National Examinations Board is investigating the decrease in the number of
candidates in the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and Uganda Advanced
Certificate of Examinations (UACE) cycles.
The examinations body says it has recorded a significant
decline in the number of candidates who registered for UCE and UACE while there
was a huge increase in the number of Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE)
At UCE, a decline of 3,808 candidates was reported while at UACE
the figure stood at 4,907. However, at PLE, a 7.8 percent increase was recorded
bringing the number of candidates to 749,811 this year compared to 695,700 in
Jennifer Kalule Musamba, the UNEB Senior Public Relations Officer,
says that they are worried about the decline in the number of registered
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Annually, UNEB estimates an increase of 2 percent in the
number of PLE candidates. The 7.8 increase is abnormal; according to Kasule. "We
were shocked by this increase. It's not something we were expecting. If
anything we thought we would register a decline due to the COVID-19
effect," Kasule says.
Education officials that we spoke to however attributed the decline in the
numbers of candidates to failure by many students to return to school. Fredrick
Kiyingi, the Wakiso District Education Officer who doubles as the chairperson
of the DEOs Association, says that many learners failed to resume studies after
the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Some of the students failed to go back due to money
challenges but others just decided to make money. They now want to sell facial
masks and other things instead of going back to school," Muyingo said. At
the primary level, Kiyingi attributed the increase in numbers to the
registration of learners in Primary 6.
"Some parents decided to push
their children in P.6 to sit PLE. This is why the number of registered
candidates is above the normal," Nsubuga explained.