Parents in Mpigi District want the Education and Sports Ministry to revisit the policy of automatic promotion in the Universal Primary Education program.
They were responding to the Mpigi Woman MP, Sarah Nakawunde Temulanda who blamed the poor performance of candidates in the last year's Primary Leaving Examination-PLE on teachers.
339 candidates representing 5.7 percent of the total candidates who sat PLE in Mpigi district failed. A detailed analysis shows that the affected candidates were from UPE schools. 749 candidates made it to first grade, 3301 scooped second grade and 1508 scored third grade.
The performance of candidates came up at a function where the MP was awarding the best PLE candidates from each sub county in the district. During the meeting, parents noted that there is need for government to abolish automatic promotions if performance of candidates is to improve.
David Sserunjoji, one of the parents said teachers cannot be blamed for the failure of a pupil who has been promoted from one class to another without scoring the required competences.
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Gerald Mukasa, another parent says government shouldn't expect primary teachers to work magic when the learners didn't grasp what was taught in the previous class. "Why do we ask for results in primary seven? If a learner has is always pushed to the next class let government allow them to just continue to secondary," said Mukasa.
Although Nakawunde largely agrees with the parent's submission, she insists that there is need to hold teachers and head teachers of schools that didn't perform well to account.
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Nakuwende also challenged parents to ensure that all learners who failed their examinations repeat them so that they can advance to the next level. Automatic promotion is implemented as part of a broader national education strategy aimed at enhancing internal efficiency under basic education to increase retention and check on school dropout.
A 2017 report titled” Governance of UPE in Uganda and its Implications for National Development” which was commissioned by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment-ACODE pointed out that automatic promotion doesn't give weak students chance to improve or challenge themselves, adding that it has failed to achieve the objective of its framers to help keep children at school.
The report faulted the arrangement noting that evaluation is one of the core aspects of learning which is being defeated by automatic promotion.