Improving basic reading skills is a main educational initiative undertaken in many developing countries. This study presents analyses of student reading skills in rural Malawi by focusing on student weaknesses as well as their reading features and habits. Three research questions were answered: What test questions are difficult? What reading features did tested students demonstrate? How did reading features differ between achievement levels? Results suggest that tested students used context and simple sentence structure to match words, but they had difficulty using context and simple sentence structure to match information in short passages. Students demonstrated use of prior knowledge, imagination, and preconceived ideas based on their daily life; they chose answers based on terms used in the questions, and they struggled to combine information in the passages to answer the questions. Those with overall low scores showed these features when answering basic-level questions, and those with midrange and low scores demonstrated these features when addressing the intermediate-level questions. The majority of students demonstrated these reading features when handling advanced-level questions. The findings contribute to efforts for improving reading skills in Malawian primary students.
This study aimed to investigate the determinants of rural primary school attendance in Tanzania among in-school (public school) children and out-of-school children (children who have never enrolled) based on the Uwezo Household Survey in 2012. In addition, the factors of school attendance were compared between cohort 1 (7- and 8-year-olds) and cohort 2 (13- and 14-year-olds) to see the difference in factors by age. Binary logistic regression was performed to identify the factors in school attendance. The results showed that both among cohort 1 and cohort 2, the most influential factor was pre-school experience. Children who attended pre-school were approximately 2.8 times more likely to attend school in cohort 1. Furthermore, in the case of cohort 2, the probability of school enrollment increased 10 times over children who did not attend pre-school. From these results, it was found that pre-school experience has great potential to encourage not only younger children but also adolescents, on whom it has an even greater impact. Additionally, mother’s level of education and home language were found to be significant common variables, which have a relatively big impact on school enrollment. On the other hand, the gender of the child was significant only among cohort 1. Younger boys tended to enroll in school less than girls although the difference was not significant among adolescents. This might be related to the higher opportunity cost among younger boys. As these factor differences show, the characteristics of out-of-school children differ greatly by age. Therefore, the Tanzanian government needs to provide appropriate policies which take the age of out-of-school children into consideration.
This qualitative research explores how persons with visual impairment in Sudan experience inclusion and exclusion in different aspects of education. Ten participants were interviewed in groups and as individuals. The research identifies that the freedom of reading, mobility, having reciprocal relationships with friends, and developing self-confidence should be realised in education to be inclusive for the participants. The participants expected that respectful relationships, employment, marriage, and agency to change the environment should be realised through education. The research suggests that school type (regular or special) does not necessarily determine the realisation of all of these elements. The research also finds that persons with visual impairment actively negotiate their environment to be included in education and society. Finally, the research argues that persons with visual impairment should be regarded as active agents of change in society rather than as mere targets of inclusive education.