By John Semakula
A drop in the spirits of staff at Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) is being blamed for the delayed release of last year’s Senior Four examination results.
The low morale among staff is reportedly due to a cost-cutting move by the exams body which, in effect, has seen the marking and supervising allowances, including per-diem, cut down.
But UNEB chairman Fagil Mandy told New Vision that whatever the case, the S.4 results will be released on February 24 – less than two weeks away.
The exams body released the 2013 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results at the end of last month, a slight delay from the usual mid-month release.
While addressing journalists at Statistics House on January 31, education minister Jesca Alupo maintained that the official release of the PLE results was still within the period stipulated by the law, brushing off earlier media reports that breakdown of machines at UNEB had affected the process.
With the S.4 results expected out soon, focus has shifted in the direction of motivation of the workers at UNEB.
A source from there told New Vision that when Mandy took over as chairman of the board, he clipped staff allowances.
The move reportedly affected the workers’ morale, which had in the past been relied on to expedite the process of marking exams.
New Vision has also learnt that some senior staff were demoralized because Mandy sidelined them when he reportedly sought to hire an outsider (outside UNEB) to replace departing executive director Matthew Bukenya.
“There are people who have been in UNEB for decades and were eager to replace Bukenya but were sidelined. They lost morale,” said the source who preferred anonymity.
But chairman Mandy insisted it was normal that whenever a new person is outsourced, some people in the company are affected.
“This is not unique to UNEB but it’s the same elsewhere,” he said.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Irene Mulyagonja, intervened in the process of replacing Bukenya after a whistleblower had tipped her that the process had been characterized by a lot influence peddling.
Previously, by mid-February, S.4 results would be released, but the source revealed that the verification exercise of the results had just ended.
After marking the exams, the results are subjected to verification before UNEB goes into the process of answering the arising queries.
On the issue of chopping of staff allowances, Bukenya said the board first considered UNEB’S budget before adopting the move.
New Vision understands that the problems at UNEB have been worsened by the delayed payment of the January salaries and the delay by government to remit the Universal Secondary Education (USE) and Universal Primary Education (UPE) examination fees.