For a long time, many Primary and Secondary schools in Uganda have been buying examinations from different examination bureaus, through which they regularly assess their learners in form of Beginning of Term, Mid Term, End of Term/Month/Year and external mock exams.
The practice is however mostly common in Primary schools where teachers either lack required competencies to set a standard examination or resources to produce their own exams in form of typing and printing gadgets.
The common commercial examination bureaus whose exams Primary School children attempt in Uganda include Sipro Educational Services, Prime Education Consult and Skyline.
However, government has with immediate effect banned the practice, saying it contravenes the teaching professional conduct as well improperly assessing the learners.
“It has been noted that many schools and teachers have been in the habit of buying examinations from commercial examination bureaus, which habit has led to the loss of professional conduct by assessing children with unreliable tests which do not follow the prescribed curriculum,” reads a circular issued by Ismael Mulindwa on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education.
Mulindwa says these examination bureaus are not licenced to operate in schools and lack the mandate by the Ministry of Education and Sports to assess learners.
This act is not only unprofessional but also detrimental to the children’s future through a holistic education system, Mulindwa says.
The Ministry says a number of schools have taken advantage of the examination bureaus to exploit parents through charging uncalled for examination fees through daily tests, daily homework in all subjects, Holiday packages and more.
According to the Ministry, this practice gives no freedom to teachers to assess the learners capacity effectively following the syllabus.
Mulindwa says it is the teachers themselves to conduct the assessment of the learners since it is them who manage the day-to-day learning of school children.
As such, the Ministry has directed education officials including District Education Officers, Inspectors of schools Coordinating Centre Tutors and Head teachers to ensure that no commercial examination bureau operates in their schools.
Chief Administrative Officers and Town Clerks have as well been put on alert to stop the practice in their respective areas.