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No Easter for Nakaseke teachers who sat kids’ exam as they await results

Nakaseke teachers writing their exams

Nakaseke, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There will be no celebration over the Easter weekend in the hearts of the Nakaseke teachers who were made to sit the children’s exams to see if they are still fit to hold their jobs, as they will still be anxiously waiting for the results of their performance.

The Nakaseke District LC V chairman Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka has revealed that the examination results of the 2023 mock papers which were administered to 40 primary school teachers in his jurisdiction mid this month (March) will be released after the Easter holiday.

The Easter holiday starts on Holy Thursday and ends on Easter Monday on 1st April. The teachers from 19 primary schools that performed poorly in last year’s Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) sat for the papers at Nakaseke Technical Institute. The exams were meant to test the teachers’ subject knowledge.

This was after Koomu had on several occasions expressed concern about the persistent failures in PLE every other year. He has always been skeptical about the teachers’ competencies to teach well.

Moments after writing the said papers, Koomu said that he didn’t expect any teacher to score below 90 per cent. According to the 2023 PLE results for Nakaseke district, 604 candidates (12.9%) passed in the first division, 2,706 candidates (57.9%) in the second division, 728 candidates (15.6%) in the third division, and 361 candidates (7.7%) in Division four. The results indicate that 276 candidates (5.6%) failed and 138 candidates (2.9%) of 4,813 candidates that registered didn’t sit the examinations in 2023.

The worst performing schools were Kagando Mixed Primary School where 59% of candidates failed, Kikamulo C/U where 50% failed, Timuna P/S where 45% of registered candidates failed and St Steven Standard P/S where they registered 38% failed.

Others included Wakayamba P/S where 35% of the candidates failed, Butikwa project P/S where 33% failed and Joshua Zaake P/S where 24% of candidates failed.   Koomu ordered the Education Department to subject the teachers who taught the learners in the affected schools to a simple exam.

The mock examinations they sat for were exactly the same that were administered to the 2023 PLE candidates.   Koomu argues that learners could be failing the examinations because the teachers don’t know what they are teaching and are incompetent to enable candidates to pass.  He said that the district had piled pressure on head teachers to ensure that all learners pass but these shifted the blame on incompetent teachers which forced them to administer exams to them.

The district also intends to administer Primary Leaving Examinations to the teachers next year as an ongoing measure to test their competence and take action against them.   Those who fail the examinations face demotion to lower classes and others are likely to face the Rewards and Sanctions Committee for disciplinary action.  The district also intends to demote head teachers of schools where over 10% of candidates failed PLE.

But earlier on Emmanuel Kizza, the Chairperson of Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu), Nakaseke branch said that it was unfair to blame head teachers and teachers over poor performance without addressing causes that include understaffing, lack of accommodation and automatic promotion of weak students among others.

Since the Nakaseke district council passed the resolution to demote head teachers over poor PLE results in 2017, over 40 head teachers have been demoted to classrooms but later re-instated after showing commitment to work and improving performance.

In 2018, Nakaseke District Council passed a resolution to administer PLE to the teachers to test competence but the Ministry of Education and Sports halted the implementation after protests emerged from the Teachers’ Union.   The ministry indicated that there was no approved policy stating if a teacher scores below the given mark in any competency test he/she can be laid off.

Speaking in Nakaseke, Koomu has without divulging much, revealed that the best teacher scored 91 per cent, while the worst, got 27 per cent.   In a phone interview, Emmanuel Mugere, the Nakaseke District Communications Officer, confirmed to Uganda Radio Network (URN) that Koomu will oversee the release of the much-awaited results.



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