Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Education and Sports has banned the purchase of examinations from commercial examination bureaus. The ministry observes that the practice has led to a loss of professionalism and exploitation of parents.
The ministry faults the schools for using the ‘unreliable tests’, some of which do not conform to the prescribed curriculum to assess learners. According to a circular issued on March 13, 2019, by the Commissioner for Private Schools Ismael Mulindwa, the practice is detrimental to the children’s future.
The circular shows that many schools have taken advantage of examination bureaus to exploit parents through charging uncalled for examination fees, through daily tests, daily homework, holiday packages, beginning of term tests, weekly tests, midterm tests and end of term tests.
The circular says this practice doesn’t give teachers the freedom to assess the learners capacity effectively following the syllabus/curriculum. The circular warns that the examination bureaus are not licensed to operate in schools and have no mandate from the Ministry to assess learners.
In the circular teachers have been reminded to revert to the professional way of following the curriculum, writing the schemes of work and derive lessons plans from there for conducting effective lessons that will help learners acquire knowledge and skills for personal and national development.
The Circular is addressed All Chief Administrative Officers, Town Clerks and Director Kampala Capital City Authority to ensure no commercial bureau operates in their schools. It is copied to the Inspector General of Police, District Education Officers and all Headteachers across the country.
The Assistant Commissioner Private Schools Department Ismael Mulindwa told Uganda Radio Network that all assessment is supposed to be done by teachers because they manage the day to day learning of the children.
Sam Mbangire, the Nakasongola District Inspector of School welcomed the ban saying it was long overdue. Mbangire said that some teachers had become lazy and unable to set examinations because of relying on commercial examination bureaus.
He, however, expressed fear that enforcement may not be easy to implement since some bureaus are located outside their areas of jurisdiction.
Zenar Nasur, the Luweero district Secretary for Education says that the examinations must be set by teachers who teach learners and it was unacceptable to get them outside. Nasur, however, says that school can engage in examination exchange programmes but within schools other than picking exams from commercial bureaus.