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Administering PLE to Teachers Not Effective-Permanent Secretary

Recently, the State Minister of Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde was also quoted by URN opposing the decision to subject teachers to the examinations, saying it was illegal, unacceptable, casts doubt in district service commission and will demoralize the teachers.
The Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, A.D. Kibenge has rejected the administration of Primary Leaving Examinations to teachers, saying it's not an effective way of identifying teachers with forged documents.

In February this year, Nakaseke district resolved to administer PLE to teachers to establish whether they understand what they teach and are competent enough to help their learners to pass exams. The district council also approved a budget of Shillings five million to print copies of PLE that will be administered to teachers in August this year.

Nakaseke LC V Chairman, Ignatius Koomu told URN that all teachers who fail the exams would be deemed unfit to teach and will have to face the District Service Commission to defend themselves why they shouldn't be sacked. Koomu said the exams will help them to identify teachers who are lazy, weak, incompetent, possess and fake academic documents so as to take appropriate action to save the education standards in the district.

However, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, A.D. Kibenge, says administering examinations to teachers isn't an effective way to identify teachers with forged academic qualifications.  This is contained his April 12, 2018 letter to the Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet.

He explains that that the Education Ministry has a verification system through, which forgeries can be identified and encouraged the Nakaseke LC V Chairperson to submit the list of all primary school teachers in the district to the department of Teacher Instructor Education of the Ministry for verification.

He added that competency examinations are a useful tool for identifying training needs for improvement and this can be professionally administered through support system provided by core Primary Teachers College in the district. Kibenge also noted that there is regulation providing for the dismissal of teachers for scoring below a given mark.

Kibenge's letter is copied to the Minister of Education and Sports and State Ministers, Minister of Public Service, Chief Administrative Officer and LC 5 Chairman, Nakaseke district among others.

Teachers in Nakaseke led by Emmanuel Kizza, the Chairperson Uganda National Teachers Union Nakaseke branch have welcomed the guidance from the ministry and asked the LC 5 Chairman to take it in good faith.

Kizza says that as teachers they are willing to be subjected to validation exercise to weed out those with forged papers but not sitting competency tests, which may humiliate them. Ignatius Koomu the LC 5 Chairman of Nakaseke was unavailable to comment on the letter from the Permanent Secretary.

Recently, the State Minister of Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde was also quoted by URN opposing the decision to subject teachers to the examinations, saying it was illegal, unacceptable, casts doubt in district service commission and will demoralize the teachers.

Uganda National Teachers Union has also petitioned the Minister of Education and Sports asking her to stop the exercise and compel Koomu to apologize to teachers for what they called dishonoring teaching profession.

In an April 11th letter, Filbert Baguma, the UNATU General Secretary, warns to mobilize teachers to withdraw their labor without notice should it failure to compel the chairman to apologize. UNATU insists that performance of pupils is not solely in the hands of teachers but parents, government and community, which must play their roles.

According to the 2007 Primary Leaving Examinations, only 364 out of 4538 candidates who registered for PLE in Nakaseke passed in division one, 2226 division two, 852 division three and 657 division four.  About 284 pupils failed the exams while 155 didn't turn up for the exams.

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