Wednesday February 26 2014

Schools to relax Senior 5 entry points as performance drops



Secondary Schools are likely to relax admission requirements for Senior Five entrants following a dip in performance in last year’s Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations compared to that of 2012.

Although many candidates have passed, a deep analysis of results shows that very few students have scored good grades. According to the 2013 results, only 20,001 candidates, representing 7 per cent, passed in Division One compared to 18,826 last year.

Traditionally well-performing schools such as St Mary’s College-Kisubi, Nabisunsa Girls, Mt St Mary’s Namagunga and King’s College Budo are expected to maintain last year’s cut-off points, or even lower them, to admit candidates who sat last year’s UCE. All these schools last year put the threshold intake aggregate at between 10 and 18 in best eight subjects, respectively.

However, this will not stop the candidates from missing admissions in their schools of choice due to the overwhelming number of candidates seeking admission there.

The break-down
At least 261,438 candidates passed, out of 289,012 who sat for the examinations. Although this (261,438) is higher compared to 248,513 in 2012, Uneb reported a drop in general performance compared to the previous year. A total of 25,229 candidates completely failed the exams as they passed in Division 9 and were ungraded.

But majority of the candidates passed in Division Four, the last pass grade at 48.7 per cent (139,597) and these will be left out. These, if they can’t afford fees to join private institutions, will join 25,229 candidates who passed in divisions 7 and 9 and 6,756 in Division X who registered but didn’t sit the exams. An analysis of the results shows that 11,866 more candidates passed in Division 7 and 9 compared to last year, while 19,857 more candidates were in Division Four.

According to Uneb grading, Grade One and Two are distinction passes; 3,4,5 and 6 are credit passes; Grade 7 is pass and Grade 9 is failure. Division X indicates that a candidate was absent or took insufficient papers for a grade to be awarded. This means that candidates in Divisions 1,2,3 and 4 qualify for award of UCE certificates while those in Division 7 and 9 don’t qualify for the certificates.

The admission procedure
Selection dates. Official Selection of candidates for Senior Five is slated for March 6-7, while March 17 is the reporting date. Admission is usually based on merit ,depending on performance in a given year or equivalents and the original order of choices made by the candidates.

Selection criteria. Computer selection of students for admission to Senior Five is up to 90 per cent for boarding schools and 95 per cent for day schools . Between 5 and 10 per cent of admission is done at the school level and such slots go to the children of government officials and members of school foundation bodies.

The priorities. Under the selection criteria , candidates who miss the first choice usually go to the schools of their second choice depending on their score . Most traditional schools normally give priority to candidates who consider them as first or second choice .In case a student fails to show up in 14 days after admission , a school may admit another eligible candidate to fill the vacancy.

Gender considerations. Mixed schools are excepted to enroll 50 per cent of either gender to bridge the gender disparity. Most schools implementing free post –Ordinary Level education are expected to admit candidates who scored atleast three subsidiary subjects.