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UNEB boss speaks out on registration for Candidates, examination process

UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), Dan Odongo has finally come out to clear the air as regards to registration for candidates at different levels and examinations in 2020 following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact. 

As parents, teachers, and students in candidate classes continue to show fear on how the registration and examination process will be handled this year, Odongo has made it clear that a solution will definately be found.

Following the closure of schools due to the COVID -19 pandemic that has hit Uganda and the world at large, the education calendar was effected and this has since pushed some educationists to propose the possible postponement of the national examinations since coverage of the syllabus will be disrupted.   

However, in an interview with Uganda Radio Network (URN), Odongo who attests that without a doubt this year’s examination cycle has been disrupted, still believes that it will eventually be taken forward per guidance by the Ministry of Education and Sports.   

The Executive Secretary says they have been notified by the Education Ministry that although the education calendar might be altered, it will certainly be completed before learners are assessed and examinations will certainly be pushed from their known dates.   

Usually, the National Examinations begin around early October and end in early December. But, Odongo says that this year the examinations might even start in late November or December or even a later date depending on the circumstances.   

He, however, adds that even though the country has been on lockdown, UNEB will not compromise on standards and therefore he urges candidates to make sure that they use every opportunity and platform put in place by government and schools to study across the curriculum.   

When the lockdown was extended for the second time; the Education ministry developed a framework to enable the continuity of learning during the lockdown where learners in primary and secondary are taught on radio and televisions in addition to self-study material that is yet to be distributed.   

Despite the high criticism, the initiative is facing, the ministry has asked for benefit of doubt and also noted that upon school reopening there will be enough time allocated to the schools to run through the curriculum. However, everything remains unclear since there is no guarantee that schools will open anytime sooner.     

Although there have been calls from different forums asking the examinations board to start thinking of other methods of assessment. Odongo notes that the situation has not yet warranted such interventions.  “In any case, continuous assessment and considering learners’ past performance as a way to award of the certificates as some people have been suggesting could be even more difficult to conduct at such a time,” he says.   

Meanwhile, When president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni sent all school going children at home, the examinations’ body halted the registration process which was due to begin at the time. However, midway of the lockdown, they opened up online portals for schools to submit candidates’ data.   

The development attracted backlash from educationists and parents given the fact that a number of schools started to pressurize parents to send the required data and money using electronic means in addition to setting stiff deadlines.   

Although late last week the Board’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Jennifer Kalule, said that the entire registration had been called off. This may not be the case as the UNEB’s online registration portal has remained active.   

Odongo defends their position on registration by noting that although the portal is open, they have cautioned schools that don’t have student’s data from pressuring parents. According to his explanation, schools which had the required information for registration with them before the lockdown are free to proceed.     

He further cautions parents not to fall prey to unscrupulous people asking for money to have their children registered for 2020 national examinations online. “If schools did not collect data before, let them wait, parents should not do anything let them wait,” he emphasizes.   

Established by an Act of Parliament in 1983, UNEB has the mandate to conduct and manage national assessment for Primary Leaving Examinations, Uganda Certificate of Education, and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education offering a summative assessment that is intended to evaluate students’ learning at the end of a given cycle to determine who is ready to join the next level of education.   

Although Uganda has started to ease several restrictions that had been put in place as a way of fighting the Coronavirus, the date for reopening of schools remain unknown. Countries like Rwanda have announced that schools will reopen as far as September, while others have since indefinitely canceled the 2020 education calendar.  




  1. wel done for gov
    of uganda it is good 2 register students earlier 2 give time for other issues but my qns is they ar reg student witout reopening of schools amidst covid 19 iz still & issue of learning via radio, tv which z not favouring som students wer ther no radios 2 get lesson esp in rura areas wil gov provide radios 2 students

  2. Tumwebaze Reagan

    Thank you for your services . but Some student like us we can study online,
    But we have no internet data yet some of our
    Have at time we miss lesson

  3. Yes, registration can be done in any way designed but the big problem is students/pupils who study in rural schools. In some districts, electrification is only within town and few people have TVs or radio. Some parents did not go to school and their child is the only one who is school undergoing so how can such Children be helped in case he/she faisl to understand what is being taught in the radio, some subject like maths, physics, chemistry and commerce which involves plotting of graphs, calculations, and mixing of chemicals or titrations, how can a student/pupil understand such concept without seeing or touching.even though some hard copy reading materials are to be distributed, some dull students will never understand other parts where use of formulas or derivation of formulas are involed.

