By Vision reporter
THE 2007 Uganda Certificate of Education, or Oâ€™level results, released yesterday, indicate a decline in students who passed in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 compared to the previous year.
The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) secretary, Mathew Bukenya, however, said there was a slight increase in the overall pass rate, from 94.5% in 2006 to 95.2% in 2007.
The examinations body cancelled the results of 1,528 candidates because of examination malpractice. The irregularities included external assistance, impersonation and smuggling notes into the examination room.
Bukenya attributed them to negligence and improper management by supervisors. There was no leakage during the October/November examinations, Bukenya announced.
He, however, pointed out that serious challenges were posed by the floods which affected parts of northern and eastern Uganda. A total of 194,911 candidates sat for Oâ€™level examinations, up from 172,849 in 2006, Bukenya noted, reflecting an increase of almost 13%.
While releasing the results at the ministry boardroom yesterday, the acting minister of education, Gabriel Opio, attributed the increase of candidates to Universal Primary Education, which was introduced in 1997.
Of the 194,911, only 16,301 candidates or 8.6% passed in division one, 20.7% in division two, 26.8% in division three while 39.1% candidates passed in division four. A total of 8,874, or 4.7%, failed and do not qualify for an ordinary level certificate. The overall performance of boys was better than that of girls.
However, girls performed better in English while boys were better in other subjects.
Bukenya said many students lacked practical experience in science subjects while others could not express themselves clearly.
â€œEvidence in the work of candidates shows that there is over-reliance on pamphlets written and sold by some teachers,â€ he said.
â€œThese pamphlets are over-simplified notes, given in points, and do not help candidates to answer questions that require them to explain or describe.â€
Although the Government had introduced a policy of compulsory science subjects, about 40% of mainly private schools did not have laboratories, Bukenya noted.
Opio said UNEB would withdraw the examination centres of the schools which did not have equipped laboratories.
He said many schools also lacked science teachers, especially in rural and private schools.
â€œThe owners of private schools must invest in laboratories as a priority or else we will deny them examination centres,â€ he warned.
He further announced that selection for Senior Five, primary teachersâ€™ colleges, vocational and technical schools will take place on Thursday and Friday next week.
The term opens on February 18, the same day as for senior one. Hundreds of head teachers camped at the UNEB offices in Ntinda yesterday afternoon waiting for their studentsâ€™ results.
Many complained that it was not fair for UNEB not to release the lists of best candidates per district.
The UNEB score distribution indicated that Kotido in Karamoja had the highest percentage of candidates passing in Division 1 with 17%, followed by Wakiso (16.8%), Mbarara (14.7%), Mukono (14.2%), Kampala (14%), Luwero (13.5%) and Jinja (12.2%).
The districts with the lowest number of excelling candidates were Nakapiripirit, with no candidates at all in Division 1, and Katakwi, with only one student in Division 1, both in the eastern region.
The districts with the highest number of students who failed are Yumbe in West-Nile and Bukwo in the eastern region (12% each), followed by Bundibugyo in the west (11.5%) and Namutumba in the east (11.4%).