By Ian Katusiime
Uganda National Examinations Board released UCE results with notable examination malpractice in science subjects. A total of 289,012 students sat for the examinations marking a 10% increment compared to the 262,987 who sat last year. The Minister of Education Jessica Alupo attributed this to Universal Secondary Education (USE) which has boosted numbers in many rural areas.
As tradition has always had it, boys performed better than girls and the girls scored better marks in English and literature. Of all the candidates who sat for the exams, only 20,001(7%) passed in Division 1 including one inmate of Luzira Upper Prison where 34 candidates sat for the examination, 43,893(15.3%) passed in Division 2 and a whooping 25,229(8.8%) failed the examination subsequently finding themselves in Division 9.
There was a general improvement in large entry subjects such as Christian Religious Education, Islamic Religious Education, History and Biology. However performance in core science subjects like Chemistry took a dip with nearly 50% of the candidates failing to understand its basic concepts.
UNEB Chairman Fagil Mandy attributed the poor performance in some subjects to poor training of teachers whom he said are not equipped to respond to the demands of education. He also cited the lack of refresher courses in the sector. “We want to emphasize originality of thought and critical thinking,” he said. “Some of our teachers don’t have the capacity to teach composition writing,” Mandy lamented.
During last year’s examinations, there was notable malpractice especially external assistance by exam supervisors and also bribery from heads of examination centres. Fagil Mandy said UNEB would summon the culprits including the candidates whose results were withheld for questioning as required by law.