By Conan Businge
HALF of the private schools in Uganda have no registered examination centers from the national examinations body (UNEB), according to the latest report from the Ministry of Education.
The report, which grades private secondary schools in the country, shows that of the inspected 2,014 schools only 1,043 (52%) had examination centers. The national final examinations for Senior Four are scheduled to start a few weeks from now.
Only students attached to a UNEB examination centre are allowed to sit national examinations. UNEB has released a list of all schools with registered examination centers to curb cases of head teachers conning students of their exam registration fees.
There are only 2,432 centers approved by the examinations body. This includes centres outside schools such as community halls and public libraries. Such centres, according to UNEB, are registered through head teachers and district education inspectors.
During examinations, the community halls are controlled by invigilators like all other school exam centres. Privately registered candidates and schools without centres are allowed to sit their examinations at the community halls.
Over time, some examination centers have been cancelled by UNEB over malpractices. Some schools, much as they teach candidates, do not have registered examination centers.
This has led to some unscrupulous head teachers to use the loophole to collect national examination fees from students. This year, a total of 831, 927 pupils and students are expected to sit for the national examinations.
This is an increase of about 76,625 more pupils and students, compared to those of last year. According to the UNEB public relations officer, Eva Konde, there are 516,890 pupils who will sit for the primary leaving examinations (PLE), which will start on October 30.
There are 53,259 additional pupils who will sit for the examinations, compared to those of last year. The number of pupils has more than tripled since the Government introduced Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997.
In 1995, there were 2.63 million pupils in primary schools, compared to about eight million pupils today. The pupils, who were in primary one at the start of free primary education in 1997, will be sitting for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (Senior Six) final examinations this year.
The Senior Four national examinations will begin on October 16, and end on November 20. A total of 217,358 students are expected to sit the examinations. There are also more 97,679 students who will sit for the Senior Six examinations beginning on November 6.