  4. Brian Emmanuel Oketcho

    Online registration is the smartest mode given the fact that we are living in the dotcom era, however, some headteachers lack computer literacy. In addition, some parents can’t send pupils’ data via SMS. Waiting for the situation to normalize seems to serve as the best option.

  5. Thanks for caring but why can’t the ministry allow only candidates to be quarantined in their schools and even their teachers so that learning takes place without allowing any person to get out
    Then another point is that the govt can supply 1000 kg of flour to those schools and at least 300kg of beans thanks

    • What about non boarding schools?

    • Excuse me sir!!!!! I don’t want to go back to school ye!!!!
      And I speak for all candidates when I say we don’t want be quarantined in school that is being stupid remember that they are people who work say the teachers, cooks and many more so please, don’t send us to school
      WE WANNA LIVE!!!

  6. Kinyera Francis

    When circumstances are not yet clear then how comes that UNEB still insist on registering candidates online, when every business is almost non-operational, and parents running bankrupt not only to pay for the billing but also feeding them while at home with then proven would it be when some children can not even get access to TVs, or radios and what about practical subjects like chemistry, biology, physics and many others what happens to them?

  7. josephine Birabwa

    actually parents need time to look for the registration fee because it caught every body unaware idont think registering learners online may help right now .we dont know what is coming next pliz give the registration process time

  8. Thank you sir. We appreciate all efforts to find a way forward. The MOE published on line some study materials, but with printers across the land forbidden to open, the 87% of our nation’s population being rural, again the wealthy urban dwellers continue to have a massive advantage. Kindly look into publishing more study materials and encourage his Excellency to open printers. Our schools in the far North do not have access to radio or TV classes. Thank you.

  9. Sseguya Godfrey

    It doesn’t seem relevant to talk about registration right now because it looks like the government doesn’t have any plans of letting schools reopen because whatever they are doing is justifying continuous lockdown. Instead of the ministry wasting time on making teaching materials, they would have given the money to schools to organise the way they could transport their candidates to school and with help from ministry of education they try to monitor the situation and the money could help the schools pay off their teachers and to run the process of learning such that these candidates do not lose their time.Because after all, what’s being taught much will have to be repeated by teachers in case the government one day gets to feel for teachers that have spent three months without pay from their bosses and then they open up the schools

  10. Ssentongo joshua

    In these situations studying online using smartphone can be a fall back.
    The only problems hindering this are lack of these gadgets by some students and unpopular data charges in Uganda .

  11. It’s interesting to talk about uneb registration right now but its good that Mr odongo has cleared air waves.
    However the country’s big men and women have failed in decisions like this country has three categories of families. The few rich, the middle class and the majority poor who currently are in the other side of the world with the current learning situations since they are less catered for. Even electricity in some urban areas is a challenge. That’s how the so called national Cake is distributed.

  12. It’s interesting to talk about uneb registration right now but its good that Mr odongo has cleared air waves.
    However the country’s big men and women have failed in decisions like this country has three categories of families. The few rich, the middle class and the majority poor who currently are in the other side of the world with the current learning situations since they are less catered for. Even electricity in some urban areas is a challenge.

  13. Aleast uneb do some favour by registering 2020 canidates for free…parents have no money

  14. Generally Uganda has three categories of people ie. The rich,medium and poor but the majority is the will government going to Carter for this kind of people in as far as education is concern.all measured being taken in Uganda according to this pandermic is favouring well to do families only but now where will government going to put these poor Ugandan?

  15. Wakhabungu Brian

    Thanks govt but I don’t know how the govt is going to to compensate the lost tym coz I see we might b pushed up to next yr yet most of us are candidates, does the cabinet have new plans of students repeating their respective classes?

  16. Thanks govt, is there new strategic plans of shifting 2020uneb exams to next year

  17. I think museveni was right to have lockdown due to corona virus outbreak. To me, every thing must stop untill COVID 19 issues normalizes in Uganda even in the world as a whole. Assuming a teacher or a student is sick or dies. can he/she sit exams or continue with work or life? Dan Odongo should not let people punic.Online , Radio TV and hard copy teaching materials will never help leaners upto date without the guidance and explanation by a knowlegeable teacher in that particular subject. A teaher . Thank You

  18. Maggie shantel

    Thanks for the information sir it’s really interesting but so many students for instance those in rural areas can’t access radios or televisions everyday, let the ministry of education provide easy means of transport for schools to help their candidate students catch up and on the side of many parents,they have gone bankrupt to afford the registration fees in this situation so they need some time .

  19. Let the government allow only candidate classes to go back for studies and quarantines both pupils, students and their teachers . Let support for food, sanitizers and other utilities be provided to those schools until they sit for their final exams. Thank you.

