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Some children need special care during exams

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th July 2009 03:00 AM

RECENTLY I listened intently to a worried couple whose child, in a candidate class, wants to have his work printed in large font to enable him read with ease. For a child struggling with reading, accuracy and speed, the chances of grasping examination que

RECENTLY I listened intently to a worried couple whose child, in a candidate class, wants to have his work printed in large font to enable him read with ease. For a child struggling with reading, accuracy and speed, the chances of grasping examination que

By Deborah Mbuga
and Mathias Safari


RECENTLY I listened intently to a worried couple whose child, in a candidate class, wants to have his work printed in large font to enable him read with ease. For a child struggling with reading, accuracy and speed, the chances of grasping examination questions are low.

Fortunately, some children with disabilities can be allowed examination concessions (special exam session) by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB).

The concessions normally include, among others, additional time and reading of questions to the candidate so that he or she can clearly interpret them.

This is, however, possible in evidently severe cases where the child will not be able to cope with the general setting of the exam. Once parents or guardians present genuine reports from medical doctors, psychologists and teachers, the examining body can approve such requests.

“Your child with a disability can be assisted, depending on his or her specific need,” says Edna Nibiyizi, an officer at UNEB’s Special Needs Education desk.

“We team up with candidates who have disabilities such as blindness, mental retardation and physical impairment in primary and secondary schools. But the problem is that a good number of them are never registered,” Nibiyizi says.

Requests for special arrangement and considerations should be submitted and supported by the head of the examination centre. Below are tips on how to make such an appeal:
  • Let the candidate’s parents, guardians and teachers agree that the examination concession might be of help.

  • Get a letter from the head of the exam centre recommending the child to get an exam concession.

  • Inquire about deadlines for handing in the application. This is normally done in second term.

  • Ensure that you have a backing report from a doctor, neuro-psychologists and teachers. This should include historical evidence on the candidate’s special needs.

  • Fill the registration forms properly, highlighting the level and nature of the disability.

  • Ask the head teacher to write a letter explaining the gravity of the problem in detail.

  • After submitting the application, UNEB will forward the case to the Kyambogo-based Special Needs desk for further management. Later, a specialist will be sent to the child’s school to confirm his disability.

    This will be followed by preparation of the material needed, for instance, the braille for the deaf, sign interpreter for the deaf, etc.

    Those with concessions are given extra time, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour.

    However, not all candidates with special needs qualify for the concessions. It is only those who pass UNEB’s ratings. This, however, should not discourage concerned parents from seeking help.

    In case of emergencies, for instance, when a student gets an accident and loses an arm towards the examination period, the board will send someone to write for him, or better still, a cassette player could be used to record what the student would have submitted.

    Are you a teacher?
    Do you have ideas that can improve the learning of children?
    Email education@newvision.co.ug

    Some children need special care during exams

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