By Innocent Anguyo
OVER 137,000 S4 leavers have not been admitted to S5 because of lack of capacity in A’level secondary schools countrywide.
All government-aided schools, Primary Teachers Colleges (PTCs), Government Universal Post-Ordinary Level Education Training (UPOLET) schools, private UPOLET schools and government-aided technical institutions can only admit 124,334 students out of the 261,438 who passed in division one, two, three and four, according to Ministry of Education.
This leaves 137,104 candidates not catered for, the officials at the selection centre in Wonder World Amusement Park, Kampala, revealed on Friday, at the closure of the two-day selection exercise.
Francis Agula, the commissioner for secondary education in the Ministry of Education, said the 669 government-aided UPOLET schools will admit 68,045 students, while the 260 private UPOLET schools will admit 23,400.
“The 115 government non-UPOLET schools will admit 21,870 students; the 45 PTCs will admit 8,119 and the 58 government-aided Business and Technical Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) institutions will take 2,900,” Agula explained.
He, however, said Uganda has about 500 private A’level schools which can absorb some of the students who were not taken through the selection process. He said others could join teacher training colleges and vocational training institutions. He expects about 80% of the 289,012 candidates who sat for the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) last year to find placement for further studies.
“The students who failed (25,229) last year’s UCE are advised to repeat. They should be made to repeat on their consent and that of their parents. If they do not want to repeat, they should be placed in technical institutions such as polytechnics and technical community vocational schools,” Agula said.
Senior five students report for their first term on March 17.
The performance was affected by lack of teachers, particularly for sciences, shortage of science equipment, reliance on pamphlets both by teachers and students, cramming by learners and lack of understanding of questions by the candidates.
Meanwhile, head teachers have welcomed the Ministry order that all schools must increase intake in science disciplines.
Theresa Mary Obbo of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Gayaza, said the only challenge to the implementation of the directive would be the poor performance of students.
She urged the Government to build more science facilities such as laboratories and classrooms, to ensure that the increased numbers admitted acquire quality education.
Education Minister Jessica Alupo said a phased recruitment of 6,350 science teachers is planned, with the ministry imploring the public service to endorse the enrolment of at least 3,350 in the next financial year.
She added that the ministry will soon seek 800 more teachers to teach computer studies in schools. Alupo said 600 laboratory assistants would be recruited in the coming years. All this is to enhance performance in sciences.