According to research made by Flavia Lanyero from Kampala, it was reported that girls are likely to perform better if they are in a single-sex school than in a mixed school based on an analysis of the O’Level results released recently. The outcome of the examinations revealed that single sex-schools for the two sexes dominated the first 20 top positions in rankings for the best schools based on the number of students they had Division One. This was as a result of the general question “A single-sex school is better than a mixed school. Agreed?”
Sunday Monitor analysed data from at least 30 top performing schools of which 20 were single sex-schools with boys’ schools taking 13 positions and girls eight positions.
The good performance could be linked to less distraction of the opposite sex. Traditionally, top performing schools have also tended to be boarding and single-sex schools, save for unique cases that has maintained top performance over the years despite being mixed.
Overall, boys-only schools continue to dominate and generally male students performed better than girls. The number should worry planners for a country where there are more women than men meaning that the future workforce should ideally be skewed in favour of the fair gender but imbalances in academic achievement might continue to sustain male dominance longer.
The fact that female students consistently perform poorly in science subjects at all levels though they edge men in English language and Literature also means a narrowing of options for women. The boys have maintained their dominance with 10.2 per cent of them passing in first grade while 6.6 per cent of the girls passed with division one.
Girls on the other hand dominated division four with 47.7 per cent compared to 39.9 percent of boys. However, in spite of their apparent clear advantage, government has been working to discourage single-sex schools, living the remaining few old and new ones in the hands of institutional founders mainly faith-based groups.
Former Education Minister Namirembe Bitamazire is of the view that there is no magic between single-sex schools and mixed; in fact she wishes all schools were made mixed saying it would increase access to education. The UNEB secretary, Mr Mathew Bukenya, said on Wednesday the percentage of girls completing the Uganda Certificate of Education Course is almost the same as that of the boys.