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Educationists demand tougher penalties against examination malpractice

FILE PHOTO: UNEB secretary Odongo. 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Educationists are calling for a review of the Uganda National Examinations Board – UNEB Act to give the body more clout to fight examination malpractices. They argue that the penalties stipulated in the act are no longer punitive to deter persons from engaging in any kind of malpractice.

The current law provides for a fine not exceeding 50,000 Shillings or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years to any person who is involved in malpractices. These include those who reveal examination material contents to unauthorized persons, those who alter the work, data, information or scores of a candidate, impersonators, and those who maliciously damage examination material.

But Bundibugyo District Inspector of Schools John Byamukama says that the fine is too small compared to the gravity of the offense and magnitude of the problem. He adds that instead, UNEB should be empowered to revoke academic documents of teachers who fuel examination malpractices.

The examinations body withheld Primary Leaving Examination-PLE results for 3,500 candidates last year. UNEB Executive Secretary, Dan Odongo, says most of the affected candidates received external assistance from third parties within the examination rooms.

In some of the affected schools, security operatives found teachers writing answers on chalkboards for candidates to copy. It was later established that parents connived with teachers to facilitate the unprofessional conduct.

Education Consultant Fagil Mandy says UNEB should be mandated to determine the academic soundness of a candidate depending on how they speak, play, debate and relate with others, instead of looking at examination results.  This way, he adds, schools will stop competing for first grades, which is now the root cause of examination malpractice.

Kabarole District Education Officer Patrick Rwakaikara appeals for an increase in the payments for invigilators and supervisors, saying that poor remuneration had partly corrupted the system.

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