Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Institute on Family and Community Life

Committee Member

Bonnie Holaday

Committee Member

Arelis Moore de Peralta

Committee Member

Kenneth Robinson


Globally, many professionals are concerned about primary school dropouts. Especially alarming is that girls drop out at higher rates in comparison with boys. Although this problem affects many girls, girls in specific areas are at a greater risk of not completing primary school education. Additionally, although researchers identified various micro- and macro-level factors that relate to school dropout, research is lacking on local conditions that shape education trajectory among girls in specific areas. Given the unique context and the lack of research assessing factors associated with dropout in separate districts in Uganda, the primary objective of this exploratory investigation was to identify factors most associated with primary school dropout in the Busolwe sub-county, Butaleja district of Eastern Uganda, including: (1) internal factors (perceived self-efficacy motivation to go to school, and perception of gender equality ); (2) family environment (household chores, perceived parental attitude toward education, and adolescents’ perceptions of parents’ ability to meet family needs); and (3) school environment (school infrastructure, and perceived teacher support, and safety at school. Descriptive analysis established the major contributing factors to girls’ dropping out could be grouped into three categories—girls’ internal characteristics, family environment, and school environment. A series of binomial logistic regression analyses established that girls’ internal characteristics – motivation and perceived gender equality; family environment –perceived parental attitude to girls’ education, perceived parental ability to provide for the family, and staying home to do household chores instead of going to school were significantly associated with girls’ dropping out of school. Future strategies and policies should focus on addressing parental attitudes and incomes and girls’ internal characteristics, such as motivation and gender equality perceptions.



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