By Conan Businge
Students joining Senior One will face stiff competition for the limited vacancies in the top secondary schools in the country.
The 2012 primary leaving examinations results released on Monday showed improved performance, with a pass rate of 88.4% compared to last year’s 86.4%, which shows an improvement of 2%.
The number of candidates who passed the examinations also increased from 444,815 to 480,067. In 2010, there were 431,706 candidates who passed the examinations.
However, the improved performance and increased number of candidates means many parents are likely to get disappointed as their sons and daughters fail to make it to schools of their first choice owing to the stiff competition.
The Senior One selection exercise is slated for Wednesday and Thursday next week.
Last year, a total of eight top performing schools had their cut off points at five aggregates. This means for a pupil to be admitted in any of these schools, they should have scored distinction one in at least three of the four subjects examined with the worst score being a Distinction Two in the fourth subject.
Even then, such schools only take very few candidates with aggregate five.
So, a candidate who does not have aggregate four may find it an uphill task getting into schools like Uganda Marty Namugongo, Namilyango College, St Mary’s College Kisubi, Mt St. Mary’s Namagunga, Gayaza High School, Nabisunsa Girls School, St. Mary’s Kitende and Kings College Buddo.
Other schools, which are expected to maintain high cut-off points, are Trinity College Nabbingo, Kibuli SS, Turkish Light Academy, Mbarara High, Seeta High School, Ndejje SS, and Makerere College.
Traditional schools in the up country are also likely to maintain higher cut-off points, a development attributed to good performance in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
During the selection process, pupils are admitted to various schools, on the basis of their performance and the choice of schools made before sitting for national examinations.
Private and public schools, all take part in the selections process.
Admissions are based on merit according to PLE results or equivalents and the original order of choices made by the candidate.
Computer selection of students for admission in senior one is up to 90% for boarding schools and 95% for day schools.
The rest of the percentage is administered by the chairman of the admission committee and in this case, it is the assistant commissioner (Secondary education) Francis Agula.
Under the selection criteria, a candidate who misses the first choice usually goes to the second choice schools depending on his or her score. Schools normally give priority to candidates who chose them as the first or second choice.
In cases where a student fails to turn up 14 days after he or she has been admitted, a school may admit an eligible candidate to take on the vacant slot.
Each slot is expected to enroll 50% of each sex (Male and Female) to curb the gender disparity in the country’s education system.
Male students always outnumber their female counterparts at almost every level of the country’s education system, a situation which Government is striving to reverse.
But most schools under the Universal Secondary Education programme, especially those upcountry are expected to admit candidates who scored up to aggregate 28.
Senior One students are expected to begin their first term on February 18, contrary to an earlier date which had been set by the education ministry.