Despite the different initiatives by government and other stake holders to support the girl child in school, there have been enormous challenges faced by the girl child especially these trying times of COVID19
According to various reports, these have indicated how there has been a surge in the number of girls likely not to join school after the impromptu break that left many among other reasons pregnant, forced into early marriage and others joining informal sector thus hindering their success in education
Civil organizations and institutions however warned that, if the government failed to come up with clear plan on how to end this developing trend, it would eventually ruin the entire education sector and development of the country
But like the familiar saying “numbers don’t lie,” reality has kicked in as statistics indicated that there has been a deliberate reduction in the number of female students that have registered to sit for their UACE, a thing that the civil organizations, institutions and government feared most
According to the press statement from the Executive Secretary of Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB), Mr. Daniel Odongo, a total of 98,393 learners are scheduled to sit for their examinations from 2,339 examination centres across the country.
“Unlike at the primary level where female candidates surpassed their male counterparts, the trend is different at this level,” said Odongo
Adding that 41.8 per cent (41,129) of the number of students are female while 58.2 per cent (57,264) are male
For many years it has been a common trend that the number of female students who with register for the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) exceeds that of the men students despite the challenges that manifested along the way
The government at one time even gave female students extra points (1.5) in order to compete relatively well with their male counterparts and again more slots at the institutions of higher learning
The government further accorded extra time (45 minutes) and allowed female students to sit for their examinations despite being pregnant or even breastfeeding
In addition, majority of learners slated to sit for UACE examinations are from private schools (Non-Upolet) with a total of 80,746 compared to those in Universal Secondary Education (Upolet) with a total of 17,647 a thing that continues to rise a red flag on the quality of education and other services provided in the government schools(USE’s)
200 candidates have special needs education (SNE) necessities and 55 require special support personnel such as transcribers and sign language interpreters. All these have been availed with access the necessary support.
Candidates will this morning kick off their exams with European History (Paper 3), World Affairs History (Paper 4) and Mathematic (Paper 1) in the morning and will in the afternoon write National Movements and new states history (Paper 1) and Mathematics (Paper 2) and the exams run from today to May 3.
UNEB however has cautioned all stakeholders against examination malpractice, adding that the perpetrators would be charged under the new UNEB Act 2021 that calls for stringent punishment which includes five years imprisonment from six months that was earlier amended or a fine of Shs5,000,000, or both.
This applies to any person who neglects his/her duty in preventing/reporting malpractice which comes to their knowledge UNEB notes.
Adding that the members of the public with information that may lead to persons involved in suspected malpractice should call our toll free line and that the whistle blower will be protected under the Boards’ whistle blower’s policy
Odongo noted that in line with the theme ‘Integrity and security in the management of examinations; the health and safety of learners was a joint responsibility’, and that the board will continue to partner with various security agencies to ensure security is guaranteed throughout the examination
He therefore asked candidates to acquaint themselves with the instructions and regulations contained in the time tables they were given months ago.
“Candidates should be aware that breach of instructions, regulations, involvement in irregularities, misconduct or dishonest acts such as cheating and impersonation may lead to disqualification or cancellation of results of a candidate or all candidates at the centre,” Odongo said.
Advising anyone to desist from any form of irregularities, not to be misled by anyone and that all heads of various examination centres to should observe the standard operation procedures (SOPs).
“I implore heads of centres and personnel involved in the conduct of the examinations to observe all the health and safety measures as guided by the Ministry of Health and endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Sports,” he said.