Many students are naturally capable of performing and excelling in science subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Agriculture. However, they usually resort to Arts subjects and descend down the rabbit hole of unemployment, even though they were rather passionate about the science subjects.
What pushes them that far? It’s fear of failure. This is because many of the students that choose science subjects usually struggle and underperform in these subjects. In this article, we are taking a look at why these subjects are being underperformed in most schools.
1. Government loopholes
The government, through the Ministry of Education and Sports is entirely responsible for the dynamics of the country’s education. To be honest, they haven’t done enough to promote science subjects in the government-aided schools. Here are a few examples;
- Ministry of education records indicate that 102 out of the 1,067 government schools do not have any teacher for mathematics on payroll
- Some 104 schools have no teacher for physics, while 93 lack Biology teachers.
- Such schools depend on part-time or usually unqualified teachers
Now, this right there sets a bad example for the private schools, because private schools usually do what the government has enforced, especially those with limited capital. Here are some of the ways that the government should do to promote a high pass rate
- Hire more science teachers on full-time basis
- Encourage more students at university to specialize in teaching science subjects
- Create favorable conditions for science teachers in government schools
Of course these remedies aren’t relevant for the short term because they don’t yield immediate results, but the effects play out in the long term.
2. Poorly stocked laboratory
Practical lessons are a great part of science subjects. This is because all except Math, have a practical paper to them; and that necessitates a fully stocked science laboratory. However, here’s why some schools don’t have fully stocked science labs at all;
- The equipment are costly, and some private schools don’t have enough funds
- Some schools borrow equipment from others on rare occasions
- Few teachers to teach the practical part
- Failure to maintain the lab equipment in case of damage or vandalism
- Some schools don’t even have a science lab
As a result of this, many students stand a high chance of failing these subjects no matter how passionate they are or how much they read.
3. Shortage of science teachers
Teachers are the main and most important determinant of the success of students in any academic discipline. This is why some schools have few science teachers;
- Low pay, which is a disincentive to teachers
- Bankruptcy of the school
- Limited science teachers in the job market
Shortage of these teachers is a disaster, because some schools use a few teachers to teach multiple classes, leaving them tired and not as effective as they should be.
5. Ill-trained teachers
Some schools, in effort to look like they have enough staff, they hire teachers that aren’t fully trained or experienced in teaching science subjects. Here’s why
- Inexperienced teachers are relatively cheaper to maintain
- Some administrators aren’t about substance at all
- It is easier to overwork inexperienced teachers, because most of them don’t know or care about their own rights.
Ill-trained teachers, no matter how hard they work or how much experience they happen to gain in th long run, they are not as effective as the qualified teachers.
This, therefore, causes massive failures among science students because most of them won’t understand what they are taught.
6. More students in arts
Now, this is not the fault of any student, because they all make their choices based on what they see happen to others and what they would like to happen to them. However, these are the effects of students going for arts;
- The schools put more emphasis on arts, leaving sciences behind
- Science students are pretty convinced that their subjects are hard, so they are more afraid than ambitious.
These effects create a cycle of failure in science subjects that can only be broken using revised and systematic approaches.
7. Lack of career guidance for students
Career guidance plays a huge role in the success of every student as they progress to their “A” Level or to university. This is where a teacher or parent sits down with a student and gives them advice on what choice of subjects/ courses they have to choose.
This immensely benefits students and contributes to their success, and lack of it has negative effects such as;
- Students picking the wrong subjects
- Picking the wrong combination, even though they were capable of science subjects
- Failure to achieve good grades in the subjects they have picked
There are so many students that aren’t meant to do science subjects at their advanced levels, and they usually fail terribly because no one guided them on their choice of combination.
8. Limited incentives for science students
In Uganda, the future always seems uncertain to students, because of the visible clouds of unemployment that are set to rain on them once they set a foot out of school.
This is because the government has done too little to promote a positive attitude towards science subjects. The government needs to have incentives like;
- Scholarship opportunities
- Lower entry points to university
- Job opportunities
The thing that students fear most is putting in lots of effort and watching it all go to waste. This is why some settle for any subjects that come their way, as long as they can qualify to get an “A” level pass slip.
9. Lack of science-favoring policies
Still, the government has done little to nothing as far as setting rules for private school owners is concerned. However, the government needs private school policies on;
- Stocking of school laboratories
- Employing more qualified science teachers
- Balancing the efforts on both arts and sciences
These and more similar policies have a high chance of working before a school has been established. But once established, many schools start figuring out ways to dodge unfavorable government policies.
As many problems usually are, this one will take quite a while to solve. The government recently announced that they were to come up with strategies to solve the problem here, but we still don’t know how long it will take. However, the status quo now depends on the choice of school that every parent makes and the daily administrative decisions that run the school.