relationship between school choice and the demographic, school and household socio-economic characteristics. A logistic regression model was used to establish the relationship between school choice and the predictor variables. Older children, especially those in Yumbe district were more likely to attend the community preferred primary schools (AOR= 2.261, p<0.05). Households with no latrines or toilets had their primary school children more likely to attend the community preferred primary schools (AOR=2.048, p<0.05) than children from households having pit latrines with a slab. Similarly, households that depended on water trucking as their household main water source had their children more likely to attend the community preferred primary schools (AOR=6.846, p<0.05) compared to children from households those that used borehole as their main water source. In addition, refugee children were more likely to attend the community preferred primary school compared to nationals (p<0.05). In contrast, children from households that depended on UNHCR stipend, were less likely to attend the community’s preferred primary schools (AOR=0.399, p<0.05) compared to children from farming households. This affirms that availability of income at a household level is a fundamental factor in influencing school attendance by children. Refugee households continue to experience financial constraints as result of higher dependence on relief support which is never sufficient and sustainable. In conclusion, household welfare and sanitation factors were major predictors of attendance of the community preferred primary schools. This could suggest that interventions to improve household incomes and sanitation facilities at both household and school level could greatly improve primary school attendance among children in the refugee hosting districts.