Compulsory science policy: enhancing gender equality in education? A case study of academic achievement in Uganda
This paper communicates the results of a diagnostic evaluation of the performance of boys and girls in physical sciences at Ordinary level in Uganda after the adoption of the compulsory science policy. The objectives of the study were twofold: to examine the academic performance of boys and girls in the Uganda National Examinations from 2007 to 2010, and to highlight key factors that continue to influence the achievement of students, especially girls in sciences. Data was obtained from five co-educational secondary schools using documentary reviews, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The results revealed that the performance of both boys and girls have further declined after the implementation of the compulsory science policy. However, in comparison to the boys, girls in co-educational schools were still more likely to be among the poorest performers in sciences. This was attributed to a number of factors, key among them being girls' self-concept in sciences, and teachers' perception of girls' abilities in sciences. These findings reiterate the need to mainstream gender into both policy design and implementation.