Endline findings of an evaluation of the Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) programme in Uganda have shown that more girls are getting enrolled for ordinary level studies across PEAS schools compared with non-PEAS schools.

The findings show that the percentages of girls enrolled in O-Level for 2017 first term stands at 51 percent compared to 43 and 49 percent enrolled in government and private schools respectively.

The figures present a gradually rising percentage of girls getting enrolled in PEAS schools in the recent past. For example, term three of 2016 saw 50 percent girls enrol in PEAS schools for O-Level, while 42 percent went to government schools and 49 percent studied in private schools.

These and more are the findings of the endline survey, which evaluated the performance of the PEAS Network under the Uganda’s Universal Secondary Education (USE) programme.

Mildred Barungi, a Research Fellow at Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) shared the final results of the three-year evaluation during a PEAS-Ark Learning Summit held in Kampala on April 18, 2018.

According to Barungi, PEAS schools have expanded access to the least advantaged children and are also taking on the biggest challenge of any school type. PEAS schools accept more challenging students than any other schools: those who come from socio-economically disadvantaged (poor) households, and who performed poorly in primary leaving examinations.

Despite the generally expanded access to secondary schooling, the percentage of girls who enrol for Advanced Level in PEAS schools remains very low, a scenario that extends to government and private schools. In 2017 first term, only 23 percent girls enrolled for Advanced Level across PEAS schools. 31 percent went to government schools and 38 percent studied in private schools.

Nangonde PEAS High School copy

Further, the survey finds that girls and poorer students comprise the majority of those failing to continue their studies.

The tendency of students leaving school before completing the term on average stands at 8.4 percent with parent’s inability to afford fees, long distance between school and home and early pregnancies being the commonest causes.

Barungi notes that a significant number of pupils pass PLE but fail to meet the eligibility criterion (28 aggregates in PLE) for accessing subsidised secondary education under the USE programme.

51percent of the pupils who sat PLE in 2016 did not attain first and second grades and many did not qualify for theUganda Universal Secondary Education, a government scholarship launched in 2007.
To address these anomalies, PEAS schools have increased admission to secondary schooling by establishing schools in poor rural locations and by allowing a more generous academic cut-off point for enrolment at S.1.

For pupils joining s.1, PEAS schools on average offered the highest (most generous) cut-off PLE aggregates (30 for both boys and girls).

Summary statements on the evaluation of the PEAS programme

PEAS has been operating under the USE Private Public Partnership (PPP) to open schools in poor and under-served communities, and accepting pupils who would fail to gain access to secondary education elsewhere.

Compared to non-PEAS schools, PEAS schools are more effective at raising student academic achievement levels; this is greatly attributed to PEAS’ system of training and other support given to teachers, and emphasis on the development of strong school leaders.

PEAS schools achieve the most with their resources, educating the most challenging students at a similar operating cost to government schools, and charging families the least.

 

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