In a recent circular issued by UNEB addressing the registration of learners for the 2022 national examinations series, the board allowed students who were in S.2 in 2020 to register for the examinations. However, this option was only extended to private students locking out learners under the Uganda Secondary Education -USE.
The Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB is at
crossroads with a decision to register 2018 Primary leavers who are in public
schools to sit for this year's Uganda certificate of Education-UCE examinations.
Towards the beginning of the new academic year, Dan
Odongo, the UNEB secretary informed parents and learners that the board is
going to ensure that learners who studied during the COVID-19 lockdown and have the
required competence are registered.
This meant that learners who were in P.5
and S.2 before the closure of schools in 2020 could be allowed to sit national
at the primary level there is no contention, as the learners have not yet been
captured in the UNEB system, for one to sit for UCE must have spent a minimum
of four academic years at the ordinary level of education.
Odongo argued that although the learners might have not spent the required
official academic years, the fact is that a section of learners utilized the
dead year in the education sector. To him, learners’ efforts and resources of
parents could not have been in vain.
In a recent circular issued by UNEB addressing the registration of learners for the 2022
national examinations series, the board allowed students who were in S.2 in
2020 to register for the examinations. However, this option was only extended
to private students locking out learners under the Uganda Secondary Education
"Only candidates who have passed PLE or its equivalent
and have attended a full lower Secondary (four years of Ordinary Level) may be
registered for UCE examinations. Candidates who sat PLE in 2017 or earlier
shall be allowed to register. UNEB is aware that some candidates who sat PLE in
2018 adapted to distance learning and the progress of their learning was not
interrupted by the lockdown. Such candidates identified by the school may
register for UCE. Candidates registering under USE must be those who sat PLE in
2017 only," the circular reads in part.
An official from the ministry of education and sport who
is privy to the matter told URN that the government has always had a policy of
not paying registration fees for repeaters thus limiting the funds to learners
from one specific year.
With his argument considered, this year is different
given the fact that learners who are requesting to be added to the program are
the ones who sat PLE a year later than the considered year. The official says
the government allowed students to be automatically promoted to the next class
without skipping two classes.
"Automatic promotion was from the classes they
occupied before lockdown to the next class. Those who were in senior two were
promoted to senior three, not senior four. Actually, the ministry advised
schools from abusing this directive by making learners repeat classes against
their wish or skipping class," the source said.
Kalule Musumba, the UNEB spokesperson, says the issue has generated debate
between the board and the education ministry. Musumba adds that the circular
which our reporter saw has been recalled to ensure that the issue is fully
settled and later the final decision will be communicated to schools and the
//Cue in; "It’s an issue…
Cue out....still consulting."//
With the jury set to decide on the matter, the source at
the education ministry, notes that if the ministry challenges the registration
of 2018 primary leveler on government sponsorship, there is a likelihood of
also stopping the private students so as to avoid bias.
"It's a puzzling issue. If a learner on USE is
assessed and fit for the examinations having continued studying during the
lockdown, why do you lock him or her out yet you have allowed their
counterparts on private arrangement to register? It is difficult to allow a
section of learners and lock another outside. But am not the one who calls the
shots," the source added.
Emmanuel Ssempiira, the dean of studies at Kampala High
School, says a number of parents have already been approaching them claiming
that their learners have covered the senior three content during the lockdown
and therefore they should be allowed to register for national examinations.
Ssempiira says that it’s good that UNEB has scheduled
registration at the beginning of the academic year to stop the confusion. He
however notes that Kampala High School is a public school and will go by the
decision of the government.
//Cue in; "The standard year…
Cue out...understood the situation."//
Peter Opolot, the deputy headteacher in charge of
academics at Old Kampala Secondary School, says if the learners who were in S.2
want to run fast and if UNEB has given them an opportunity, they should foot
The educationist who is presiding over a non-use school is however
pessimistic that there is any student who could have adequately prepared more
so in subjects that require practical skills.
//Cue in; "There are parents…
out...a bit tricky."//
Meanwhile, for the Senior Six examinations, the board
said that only candidates who have passed UCE and obtained the Uganda
Certificate of Education in 2019 or earlier are the ones that can be registered
for the 2022 UACE examination. Candidates registering under Universal Post O'
Level Education & Training-UPOLET must be those who sat UCE in 2019 only.
Furthermore, UNEB has not changed its registration fees
for private candidates. This means candidates in primary will pay 34,000, UCE
candidates will pay 164, 000 while those in UACE will pay 186,000.
to the examination body’s schedule, registration of candidates is expected to
run from February 1 to May 31, 2022. The deadline for late registration has
also been fixed at June 30 coming with a surcharge of 50 percent.