What Next for Children Who Performed Poorly?

As some children and parents are jubilating over their success in the recently released Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results, some are disappointed and depressed due to results that weren’t that pleasing. Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results will also be released soon and the same cycle will commence.

These children and the parents alike, cannot reverse the process and neither can they do anything to change the results. So being hard on the children doesn’t help and could actually cause trauma and depression.

These children need comfort, hope and someone looking out for them other than just criticism. Here are the different ways you can ease the tension for a child who has failed their exams.

Talk to them

Margaret Tumusiime, a teacher and counselling Physiologist, notes that rather than blaming them, you should talk to them in a calm and encouraging manner.

Some of the polite phrases may be, “this is not the end of the world, you will do better in O and A level, you tried your best, some people performed worse.”

“This is not time to bark at them, they are already going through an emotional torture,” she says.

 Give him/her options


Bernard Mukisa, a primary teacher, says that you should give them options and let them make their own choices. Repeating the class or continuing and working hard to get better grades in O’level.  Depending on their decision, set good study habits on how they can do better.

Teach them to accept their results

Use this time to teach them that life isn’t only about winning. Tumusiime notes that you should teach the children that there is winning and losing and how you take your failure determines your strength.

“Tell them that accepting defeat is the greatest gift a person can have because it helps you prepare better for your coming journey and avoid all the mistakes you could have made,” she adds.

Give them tangible examples

If you know of people who didn’t perform well at a certain level but did well on other levels, use them. Show them how they can turn their life around for better even after failure. Teach them that failure at one level doesn’t mean the world has ended.

Advise them

Take this chance to advise them on the best practices on how to do well in school for example by reading hard, not to play in class, to listen to teachers among other good practices.

You can also take this time to know where you failed as a parent so that you support them better next time.

“You should also help them discover their strengths and weaknesses so that they can concentrate more on their weaknesses to become better people,” Mukisa adds.

Tips on how to help your child perform better in school

  • Give them reading materials
  • Feed them well
  • Be involved in their studies (talk to their teachers and follow up on their performance in class. Ask the teachers on how you can get involved.
  • Talk to them to understand what causes the poor performance.
  • Set rewards to be given at the end of term depending on their performance, this could be a tour, picnic or gifts.
  • Know who their friends are, in most cases the friends we have determine who we are.
  • Talk to them, make your child your friend so that they can openly tell you what bothers them.
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