  20. Malinga Emmanuel

    Studying online is not favouring rural areas, there some parents who can not afford even a single radio. How are their children going to benefit?? At times, some learners like asking questions in case they haven’t understood, so how can they ask a teacher on a radio or TV? I would prefer the idea of candidate students/pupils and their teachers going back to school and be quarantined?? That’s a simple request to the government.

  21. Malinga Emmanuel

    Studying online is not favouring rural areas and therefore it favours only urban students/pupils. Most of the parents in rural areas do not have TVs or even a mere radio and they have children who are candidates. How are they going to benefit?? At times, some learners like asking questions in case they haven’t understood, how can one ask a radio or TV?? Most of the pupils don’t like listening to radios neither do they like watching due to contrast, as a result, they end up sleeping since there is no one to control like in class. I would prefer the candidate students/pupils and their teachers to go back to school and be quarantined.

  22. chemos j yonah

    fight corona will come later.listen to presidents speach cause those are words from GOD .he is elected and led by GOD.{there time for everything}

  23. MOE seems to be silly sometimes, imagine subjects like math,physics,chemistry which need calculations and balancing the equations also practicals and plotting of graphs and your teaching on tv and radios,how a leaner understand such subjects and how the one teaching get to know that the pupils/students am teaching have understood, very fake idea.

  24. Thanks to the education department and the government at large for all efforts put in place in fighting covid 19,and the progress of education in Uganda. However the ways put may end up not favouring all school going students. Like those with special needs

  25. I think it’s better for schools to be opened just because no one is aware when will this so called COVID 19 pandemic will end and on the same not what if it doesn’t end what is next…???

  26. William Kasujja

    I Think The Ministry Should Allow Candidates Go Back 2 School And Quarantine Them There With Thier Teachers With The Help Of The Govt Thax

  27. At least UNEB especially PLE should be set from P1-P6 Syllabi as P7 Syllabus is disrupted

  28. Sedrack- Ibanda progressive SS

    I think president should allow schools to open or to allow only candidates but this program Of studying from radios and whatever is nosense because there are some students who are local villages who will not benefit from this program.

  29. I think online registration is a talk of town, how will the rural people cope up with that. Many Parents and Students especially in rural areas can not manage

  30. I think online registration is a talk of town. Many Parents and Students especially in rural areas can not cope up with that. UNEB should decide with the MoE on other ways of registering students.

  31. Patson Agondeze Abooki Fortportal

    It may be good using online method but some students are in rural areas so they mightn’t cope up

  32. I would suggest that let the gov quarantine only candidates’ classes and their teachers at their respective schools for now.

  33. Let the government allow only candidate classes to go back and be quarantined there with their teachers. This pandemic is not going to end even 1or 2 yrs .it’s likely to end in 2023.

  34. I really appreciate the ministry for the work done buh for me my consern is some of our schools like iganga high they never created for us any social media platform like watsap groups so that we can download notes en revise yet other schools a given work on the school’s website lyk namilyango

  35. Basingura Robert

    Fellow countrymen, its as if you haven’t understood the “prey” within the country and the entire Globe. The inhuman Covid 19 that is caused by SARS-COV2 must be understandable. Let’s wait for the Superiors to declare that certain medicine has been innovated so that the economy can run normally. Had any one from the time of his or her birth and the years one has spent seen Places of worship closed, Children called off from schooling and the entire country and the world at a lockdown? This must be a decision from the Most High, the Almighty. Even the President was very clear in his earlier addresses as far as education is concerned. He said that; “There is time for preventing a pandemic and time for studies “. You can’t study under a grave. Imagine how many coffins in the superior countries registered since December last year. Once again fellow countrymen, let’s be patient and wait until God has lowered the anger He has got as well as following the guidelines from the President and Ministry of Health. Thanks

  36. Namugera Francis

    Ecclesiastical Literature is the story that is true now,Ecc:3. My fellow countrymen and Ladies let’s be patient for God knows the time when this will end. Philosophically so,of what importance is it to die with your degree or grade? My dear candidates and finalists, its not your fault but a New World Order…just pray to God now He is in control of everything… Keep all your worries aside,He knows your destiny.Our Motto is so superfluous when you take time to medidate upon it …For God and My country…Which country has it apart from we…Uganda…Then why do we RUSH….let’s wait to hear His Word…The Almighty.

  37. I guess some politics still looms behind reopening candidate classes..a fear dat political campaigners may also call for just look on as the big drums enjoy their stage..
    Let wat come may

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