UNEB: Vocational, Technical Institutions Likely Cause of Drop in UACE Candidature

UNEB Chairperson, Prof Mary Okwakol.

Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has Thursday released results of the 2018 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).

The event was presided over by Higher Education Minister, John Chrysostom Mutungo, who represented the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni.

A total of 99,576 students registered for 2018 UACE in 2,094 centres across the country, indicating a drop of 1,693 candidates (1.7%) compared to that 100,0067 candidates in 2017.

While speaking during the release, the UNEB Chairperson, Mary Okwakol, said that the drop in registered candidates could have been due to the increased uptake in vocational and technical institutions which absorb scores of students after completing Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).

“Although no study has been conducted to find out the reasons for the apparent low transition from UCE to UACE, the drop may be due to the fact that post-UCE institutions absorb the learners. This is evidenced by the increased enrolment in Primary Teachers’ Colleges as well as technical and vocational institutions,” Okwakol said.

Okwakol said that despite learners performing better last year, the Board is concerned about the low entries for science subjects at UACE which has been recurring in the last couple of years.

“Only just above 10% of the total candidature registered for science subjects. For females, the figure is even less than 10%. This is a persistent trend than needs to be addressed urgently, to ensure that the nation has sufficient numbers of learners in science disciplines to enrol for science based professional programmes,” said Okwakol.

She says that Biology has been registering the worst performance in the last three years with only less than 50% of the candidates obtaining passes at principal level. Okwakol explains that the 2018 performance in Biology has been worse, at less than 40%.

“This is a cause for worry because many Science based programmes at universities and other tertiary institutions require Biology as an essential subject,” she added.

On schools that provide fake examination results purporting to be from UNEB, Okwakol reprimanded school authorities engaged in this “illegality that they risk having their examination centres withdrawn.”

UNEB is about to start registering candidates for the 2019 examinations and according to the Board Chairperson, registration fees have remained the same as for last year.

She said that UNEB has learnt of information that some schools are already charging exorbitant registration fees, clarifying that candidates registering for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) pay Shs 34,000, Shs 164,000 for UCE and Shs 186,000 for UACE.

She reiterated that the purported “UNEB examination charges” are illegal, before warning heads of examination centres against distortions.

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