and advocates championing inclusive education have significantly amplified their
demands for the implementation of Disability-Tailored Assessments.
argue that despite Uganda's recent strides made towards promoting inclusivity
within its education system, the current assessment methods do not consider
the diverse needs and abilities of learners with disabilities, thereby placing
them at a significant disadvantage.
Kyozira, Chief Executive Officer of the
National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), emphasized that due to
the lack of disability-tailored assessments, students with disabilities often
encounter standardized tests that may not precisely gauge their knowledge,
competences, skills and abilities.
absence of disability-tailored assessments means that students with
disabilities frequently face standardized tests that may not accurately reflect
their knowledge and skills. The risk of dropping out of school goes up, especially if
they can't pass a high-stakes test that is required for them to move on to the
next grade level. This
situation exacerbates the pre-existing educational disparities and raises
serious concerns about the fairness and inclusivity of Uganda's education
system,” said Kyozira.
sentiment expressed was nearly unanimous among all the speakers who
participated in the recently concluded Third National Inclusive Education
Symposium. Their collective call was resolute: to institute reforms that would
put an end to this inequity.
added that the existing assessments act as a barrier for learners with special
needs, constraining their advancement from one educational level to another.
Her statements are firmly grounded in data-supported evidence, which indicates
a significant presence of special needs learners at lower education levels,
with a notable decline in their numbers as you move up the educational ladder.
analysis of UNEB data demonstrates that a majority of special needs students
are labeled as "failed" at the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE),
presenting a formidable obstacle to their educational progression to the Senior
Four level or the pursuit of alternative learning avenues.
example, when examining the data pertaining to students with hearing
impairments who took the 2022 examination, a clear pattern emerges, indicating
that a substantial number of deaf students encountered difficulties in
obtaining higher grades or even pass.
out of the 263 deaf candidates who participated, not a single one managed to
attain a first-grade result. Instead, the results demonstrate that 50
candidates succeeded in securing a division two outcome, 41 achieved division
three status, and 56 reached division four. Furthermore, the data also
highlights that deaf candidates constituted the second-largest group among
ungraded candidates, with a total of 116 individuals falling into this
a recent interview, Christine Atim, a teacher at the Wakiso School for the
Deaf, revealed that some of these learners and their parents have found ways to
bypass the system and continue to secondary education despite receiving
they reach Senior Four, we register them as mature students, allowing them to
take the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examination. Some pass, while
others face another round of failure at this level," explained Atim.
Ayesiga, the assistant commissioner for inclusive and non-formal education, also
delved into the issue at hand, emphasizing that while UNEB has made efforts in
recent years to provide support for these learners there is a clear need for
more comprehensive measures. She raised a valid question about the assessment
of deaf students, pointing out the challenge they face when answering questions
in English, a language they often find difficult to communicate in effectively.
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added a troubling trend where the majority of special needs learners
consistently score zero in the assessments designed for them. She noted that
the pattern has persisted year after year, resulting in a significant number of
these learners being unable to progress from primary to post-primary
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her, this highlights the urgent need for reforms and support tailored to the
unique needs of special needs learners to ensure their educational advancement.
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Daniel Alenyo, the
Examinations Officer in charge of Special Needs Education, emphasizes the
dedicated efforts made to support these learners. He points out that they have
worked diligently to provide the necessary assistance, including sign language
interpreters for the deaf, large-print materials for those with visual
impairments, braille materials for the blind, and assistants for students who
may struggle with writing.
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Alenyo clarifies that the responsibility for addressing challenges faced by special
needs learners is not solely on the assessment process itself.
He explains that UNEB
assesses students based on the established education system and curriculum. He
urges advocates for students with special needs not to blame the messengers,
emphasizing that there are numerous interconnected factors that need
consideration when striving for inclusive education.
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he expressed optimism that the ongoing reforms in the curriculum, which now
prioritize competency-based assessment, may ultimately address the challenges
faced by special needs learners.
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struggle to implement disability-tailored assessments is not unique, as
educators and inclusive advocates across the globe have pointed to this
pressing issue. The implications of this challenge extend far beyond Uganda's
borders, affecting countless students with disabilities worldwide who face
barriers to fair and equitable education assessments.