The bill proposes tough penalties for anyone found guilty of exam malpractice. It provides that a person who before or during an examination has in his or her possession any examination paper or material commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding 2,000 currency points (40 million Shillings) or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.
UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo
Government has tabled the Uganda National Examinations Board
(UNEB), 2020 amendment bill that seeks to address gaps in the current act. The Primary
Education State Minister, Rosemary Seninde tabled the bill in parliament on
The bill proposes tough penalties for anyone found guilty of
exam malpractice. It provides that a person who before or during an examination
has in his or her possession any examination paper or material commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding 2,000 currency points (40 million Shillings) or a term of imprisonment not
exceeding 10 years or both.
The same penalty will apply to misappropriation of examination registration
fees and a person who assists or causes a candidate to obtain an examination
paper or material. Where the convicted person is a registered teacher, he or
she shall be disciplined with relevant laws of the teaching profession.
Loss or misuse of the examination paper, material or information and damaging or
destruction of the same by those having possession is also an offence and
on conviction. They will be liable to a fine of 1000 currency points
approximately Shillings 20 million or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years. This
same penalty is proposed for impersonation.
The Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Uganda National Examinations Board
Act. Cap 137, which was enacted in 1983 and create reforms relating to the
administration and management of primary and secondary national examinations
and any other examinations the Board may consider necessary.
It also seeks to see the continuation of UNEB as a body corporate, downsize the
Board from its current size of 30 members to match the principles of good
governance by removing non-existent positions that were affected partly by the
restructuring of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in 1998.
“The current Board of UNEB is bloated which contravenes the
principles of good governance and puts a huge financial burden on the budget of
the Examinations Board. The powers and functions of the Board under the current
UNEB Act are narrow and fall short of providing the comprehensive regime that
allows the Board to properly conduct credible and quality examinations,” says
The bill also seeks to widen the functions and powers of the Board and make
them consistent with other laws, expand offences and enhance penalties to deter
“Since 1983, Uganda's education system has undergone a number of reforms
ranging from legal, institutional and policy framework coupled with the socio-
economic changes which have affected the operations of the Examinations Board
and implementation of the Act. In addition, since the enactment of Uganda
National Examinations Board Act. Cap 137 in 1983 there are new emerging issues
due to the changing educational and technological revolution that require
review and additional provisions to address them” reads part of the Bill seen
by Uganda Radio Network.
Some of the highlighted issues that government seeks to address include matters
dealing with systematic measuring and monitoring the performance of individual
pupils, students, schools. The government says that the national education system needs to
be strengthened and made consistent with other legal provisions and that it is
imperative to reform the law as it does not meet current needs and the
long-term goals of Government in the education sector.
The other defects in the current law identified by the government are that
penalties in the current Act are weak and therefore need enhancement to make
them more meaningful and deterrent to match the objectives of the regulatory
The government also says that the current Act is not in tandem
with the developments in the country, for instance, several Acts have been passed,
which have established examination boards such as Uganda Nurses and Midwives
Examinations Board (UNMEB) and the Uganda Business and Technical Examination
Board (UBTEB). These are responsible for preparing and administering national
examinations for Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET)
and medical institutions.
Seninde says that the UNEB Act needs to be revised to separate the functions of
UNEB from those of newly established examinations boards. The Speaker Rebecca
Kadaga has referred the Bill to the Education and Sports Committee for scrutiny.