Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) will fine public school headteachers who have been fraudulently registering candidates from private schools that have no UNEB centre numbers as government-sponsored candidates.
UNEB says that each school which will be found practising the illegality will be requested to refund the money that government could have lost while paying for registration of the candidates.
According to the UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo, the examination body together with the Office of the President carried out a survey in 26 districts and four municipalities and found out that there were over 10,000 pupils from private schools but registered as Universal Primary Education (UPE) candidates.
Odongo further explains that the vice is also practised in secondary schools across the country.
He says however that this fraudulent registration has caused colossal financial loss to the government.
“We understand that these candidates had already paid but the money is somewhere and somebody is keeping it and in due course we shall come to pick it. Not only shall we get this money but we shall also prefer sanctions against sanctions against such people,” Odongo observed.
In March this year, UNEB issued a circular detailing fees and financial guidelines for the 2019 Primary Leaving Examination (PLE), Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).
According to UNEB, 34,000 will be registration fees for each PLE candidate and Shillings 50,000 for each under-declared private candidate fee.
“Any centre discovered to have non-UPE, non-USE and non-UPOLET declared as UPE, USE and UPOLET after flouting ministry of education guidelines on who qualifies to be a government-sponsored candidate shall be charged the normal registration fees plus 100% surcharge of the fees. The centre also risk being penalized by the ministry of education and sports,” Dan Odongo says.
In a recent survey, according to Odongo, the headteachers that UNEB interacted with many of them said they had received directives from the district education authorities to register those candidates as UPE.
“That is what they say. And I am attempted to believe that this is true because two years or so ago we had challenges from one of your colleagues (inspector of school) from one of the districts in Eastern Uganda,” he said.
Adding that; “We told the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in that district that we are not going to deal with this individual if he is still the district inspector of schools you will have to find how PLE will be conducted in your district.”
Odongo says the regulation demands that the pupils in private schools should be declared as non-UP candidates in order for the money to be remitted by government.
Fred Bahati, the District Inspector of Schools for Ntungamo District admitted that there are schools that are not declaring non-UPE pupils.
He quickly adds however that in Ntungamo district, they have not yet got those headteachers.
Bahati advises UNEB to include the Inspectors of Schools during the registration processes for candidates so that they help in unearthing under-declared pupils.
According to Bahati, once the headteacher under declares, the money doesn’t go where it is supposed to go, yet in most instances, the pupils have paid.