A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Mixed and Single Sex Schools in Western Uganda: A Case Study of Plus Two High School & Kashaka Girl’s S.S.S
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The development of the education sector, has been a long standing objective of the Government of Tanzania since independence, in 1962 (Massawe and Kipingu 2000). Secondary education is considered by education stakeholders and players as a basic need and a basic right (Mosha, 2004; Meeker, 2003; Massawe and Kipingu, 2000). The Uganda’s education system, is dominated by examination-oriented teaching whereby passing examinations is the only benchmark for performance because there is no internal system, of monitoring learning achievements at other levels within education cycle (Mosha, 2000). However, it is generally agreed that, the most important manifestations of quality education have to do with literacy, cognitive abilities and performance in terms of passing national examinations and progression to higher levels of learning (Mosha, 2000). The Uganda educational system is composed of both public and private schools of which, some are single sex and others are mixed schools with different learning environment. Single-sex schooling has attracted interest among education professionals, researchers, media, politicians and parents (UNICEF (2003). It is therefore argued that girls and boys should learn differently and, thus, should be educated in separate environments in order to maximize their potentials. A study by Mosha (2000) shows that, students from single-sex schools scored higher than students from co-educational schools. Though factors like; socio-economic status, parental support, school traditions and ethos, have also been demonstrated to have an effect on student’s performance. Unless the effects of such variables are controlled, the true effects of single-sex schooling cannot be determined. Comparatively in the United States, attention has been drawn to the differences in the academic performance of adolescent boys and girls where there is clear evidence that boys are performing at a lower level than girls, there is less certainty about how this situation can be addressed (DETYA, 2000). There is considerable debate about gender streaming and whether or not it is 2 effective in ensuring long term improvement in the learning of both genders. Some scholars raise concerns on equality and privilege in single-sex schooling (Matekere, 2003). Different in treatment is due to the sense that students in single sex schools are free to interact with students from other schools. They have access to find out some of the missing learning materials which are not found in their respective school for example in the regional library and students’ centre. Scholars like (Omari, 2001) describe the intention of having single sex schools as to eliminate the distraction that sexuality can cause for students. Student in single sex schools are able to concentrate well on school work without having people of the opposite sex who will draw their attention (Raphael 2008). In the single sex learning environment, student can receive better education and get to know who they truly are without the constant distraction of bidding for the affections of students of the opposite sex. From these expectations many parents send their children to single sex schools believing that they would perform better. Yet the performance of students in these schools is still questionable, particularly the performance of girls as compared to boys. In real sense, Girls are likely to perform better if they are in a single-sex school than in a mixed school. For example, Single sex-schools both for boys and girls dominated the first 20 top positions in rankings for the best schools based on the number of students who had Division One (NECTA, 2011).
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Abeja, Sharon Etutu