Experts want automatic promotion eliminated
Posted Wednesday, January 23 2013 at 02:00
Edith Nantumbwe did not score the required grades in the Primary Leaving Examinations to join secondary school.
To be able to join a better school, her parents are now considering having her repeat Primary Seven.
However, this could have been avoided if the free education system did not have the mandatory promotion policy. Nantumbwe’s parents or guardians are not alone.
Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) statistics indicate that a total of 83,993 pupils will not make it to secondary school.
Some 20,989 candidates scored in Division X while 63,004 were in Division U. A candidate who falls in category X has missed exams, while U is for ungraded candidates.
Mr Matthew Bukenya, the Uneb executive secretary, explains that a candidate is deemed to have passed if they obtain divisional grades of 1, 2, 3 and 4. Such candidates will qualify to register for any post-primary examination conducted Uneb.
This year, 480,067 candidates passed PLE compared to 444, 815 the previous year.
Now experts and analysts believe that it is time the automatic promotion is either scrapped or its application is rethought.
“The truth of the matter is that automatic promotion has more negative effects than previously thought,” Frederick Ssempala, a Busitema University lecturer, told the Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday.
He said: “Not all will go to heaven. This means that even the Kingdom of God is not automatic. And that is why automatic promotion will not guarantee us the quality we are looking for.”
In another interview with the Executive Secretary Uganda Muslim Teachers Association, Mr Isa Matovu, it became apparent that the automatic promotion policy was hurriedly introduced and should be revisited. He, however, says the policy is not to entirely blame for the poor performances.
“Automatic promotion is not something that is unique to Uganda. It is done in many other countries. But the difference is elsewhere people look at total attainment in class and the curriculum as a complete unit whereas here (I Uganda) we don’t do that,” said Mr Matovu, adding that automatic promotion is supposed to act as a motivation tool.
To other analysts, the problem is even much deeper than presented above. According to Mr Simon Okin, a tutor at Primary Teachers College, Kitgum, the problem range between weakness in assessment of pupils and the overwhelming number of children teachers have to deal with at any one time.