BOSCO Uganda runs 27 ICT Research Centers across northern Uganda. The centers are open to the public, and are mainly frequented by students who are wish to do school revision or to use the internet for research. While many users find the centers useful however, statistics indicate that the number of female users has remained stagnated as indicated. A case in point is statistics from Bardege ICT center, located in the center of Gulu Town.
In comparison to the male users who turn up in large numbers to use the facility, the tally of female users has remained low in the month of January, a month synonymous with busy revision by holiday makers who turn up for not only revision purposes but to also complete holiday assignments.
According to statistics compiled by Joseph Tabu the Manager at the research center, the month of January however did not live to expectations as only 40 female students were registered contributing to only 14.3% of the library usage population while the male users took the rest with 239 male users registered making a total of 279 users for the first month of the year.
Lorna Mary Lakica a senior four student at Our Lady of Good Counsel Secondary School in Gayaza cites demand for housework as a key reason for the poor turn up of the female users.
“As girls we are expected to do housework and help out at home which makes it difficult for us to come and read or research” she says.
To Prossy Atimango a senior 6 student at Sacred Heart Secondary School however, it is the lack of support from parents which she feels contributes to the girl child not using the facilities
“Parents are strict so it becomes difficult for some girls to leave home to go and read in the library,” she says. “Besides at times it is laxity on the part of the students leading to their failure to recognize the need to begin preparation for the new term early enough”
The reason for the reduction in number of female library users is however not one Alice Arach, a mother to a library user agrees with. For her it is the students to blame owing to the fact that they use the opportunity to dodge housework and leave home.
With the rampant decline in female student performance in the region, the promotion of female usage of library and research facilities could be a solution to the problem of poor performance. This however calls for hard-work and cooperation from all parties, that is: the parents and students. In the meantime, BOSCO Uganda will continue to play its part effectively through keeping the research facilities at the library open.
Ivan Rackara is a student at UCU Mukono