USE Students to Miss Out on Free A-Level Education

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The future of candidates from the Universal Secondary Education program who sat their Ordinary Level examinations last year hangs in balance because there is no money to start the free Advanced level Education program, this year.

80 percent of the 286,000 students, who sat their ‘O' level examinations, are from schools under the Universal Secondary Education program.

Namirembe Bitamazire, the Minister of Education of Education and Sports says that despite the fact that most of the students passed their ‘O' Level Examinations they will not benefit from the government Universal "A" Level education program because of lack of funds to start the program this year.

Bitamazire explains that government has budgeted to the start the Universal "A" level education program in February 2012. She says that the money is needed for the construction of additional classrooms, recruitment of new teachers and the necessary infrastructure to handle the increased number of students.

The Universal ‘A' level education program is one of the election campaign pledges being made by President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM ruling candidate. While, releasing the "O" level examinations results this morning, Mathew Bukenya, the Executive Director of Uganda National Examinations Board said there was remarkable improvement in the performance of Islamic Religious Education, Physics and Chemistry.

According to the results 18, 709 candidates passed in division one, 42,455 in division 2 and 16, 740 candidate failed the exams and have been asked to repeat. Bukenya says that 267, 146 out of the 286,000 who sat UCE passed physics and chemistry compared to211, 486 who passed the subjects in 2009.

He attributes the improvement in the performance of sciences subjects to the establishment of functional science laboratories especially government schools. Bukenya says that a survey carried out by the ministry last year, indicates that 92 percent of the schools have fully equipped functional science laboratories.

He however says that the study showed many private schools lacked laboratories. Bukenya says that during the examinations students from private schools exhibited the lack of exposure to practical, skills in handling apparatus, recording observations and plotting results.