UCE examinations start as delays are reported in Kampala schools
Posted Tuesday, October 15 2013 at 01:00
NATIONWIDE- The Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations kicked off well yesterday with minor incidents of delays in distribution of examination materials reported in some districts.
Candidates started with Geography Paper I in the morning, followed by Geography Paper II in the afternoon.
In Kampala, candidates at Kololo High School started 30 minutes late as school authorities delayed in a queue at the Old Kampala Police Station while receiving question papers.
Ms Amina Mukasa, the Kololo high head teacher, said Old Kampala police, the centre where they pick exam materials from, serves many schools and those far from the city centre are given first priority.
“It was beyond our control but good enough, we got the materials and candidates managed to complete in time,” she said, adding: “But we were also surprised that out of 418 candidates we registered, nine have not showed up and we cannot do much because their known mobile phones are switched off.”
For safety reasons, exam materials are usually kept at police stations a day prior to the sitting of the exam and only released to school heads in the morning.
Shakirah Muteesi, a candidate, said Geography Paper I was easy but was uncertain of what to find in Geography Paper II.
Delays in delivery of exam materials were reported in many schools in Kampala including Makerere College, Old Kampala SS and Kampala SS.
But Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) spokesperson Hamis Kaheru partly blamed the delays on the menacing traffic jams in the city. “We deployed our staff early and where there were delays it could be a result of traffic jam. But 30 minutes delay is not a cause for worry. The worry would be if they had started two hours late,” Mr Kaheru said.
Police deputy spokesperson Patrick Onyango said there were no serious incidences registered except at Kololo SS where a student turned up to sit exams yet he was not attending classes.
“But this was resolved and he was later allowed to sit for exams because he had registered from the centre and had cleared all the requirements,” Mr Onyango said. Uneb was in the past synonymous with massive leakages. However, this vice has slightly reduced of late although impersonation, teachers and invigilators helping students in exams are still rampant.
In Ngora District, a candidate at Ngora Girls SS was turned away because she was pregnant.
Authorities at the Anglican-founded school said the student was not fit to sit for the exams because she had not turned up since the beginning of the term.
“She did not report this term and we have information that she is pregnant,” a teacher at the school who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal said.
Like it was the case in Kampala, most rural schools also received exam materials late, but this was blamed on the bad terrain and roads.
Ngora District education officer Perpetua Alungat said the examinations kicked off well across the district, save for some candidates who missed out on the first day.
Last year, at least 60 girls in the same district failed to do the Primary Leaving Examinations as they had reportedly conceived by the time the examinations were due.
In West Nile, some schools authorities were shocked by reports that some of their candidates had got married and could not sit the exams. Such cases were reported at Lohwa SS in Moyo and Koch SS in Nebbi districts where three and two candidates respectively reportedly got married and their husbands could not allow them to leave their homes.
Two other candidates at Koch SS reportedly joined private security firms and school authorities could not trace them on the first day of examinations.
In Gulu District, a candidate, Concy Alanyo, was not able to sit for exams after getting involved in an accident that left both her legs broken.
At Kitgum Comprehensive School in Kitgum District, one candidate was not able to sit for exams after allegedly defiling a minor.
Today (Tuesday), candidates will sit for Chemistry Paper 1 in the morning, followed by Music Aural Paper I.