Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) says teachers in primary schools have continued to help candidates with answers in national examinations, despite the stringent measures employed by the examinations body, to stop the vice.
This was revealed by UNEB Chairperson, Mary Okwakol during the release of results of last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala on Thursday.
Okwakol said teachers write answers on chits of papers which they then avail to candidates prior to entering the examination room.
“UNEB has taken measures to eliminate malpractice. However, the main challenge now is assistance given by teachers to candidates in form of answers written on chits and sent into the examination rooms during the examination for the candidates to copy,” she said.
“In extreme cases, teachers have been found reading answers to candidates in examination room. A case in point this year is Bundibugyo district where undercover security officers found teachers in eight schools reading out answers to the candidates,” she added.
In the above case, Okwakol said, parents had been made to pay Shs 50,000 each to facilitate the malpractice.
She said the conduct of examinations has become a matter of national security and UNEB needs support from all Ugandans to join in the fight against the practice.
Okwakol appreciated individuals who provided information that enabled the body to identify people involved in examination malpractices. She revealed that UNEB is working on a policy to handle information related to malpractices and has set up a legal unit to handle such cases.
“The Board is in the final stages of developing a whistle blower’s policy to handle information provided to it. The Board has also just set a legal unit that has made it possible to work with police and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in following up cases in Court,” she said.
However, she said that the existing laws are not deterrent enough to curtail the practice.
“There is need for the UNEB Bill which stipulates stiffer punishments for culprits in examination malpractices to be expeditiously processed and passed into law,” she said.
UNEB security committee has revealed that the reported cases and results of those with prima facie cases are to be withheld in accordance with Section 5(3) of the UNEB Act for investigations to be completed and the candidates given a hearing.
On the 2018 results, she said that more candidates were registered in 2018 compared to 2017.
“UNEB registered an increase in candidature of 3.9% in 2018 compared to only 0.8% in 2017. This could be an indication that districts heeded your (Minister of Education and Sports) call last year when you advised them not to place hurdles for the young learners, by subjecting them to pre-registration tests which would eliminate a sizable percentage of young learners,” she said.
She also revealed that the body registered improvement in the registration of candidates through the use of ICT.
Okwakol decried the huge number of schools which are not registered by the Ministry of Education yet they continue to dupe and exploit parents.
“Hon Minister, allow me to report to you that some schools that are not registered by the Ministry of Education and Sports continue to operate and dupe parents and learners that they have been registered,” she said.
“For instance, pupils from Bahrain primary nursery school and primary school in Iganga district, Busenga Junior school and St Peter’s primary school in Butambala District discovered late that they had not been registered for 2018 PLE ,” She added.
She added that the pupils in the above schools missed the examination since the schools were not known by the Ministry.
She reported that the results indicate that performance has improved and more candidates will be able to join post primary institutions, citing improvement in handwriting of candidates, as well as their ability to express themselves more clearly.
On learners with special needs, Okwakol said that in 2018, a total of 1,128 candidates were registered, of whom 46.5% were females and 53.5% were males.
A total of 671,923 candidates registered to sit 2018 PLE from 13,072 centres across the country compared to 646,041 from 12, 751 in 2017.