Rural children are still not getting their basic education up to Grade 8 which they are entitled to under the national education reform system, according to an education expert.
“This is because some community schools in the rural areas have not been given primary school status, forcing students to drop out of Grade 6 with the limited space in other primary schools,” Flexible, Open and Distance Education (FODE) provincial coordinator Robert Alua said.
He said there were many Grade 6 and 8 leavers who could not make it to the next level, forcing them to drop out of school young.
He said the reform system had also produced many students who dropped out of primary school with nowhere else to go to except villages.
“Because of this, FODE, formerly known as the college of distance education (CODE), provided a venue for students to upgrade their marks and continue with their education,” he said.
Mr Alua said the curriculum was similar to that offered by university open campuses.
“FODE has an advantage to the formal education system because it has the capacity to hold many students. Grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 school leavers are enrolled by FODE.
“Students who completed Grade 10 at FODE have been selected to continue in secondary schools while those who completed Grade 12 are selected for colleges,” he said.
He announced that matriculation studies were introduced last year for Grade 10 leavers to study Grade 11 and 12, in which a total of 25 students were enrolled this year.
He raised concern that students upgrading their marks were discriminated by selectors who viewed such students as having low intelligence.
Mr Alua challenged secondary schools to “give them a shot” and let them prove otherwise.
He also called on the Government to continue supporting the programme because it was the only education institution accommodating Grade 6 to 10 dropouts.