Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Fortidas Bakuza

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Fredrick Mtenzi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The performance of learners in the ordinary secondary section has been low over the years in Uganda. Many learners fail to pass chemistry at ordinary secondary level as such, very few students offer the subject at higher levels. The general purpose of this study was to explore factors contributing to low achievement of learners in chemistry at ordinary secondary section in a mixed secondary school in Katrini sub-county, Terego district, Uganda. A qualitative research approach with a case study design was applied. The sample size had twenty-two participants made up of ten females and twelve males in the following categories: one head teacher and one chemistry teacher purposively selected, ten old students sampled using snowball sampling technique and ten current senior three learners selected using simple random sampling method. Findings showed several factors contributing to low achievement of learners: categorized as school factors, learner factors, and teachers’ classroom dynamics. The school factors are: poorly equipped smaller laboratory, smaller library with few textbooks for chemistry, few chemistry teachers, inadequate ICT services, learner factors include: negative attitude of learners, missing lessons, negative peer influence and poor health of learners, teacher classroom dynamics: some teachers do not have adequate knowledge of the subject in some topics, teachers teach chemistry theoretically not practically meaning there are few practicals in the subject, teachers do not simplify the complex language in chemistry for the learners to understand the subject. The new findings include: teachers fail to use the environment in teaching and learning of chemistry, inadequate preparation by teachers, and negative peer influence. The government needs to recruit more chemistry teachers and improve classroom, laboratory, and library facilities, the school administration needs to provide bursaries and guidance for learners and teachers need to teach practically so that the learners can understand the concepts in chemistry clearly.