Examinations body, UNEB has released the results for the 2017 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Examinations (UACE), reporting a decline in performance compared to the previous year.
A total of 101,269 candidates registered for the 2017 UACE examinations from 1,918 centres and out of these, 100,066 sat the exams.
Female candidates totaled to 41,932 constituting 41% of the total candidates, which was a decline by 1,000 students (girls) compared to 2016.
Results indicate that the bad performance was reflected in the number of candidates that attained two Principal Passes and three Principal Passes.
The number of candidates that got three Principle Passes reduced from 39,797 in 2016 to 34,819 in 2017, representing a 4% decline. Those that got two Principals (which is the minimum requirement for University admission) also dropped by 5% to 60,941 compared to the 2016 results.
This implies that the number of students that qualify for university admission has reduced by a total of 6,687 from what it was last year.
In cases where one Principal and two subsidiary passes levels are considered for admission to other tertiary institutions, a total of 83,301 qualify compared to 88,659 in the previous UACE results.
However, UNEB registered a slightly lesser failure rate from 102,858 in the year 2016 to 99,987 in 2017 which is a difference of only 301 candidates.
UNEB Executive Secretary, Dan Odongo said that proportionally, female candidates performed better than their male counterparts at all levels.
In regards to performance by subject, Literature in English, CRE, Physics and Biology showed improved performance in comparison with 2016, but Economics and Entrepreneurship registered more grades at A pass level.
“The problem of poor communication mentioned at UCE level still persists at this level as well. The work of those candidates affected show misunderstandings of questions leading to giving wrong answers; inability to explain, interpretation and original formulation of responses,” Odongo noted.
The UNEB Chairperson, Prof Mary Okwakol said that cases of malpractice at UACE level have been quite low with results of 79 candidates from 24 centres currently being withheld for suspected script substitution, impersonation and receinvinf assistance in the examination.
Meanwhile, one of the major concerns is the 2.9% drop in the number of candidates who registered for UACE in 2017 begging the question – where are these students going?
The downward trend has been consistent since 2014 and UNEB suspects that the missing students could be joining the alternative post UCE courses like vocational, technical and nursing trainings among others.
“It is possible that those who don’t sit for UACE are joining other careers but we have not done research on this,” Prof Okwakol said.
Responding to this, Dr Wilfred Nahamya, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) told journalists that; “For the last five years, there has been a 9.7% increase in the intake for Diploma courses in Business and other technical and specialized fields”.
“This must explain the numbers that do not join A’Level,” he said.