Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 26 schools in Masaka district did not score a single first grade in the 2019 Primary Leaving Examination-PLE results released on Friday, January 17.
According to figures released by the Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB, the entire Masaka district had a total of 142 seating centres, with 50 schools located within Masaka municipality and others distributed in the rural sub-counties of the district.
However, 26 out of a total of 92 centres from the rural sub-counties did not have a single candidate scoring a first grade in the 2019 PLE results. The first grade starts at aggregate four to aggregate 12.
Gerald Nsambu, the Masaka district Education Principal Inspector says that out of 4,607 candidates who sat for their PLE from Masaka district last year, only 526 scored aggregates in the first grade. 1,043 were in second grades, 1,836 in the third grades, while 1,021 scored aggregates in the fourth grades. Most of the schools that had no first grades are government-aided.
The schools collectively had 510 candidates classified under Division U. The grading is awarded to candidates who have failed to reach the minimum level of performance that can be awarded at least a Division 4. Such candidates are advised to repeat.
They include Bukakata Primary where 22 out of 66 candidates were ungraded, Bulando Primary School with Seven out of 26 candidates ungraded, Butaya Primary school with four ungraded candidates out of a population of 23 pupils and Buwunde Primary School which had eight out of its 56 candidates ungraded.
The others are Kabanda Primary with 7 out of 20 emerging ungraded, Kajuna Primary with six out of 15 candidates ungraded, Katikamu Primary with seven out of 30 ungraded, Kitunga Muslim with six out of 33 candidates ungraded, Bujju Primary school with three out of its fifteen pupils ungraded.
Nsambu says that although there been a decline in the general performance, the number of government schools implementing the Universal Primary Education-UPE, maintaining average performance has not dropped.
Nsambu says that their general performance rate has also slightly reduced compared to the previous two years of 2017 and 2018 when 400 and 307 candidates respectively were ungraded.
He, however, added that they are going to identify headteachers who have consistently failed to improve performance and forward them to the relevant authorities for action.
UNEB also indicates that 100 candidates remained unaccounted for as they registered but did not turn up to write the exams. 75 of these were from centres outside Masaka Municipality. Nsambu says that they have instructed all headteachers to closely liaise with the local leaders to ensure that such students are followed up.
Sylvester Tumuhimbise, the headteacher of Bujju Primary School located in Kyantale parish in Kyannamukaaka sub-county says besides complaints of the complexity of questions from candidates that wrote the exams last year, some of their schools are also faced with structural challenges that include, among others, shortage of staff and learning aids that greatly affect their performance.