A new has shown that only two per cent of Ugandan adolescents have the ability to solve some of their daily life problems.
These are the ones who are able to recognize the existence of a problem from multiple perspectives and understand that there may be multiple solutions to evaluate and select from.
The Uganda study targeted a total of 11,074 adolescents aged 13-17 years, from 7,815 households across 400 enumeration areas in 20 districts was conducted by Assessment of Life Skills and Values (ALiVE), an initiative of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI).
According to the study, most (53 per cent) of the adolescents are able to recognize the existence of a problem from one perspective and act on that to identify a possible solution. They are however unable to identify multiple approaches to solving a problem.
It also found that 33 per cent of adolescents struggle to recognize a problem and therefore unable to identify a possible solution and only 12 per cent are able to recognize existence of a problem from one perspective, identify a main approach to solving it and can justify it.
The assessment, the largest in life skills assessment in Uganda, was also carried out in the other two East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania. In addition to problem solving, it targeted two other life skills of collaboration, self-awareness and one value of respect.
Ugandans have for long been known to be among the most respectful people in the region. However, in the study; overall, only 9 per cent of Ugandan adolescents express high respect for others.
“Whereas 48 per cent of the adolescents were able to interpret bad behaviour as a lack of respect for others and may take conciliatory steps to resolve situations, only 9 per cent was able to act respectfully in defense of others and self ”.
Notes the report. According to the ALiVE assessment tool, respect goes beyond only interpreting bad behaviour and looks at respect to self, others and property.
Mary Goretti Nakabugo, the executive director of UWEZO Uganda, who spearheaded the study said that as much as informally the education system talks about nurturing, facilitating and fostering these skills, the findings show that we still have a long way to go. She however noted that there is hope because the recently introduced lower secondary school curriculum focuses so much on students’ competencies but this should be started from the lower levels to create a strong foundation.
“The implication of this is that if we don’t take up the challenge of ensuring that all our young people whether they are in school or not are equipped with these life skills and values, then it puts the country in danger because the world is very uncertain and we need to prepare our young people to face the uncertain world,” Nakabugo said.
She, therefore, noted that firstly the parents need to make sure that children grow up in an environment which nurtures these problem-solving skills.