By Stephen Ssenkaaba
For the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) candidates who may not make it to Senior One, repeating Primary Seven appears to be the only viable option available.
PLE results for 2013 were released last Friday, registering an 88.1%, pass rate. While many of the successful candidates will be absorbed into Senior One, some will be hoping to explore any alternative options available for them to further their education.
Of the 560,784 candidates who sat for the exams, about 66,645 failed and were not graded.
The first alternative would have been for those left out to join vocational, farm schools and other technical institutions.
However, following the government’s move to upgrade most vocational institutions, it means that the vocational option is no longer feasible for the PLE candidates who fail to make it to Senior One.
“The vocational education is not likely,” Tonny Mukasa Lusambu, the commissioner for primary education said.
Lusambu explained that joining vocational institutions requires students to have completed Senior Four. “Except for a few remaining farm schools, the government upgraded a number of vocational institutions, teacher training colleges and many farm schools. This means that candidates can only join these institutions after completing their Ordinary Level education,” he said.
This move, he said followed the realization that many pupils who complete Primary seven are too young to cope with the technical rigors of vocational education.
“Most of them are 12 or 13 years and still need a little more grooming before they can competently take on vocational education,” he said.
The closure of the technical, vocational option to the Primary school leavers means that many of them will have to repeat Primary seven in order to be able to competently compete for admission to Senior One next year.
However, for those wishing to pursue vocational training, there is a component under the skilling Uganda scheme (the newly initiated move to vocationalise education) where people can obtain vocational skills regardless of their academic background. Under this component, even those who have not gone to school are eligible to join and receive training.
Over 60,000 PLE failures to repeat Primary Seven