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Pregnant, breastfeeding candidates given 45 extra minutes during examinations

Pregnant and breastfeeding candidates will be given more time to complete the examination

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB will accord extra 45 minutes to pregnant and breastfeeding candidates during the Uganda Certificate of Education examinations due to start on Monday.

According to a statement issued by UNEB’S executive secretary Dan Odongo, the said group of learners and others with circumstantial impairments like asthma and epilepsy will be given more time to complete the examination.

According to UNEB guidelines, candidates with special needs are always given 45 extra minutes, but such learners’ condition is always documented on registration. These include the visually impaired, those with hearing impairment, the physically handicapped, and children suffering from dyslexia among others. This is the first time that special consideration is given to pregnant, breastfeeding and asthmatic learners.

UNEB spokesperson Jennifer Kalule notes that they have included the said group of learners under the special needs category due to their new draft policy documents, given the fact that they need special treatment.

With the effects of  COVID-19 school closure, several learners reportedly got pregnant. Unlike before when pregnant learners were shunned from schools, the education ministry last year worked on popularizing learning for pregnant students by allowing them to continue.

According to statistics obtained from the Ministry of Education Gender Unit’s preliminary investigations, there are about 200 pregnant finalists that reported to education institutions upon reopening. However, there is a likelihood for the number to be higher as some private schools didn’t report such cases to the unit.

In the same development, the statement indicates that the examination body has completed a psycho-education assessment of 499 Special Needs Education-SNE candidates to establish their examination needs. To this effect, UNEB will avail braille answer sheets and large print question papers to cater for learners with different visual impairments while those with hearing impairment will be given sign language interpreters.

A total of 333,889 candidates from 3,935 centres are expected to sit for the UCE examinations this year. The candidates would have sat their examinations last year around October, however, the school calendar was revised due to school closure rising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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