By Vision Reporter
The Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Mubajje yesterday expressed dismay at the education ministry the and Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) for conducting national exams on the Muslim holiday, Idd Adhuha.
Unfortunately, this comes after a Wednesday incident when the afternoon Islamic Paper One for Senior Four students had questions set outside the syllabus.
But Mubajje dwelt on UNEB’s rigidity and demanded that these mistakes should not happen again. He advised the ministry and UNEB to liaise with the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council when drafting the national examinations timetable.
“Some of our children are busy doing exams today!” he said during prayers at the Old Kampala Mosque.
“It is not acceptable. Our children are unable to enjoy the day with us, yet it is a holy day. Next time, we shall advise our children to miss the exams, instead of working on a Muslim holy day,” Mubajje threatened.
The education minister Jessica Alupo said it was regrettable.
“Had the day been known, we would have skipped it while drawing the time table,” she said.
Alupo appealed to schools to allow students celebrate the day.
Yesterday students sat for Chemistry Paper Four in the morning and Accounts Paper One in the afternoon.
However, the deputy Imam of Gadaffi Mosque, Ali Shiwuyo, said: “I am sure it was a mistake. UNEB has built an image of serving Uganda. I don’t think they can set a paper to malice anyone. I know that even UNEB would be proud if the children pass the exams.”
He advised UNEB to own up on this mistake and be considerate with children while marking this exam.
Most schools across the country were thrown into confusion when students sitting the Islamic Religious Education (IRE) paper found questions they have never studied.
However, a renowned city lawyer, Nesta Byamugisha, warned that UNEB could be in trouble if some students fail the IRE paper. “Students can sue for lack of a fair examination if they prove it was because of the questions outside the syllabus,” he told Saturday Vision.
“UNEB has a duty to examine students from only areas in the syllabus from which they are instructed. Failure of that is an actionable cause to take UNEB to court,” Byamugisha added.
When asked about the anomaly, George William Semivule, a retired head teacher, said such hitches are inevitable due to the rigorous anti-fraud processes of UNEB.
“Whenever that happens, UNEB provides necessary solutions that ensure the examinations are fair to all the candidates,’’ he said.
‘‘And it will be easier for UNEB to assess the extent to which students were disadvantaged because they are few. Of course it is inevitable for students to panic, but I think it is not a big problem,” Byamugisha advised.
UNEB released a statement on Wednesday, apologising for the mistake and promised to chart a way forward.
Hamis Kaheru, the board’s spokesperson, said: “UNEB will have enough time to administer an alternative paper if the decision is made. In this case, extra measures will be put in place to avoid repeating the same mistake.”