Why many Ugandan students fail to attend college


University is extremely important as a stage in higher education. This is because it prepares students for employment through equipping them with the necessary skills they need to be able to make a living for themselves.

All factors constant, every student would love to attend college, but for one or more reasons, they fail. In Uganda, this happens on a massive scale, as there is a high percentage of students that don’t attend university immediately after their high school.

The reasons include;

1. Financial incapacitation

Being a third world country, Uganda has a large number of poor people. It is therefore quite obvious that many of these people fail to take their children to university for further education, unless they’ve worked extremely hard and sacrificed lots of things.

There are numerous factors under this which include;

  • Orphanage

It is common that children who lose one or both parents  usually fail to go far with their education, unless they get assistance from good Samaritans along the way.

  • Poor family background

Being born in a poor family usually leads to a bunch of challenges in education, especially higher education.

Even though some children collaborate with their parents and work to beat the odds, it is still a challenge that many fail to get over.

  • Single parenthood

Single parents, especially mothers have all odds against them when it comes to paying school fees for their children until completion.

However, some of them  still beat the odds and make it, especially if they are educated and have decent jobs, or work extremely hard without rest.

2. Poor academic performance

To maintain a reputation and good performance streaks, universities have also set their minimum points to admit students. Below that, you cant have a place in the school.

Students that find themselves below the minimum, usually fail to attend university as a result of this.

3. Dropouts

Some students, due to various reasons, drop out of school at an earlier stage, and the reasons include the following;

  • Early parenthood and marriage
  • Lack of school fees
  • Poor academic performance
  • Societal factors

When students drop out before they are done with their A’ level, it usually means they have no chance to attend college.

4. Young Money syndrome

This is my personal term for when a child gets/ makes money at a young age that they feel no need to go further with education. This usually happens under some of these situations;

  • During senior Four vacation when students get menial jobs to keep them busy and earning a penny.
  • When the student is the one working to pay their own school fees, and they eventually get burned out.
  • Hearing stereotypes about unemployed young people that went to college.
  • Fear of losing the job if they go ahead with further education.

Under these circumstances, students deliberately drop out and work without looking back.

5. Postponement

Due to a couple of factors especially low funds, students deliberately decide to postpone higher education for a while.

In this, they decide  that they will go back and pursue their desired education goals once the situation gets better.

Also, it is common that aspiring law students below 14 points at A’ Level, are not allowed to do pre entry tests at Makerere university.

However, these students are allowed to come back after five years, to sit for Mature entry tests and can start thereafter.

Therefore, some students postpone their potential education goals for that matter.

6. False belief system

Some parents and students have false beliefs about higher education, thus hindering them from joining university. They include;

  • Girls don’t need to go for higher education
  • Financing your child’s university education makes them  weak and incompetent
  • Some religions don’t believe in taking children for further education

7. Existence of alternatives

Lots of young people these days have resorted to online education instead of university.

This is because these online education options are more practical and a lot cheaper than university. Some of them include;

  • YouTube
  • Edutopia
  • Prager University

With these options in place, many students have turned out just fine or even better than those that attended college.

This has also come to the notice of employers and these days, they are more about the experience and portfolio of the applicant, and less concerned about their academic qualifications.

8. Denial of parents

Some  parents, due to personal reasons, deny their children a chance to attend university for higher education.

Without lawsuits or uncomfortable follow-ups, these decisions stand and consequently, students fail to attend university for higher education.


The above factors are a great hindrance to anyone aspiring for college. However, I have witnessed a couple of students that had a passion for university education, that even if they were faced by any of the above challenges, they worked around it and translated their dream into reality.

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