Heavy rains disrupt start of PLE, late start expected in many places
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Heavy rains have this morning disrupted the start of the Primary Leaving Examinations-PLE in different parts of the country. At many examination storage centres, there were no teachers to receive the materials.
At Mukono Police Division, Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) coordinators and headteachers were not at the storage centre by 8:00 am. At Jinja road police station, only one examination coordinator was at the centre.
1st day of PLE, This is the day that the Lord has made, we bless U Lord for our candidates. Rain Rain please go away, come back another day, PLE candidates countrywide need to write their exams…rain rain go away.#PLE2020
— Uganda National Examinations Board (@UNEB_UG) March 30, 2021
Eve Konde, the Kampala Area Supervisor said that the rains had disorganized the distribution of the exam materials, but she was optimistic that it will not affect the examinations.
“We normally sit for these exams during the rainy season so people should not be very shocked about what is happening. Some schools might be late but it should not be a very big issue,” she said.
At the Nabweru examination storage centre, the distribution of exams begun as early as 7:00 am despite UNEB regulations that state the process is supposed to start at 8:30 am.
Innocent Lwanga, the Municipal Education Officer says they started early to enable the distribution is carried out smoothly.
“We started early to have a smooth distribution process. It is raining so we wanted schools to be able to pick papers as they walk in. We know the rain will cause some delays,” he said.
At some schools visited by URN reporters during the downpour, pupils and teachers were yet to arrive.
During national examination days, pupils are encouraged to be at school as early as 7:30 a.m. or even earlier. However at 8:20 am, pupils were still entering schools soaked through to the skin.
Some schools had no teachers present while examination coordinators were absent.
At Sam Iga Memorial Primary School located in Maganjo, some candidates arrived at 7:30 am, soaked.
According to UNEB examination guidelines, candidates unless those registered as sick suffering from asthma are not allowed to sit for exams while wearing sweaters. This is done to avoid the smuggling of unwanted material.
By 8:30 am, the time when all candidates are expected to be at school and are being checked to enter the examination halls, many schools such as Masooli Church of Uganda Primary School, as many as 20 candidates had not arrived.
Andrew Kaggwa, a teacher, said that they hoped all their candidates would show up. One of the candidates, Joseph Ssali, says that he arrived at the school very early.
“I arrived here at 6:30 am. My uncle dropped me. That is how I managed to come for exams,” he said.
In other parts of the country, the situation was not any different. In some hard to reach areas of Mukono district such as Kimenyedde, Seeta-Namuganga, Mpatta, Nakisunga and Kkoome island sub-county, headteachers told URN reporter that they were stranded.
Steven Mugisha, the headteacher of St Kizito Kawongo Primary School at Kimenyedde Sub County says UNEB should provide transport means to assist schools in rural during such circumstances.
“Now we cannot go to pick the exams. The roads are impassable. We are stuck and will not be able to pick the papers early because even when the rain stops, that does not mean we can leave straight away,” he said.
In Luwero, the heavy downpour started at around 7:20 am paralyzing transportation of exams to schools.
Robert Kulabako, the Chairperson of Luwero District Private Primary Schools’ Association says that by 8:00 am, the schools had not yet received the exams and headteachers were waiting for the distributors at the exam centres.
Kulabako adds that there will be more delays because some schools are located far away from the centres and they have no means of transport like cars to navigate through the poor roads.
Kulabako, however, said that the rains won’t affect candidates since most of them have been staying at schools in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures set by the Ministry of Education in the fight against COVID- 19.
“Candidates are already in classes waiting for us to deliver exams and write them but we have been delayed by the rains,” Kulabako said.