Jennifer Kasule, the Principal Public Relations Officer in UNEB, notes that although nothing much is changing in the management and administration of examinations, they have added a few aspects concerning the Standard Operating Procedures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB has
made a few adjustments in the requirements for this year’s candidates briefing.
It is mandatory for schools to brief their candidates as one of the ways to
prepare them physically and mentally for the national exams.
The briefing for senior four candidates is scheduled
to take place on Friday this week ahead of their Ordinary level certificate exams,
according to the timetable issued by the examination body. The
briefing should last for 2 hours.
Jennifer Kasule, the Principal Public Relations Officer in
UNEB, notes that although nothing much is changing in the management and
administration of examinations, they have added a few aspects concerning the
Standard Operating Procedures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kasule says that during briefing they expect teachers to put
more emphasis on the adjustments to have a smooth activity. “Teachers should
address learner on how the social distance will be handled at the examination centers.
How to handle masks and sanitization or handwashing and avoidance of borrowing
any material regardless of the situation,” she noted.
Carol Kavuma, a Senior Educationist and Child Physiologist
in the Ministry of Education and Sports, says that unlike the previous year,
teachers need to put more emphasis on providing social-psychological support to
the candidates. Kavuma notes that there are already studies showing the impact
of the COVID-19 lockdown on learner’s mental health.
She says that besides COVID-19, the mode of learning during
the shortened terms has also exerted stress and anxiety on learners.
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Afuwa Nabbanja, the Deputy Headteacher Samson Memorial High
School in Kampala, notes that although briefing has not been accorded the
attention it deserves, this time around every school needs to see it as a basic
requirement and conduct it in the right way.
“Truth be told, briefing has been abused over years. Many
schools just gather students and distribute to them the UNEB time table, read a
few guidelines and that’s all,” said Nabbanja.
She notes that in addition to the usual requirement of taking
candidates through the dos and don’ts of the examination period, they have
decided to have a professional psychologist to prepare their learners mentally
for the examinations.
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John Ddumba, the Director of Studies at Emma High School,
Kyebando, says that in addition to psychological support, briefing at their
school will also emphasize how learners will relate and interact with
invigilators and other officials.
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Although the UNEB guidelines require learners to be at the
examination centers at least 30 minutes before the examination starts, teachers
say that during briefing a lot of emphases is going to be put on earlier
arrival especially for those in the day section.
“Given the social distancing and washing of hands that one
will be undergoing, we expect that this tie around the checking might consume
more time. This is not included in the UNEB guidelines and I think it was an
oversight, learners need to be at the center at least one and a half hours
before the examination,” said Hassan Gombe, headteacher Mulago High School.
In a recent interview, Issa Matovu, an educationist noted
that in all cases teachers should stick to the UNEB guidelines so as not to
pass misleading information to candidates. He says that some of the information
schools tend to pass on to learners during briefing can better be delivered
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In a similar way, 749,811 Primary Seven candidates are
scheduled to be briefed on March 26, before they write their examinations on
March 30. Finally, 98,379 candidates at the Uganda Advanced Certificate of
Education-UACE level will also go through the same process on April 9, before
they sit their final examinations on May 3.