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Parents Flock Schools In Last Minute Plea For Children To Sit UCE

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Mwaka says the school administration is determined to block the students from sitting the examination once their parents don't make convincing commitments
A boy walks past a notice indicating an ongoing UCE Examinations at Msgr Antonio Vignatio Mixed Secndary school in Kitgum Municipality. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Several senior four candidates at various schools in Kitgum Municipality were locked out of the Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE examination this morning over failure to clear school fees. Senior candidates across the country kicked off their UCE exams around 9:00 Am with the physics practical paper.

However, by 9:35 Am, many candidates at various schools visited by Uganda Radio Network-URN within Kitgum Municipality had been denied access to sit UCE exams. Most of the students who were accompanied by their parents were seen camped around the offices of the headteachers pleading to be cleared to sit the exams.

At Kitgum Town College in Central Division, more than 10 students were at the Office of the Headteacher negotiating to be allowed to sit the UCE exams. The Deputy Head Teacher David Mwaka told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that only 140 students out of 182 registered candidates had by this morning cleared their school fees to zero balance.

Mwaka says the school administration is determined to block the students from sitting the examination once their parents don't make convincing commitments. He notes that they are acting as per the guideline of the Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB, which mandate schools to block students from sitting their exams in-case they default on school fees payment.

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Mwaka adds that it’s been a habit for some parents who haven’t paid their children’s schools to make late pleas hoping to gain sympathy. One of the parents, Vincent Kilama P’Atoo, who had camped at the Head teacher’s office to plead for his daughter, says he couldn’t raise enough money to clear the school fees due to the effects of COVID-19.

 

Kilama, who is a mason, notes that construction jobs have been scanty recently, adding that he hasn’t received payment for his last job.   Luo

//cue in: “Atiyo tic moni…

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Another parent, who didn’t want to be named in order to freely speak, says he lost his job recently and doesn’t have enough savings to clear the school fees balance for his son.

“Right now I don’t have any money in my saving, I’m having challenges even at home and my request is for the school administration to permit my son to sit because he can’t waste another year in O’Level. Before their exams are out, I would have cleared the amount I owe them,” he told URN in an interview.

The situation was similar at Msgr. Antonio Vignato Mixed Secondary School also in Central Division. The school Head Teacher, Fr. Thomas Okello said some parents couldn't afford to clear the full school fees and opted for last-minute negotiations to allow their children sit for UCE exams.

Fr. Okello says out of 60 senior four students registered, only 52 turned up to sit for the examination this morning.

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Richard Okidi Kibwota, the Kitgum Municipal Council Education Officer, says many parents haven’t been able to pay school fees for the candidates. Okidi advised the school administration to strike a cordial understanding with the parents to allow their children to sit the examination.   //cue in: “You know that…

Cue out…they should discuss,”//  

A total of 1,870 students comprising 974 males and 896 females registered for UCE in Kitgum Municipality.