Wakiso, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda National Examination Board- UNEB has embarked on investigations to establish circumstances under, which several parcels of Primary Leaving Examinations-PLE scripts reached respective centers with broken seals.
Many examination centers in Wakiso, Mpigi and Masaka districts received parcels with broken seals raising suspicion that they could have been tampered with. Some of the parcels were open, which raised suspicion of possible malpractice orchestrated by examination distributors.
In normal circumstances, the distributors receive papers from a designated examination pick up center mostly police stations where they are kept under lock and key. According to UNEB, this year’s papers had to be picked up 30 minutes before the starting time – 9:00 a.m.
However, a lot could have happened between the pickup and delivery time given the fact that there were delays in the starting time that was reportedly caused by distance from the pickup centers to school and the breakdown of the delivery vans.
The first case was registered in Mpigi District where a transporter was accused of tampering with the exams scripts he was transporting to seven examination centers. The management of Mpigi UMEA primary school handed the transporter, Musisi Mutumba to police for interrogation.
A source has also disclosed to URN that papers that were delivered to St Thereza of Avilla Kitenga Primary School in Masaka District were not matching the number of candidates registered at the center.
“First of all, the seal wasn’t on and surprisingly the papers were fewer than the registered number of candidates. The good thing is that some candidates had not turned up. This was so suspicious and the invigilators had not reported it up to evening (on Monday),” said the source.
Wakiso District Education Officer, Fredrick Kiyingi also notes that he has registered similar incidents of’ ‘poor packaging’ at several centers whose names he didn’t disclose.
Kiyingi says this first caused panic up to when they contacted top UNEB officials who admitted that there might have been ‘some issues’ with the packaging and cleared them to let the candidates write the papers as investigation commence.
UNEB Executive Secretary, Daniel Odongo says his office has so far received three formal reports of examination parcels that were tempered with. He says they suspect malpractice involving the distributors, adding that UNEB has some information indicating some distributors temper with examinations.
According to Odongo, any parcel that had issued should have been spotted at the storage center thus questions how this could have skipped the various checks only to be seen at schools.
He however, says they don’t rule out the possibility that the seals could have broken given the way the examinations where transported.
Examination malpractice is a serious vice, which is increasingly becoming part of Uganda’s education system. Many people attribute the malpractice to several factors including commercialization of education, which results into stiff competition between schools, desire for parents to have their children in the best schools, increasing pressure on teachers and school administrators to produce results among others.
Over the years, the examination body has been tightening the grip to curb the vice. This year, UNEB introduced Radom numbers for both learners and districts in addition to many other strategies to eliminate malpractice.