Nakaseke District has set targets for head teachers to improve Primary Leaving Examination-PLE performance. In the new target, the district has directed all head teachers to ensure that 95 % candidates in each school pass PLE in 2019 or face demotion.
According to the 2018 PLE results, out of the 4,192 candidates about 523 (12.4 %) passed in first grade, 2,064 (49.2%) in second grade whereas 798 (19.0%) in third grade and 528 (12.5%) in fourth grade.
About 156 (3.7%) failed and 123 (2.9%) didn't turn up to sit the exams.
Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka, the LC 5 Chairperson of Nakaseke District, says that although the district has recorded improvement in performance compared to the past two years, there are still learners who perform poorly.
Koomu says at least six schools recorded over 10% failure rate and this will not be tolerated in the future. He adds that each head teacher must ensure that 95% candidates who sit exams at his school pass. Koomu says that teachers who fail to hit the target face demotion and transfer to another school.
Koomu says the measures are intended to eliminate failures in PLE and improving the grades. According to Koomu, some head teachers have been complaining that candidates from private schools who sit PLE in government schools account for failures and has since advised them not register incompetent candidates.
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Among other strategies the district is to hold refresher courses for teachers, intensify school monitoring and construction of staff houses to improve performance.
Samuel Kisitu, the District Councillor for Kasangombe Sub County, says it's possible for head teachers to eliminate failures.
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Ronald Ssebuyungo, a parent in Kikamulo sub-county welcomed the target set by the district, saying this will help to ensure that head teachers and teachers perform their roles.
Ssebuyungo adds that performance in government schools had declined due to incompetence of head teachers and absenteeism of teachers.
A section of head teachers who preferred anonymity for fear of being reprimanded, said the targets are hard to achieve when the district and other stakeholders don't play their part.
The head teachers complained of lack of accommodation at school, long distances and failure by parents to provide scholastic materials and lunch to pupils, saying these need to be addressed.
Africano Aharikundira, the of Nakaseke Deputy Resident District Commissioner has backed the head teachers, saying the demotions basing on PLE targets were irregular and unfair.
Aharikundira says performance of pupils is an effort by teachers, government, parents and other stakeholders but not the head teacher alone. He adds that the district should come up and explain whether other stakeholders have done their job and pupils fail because of the incompetence of head teachers.
Since 2016, at least 30 head teachers have been demoted over poor performance of schools in PLE. Authorities are also planning to sit this month and demote more six head teachers who recorded over 10% failures in PLE in 2018.