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UNEB Asked to Review Transcriber Policy for Special Needs Learners

The current policy allows the candidates to meet the UNEB appointed official on the day they are sitting for examinations. The transcribers are tasked to take dictations from the special needs candidate who may have a special need impinging upon their ability to write or read independently.
20 Jan 2019 12:41
Juliet Mary Tumuhairwe,the headteacher of the Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped

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Teachers of children with special needs have asked the Uganda National Examinations Board to give transcribers more time with learners with special needs before their final examinations.

The current policy allows the candidates to meet the UNEB appointed official on the day they are sitting for examinations. The transcribers are tasked to take dictations from the special needs candidate who may have a special need impinging upon their ability to write or read independently.

But the teachers say that the policy, affects the efficacy of learners in this category. They argue that learners should spend at least three days with the transcribers, to ease the tension among candidates and enable the transcribers to understand the learner's strengths, weaknesses, intonation and diction, before the final examination.

Juliet Mary Tumuhairwe, the head teacher of Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped says that often, children with special needs take time before freely expressing themselves, especially while dealing with strangers.

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Rose Maria Akello, a teacher at the school explains that some of the students at the school take a long time to warm up to new faces. This she says is worse at examination time. "Normally, some of these children take weeks to warm up to a new face, some will even take months,” she said during an interview with Uganda Radio Network. 

Records from last year's Primary Leaving Examinations-PLE, indicate that the Uganda National Examinations Board registered 1, 128 learners with Special Needs. These included those with visual and hearing impairments, the physically handicapped, and the dyslexics, among others. The best pupil at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped scored 19 aggregates.

Tumuhairwe adds the presence of strangers during examinations is one of the reasons that their students appear not to perform well. She requests that in future, UNEB considers allowing teachers into the examination room to support learners with speech problems and related impairments.

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UNEB Executive Secretary Daniel Odongo says that the main reason behind using UNEB appointed transcribers instead of teachers is to allow transparency.

"If we allow this for one group, then another one will make the same argument. Plus, every teacher wants to prove that they taught. It will not be easy to stop teachers from cheating for pupils," he argues.