Kampala- The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has rejected a request for a six-month contract extension for long-serving executive secretary, Mr Mathew Bukenya, and are set to appoint his replacement to start work in three months’ time.
Mr Bukenya, who has been heading Uneb for the last 16 years, will be replaced by Mr John Bosco Ntangaare, who emerged the best candidate in the interviews, sources close to the recruitment process told this newspaper yesterday.
According to sources privy to the search, Mr Ntangaare scored 76.5 per cent in the interview against Mr Andrew Mawejje, who garnered 74.2 per cent. The appointment of the next head of Uneb awaits approval of Education minister Jessica Alupo.
Mr Ntangaare, 50, currently heads the department of examinations at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU).
“The minister now has the discretion to choose the suitable candidate or seek the President’s advice,” a source said. Mr Bukenya’s reign at Uneb expired in December 2012, but was extended for a year to prepare for his retirement and also help orient his replacement.
The decision to zero in on the two candidates was reached during a board meeting on Wednesday at Uneb offices in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb. However, according to the source, some board members expressed concern that there was influence peddling by the Uneb chairperson, Mr Fagil Mandy, right from the start of the process –something that may affect the whole process.
“Being chairman of board, Mr Mandy is not mandated to sit on the appointments committee,” a source that preferred anonymity said yesterday. But when contacted, Mr Mandy indicated that he had all the mandate to be involved in the process given that he was concerned about the human resource at Uneb and wanted a transparent exercise.
“As the board chair, I am an official to any committee even though I am unable to attend all. I had to make sure there is transparency in the system and that it runs smoothly. Which chairman does not take interest in the running of the [HR] department?” he asked.
Mr Mandy said the best candidate has been considered for the job.
The 26-member Uneb board inaugurated late last year comprises members from the legal fraternity, ministry of Education, Public Service, National Curriculum Development Centre, Directorate of Education Standards, Education Service Commission and universities.
A total of 53 people applied to replace Mr Bukenya, but the eight who were shortlisted were invited for the interviews between December30-31. The Uneb appointments committee is chaired by Prof Mary Okwakol, the vice chancellor Busitema University, but according to the source, during the interviews, Mr John Arinaitwe stood in for her as she was reported to be attending a funeral of her family member.
It is understood that Mr Mandy’s board found it necessary to end Mr Bukenya’s tenure because he is almost 80 years and that young people were needed to rejuvenate the steering of the body.
During his tenure, Mr Bukenya tried to minimise exam leakages which were synonymous with Uneb. However, cases of impersonation, candidates getting assistance from teachers and invigilators during exams are still rampant.
Recently, Mr Bukenya announced a new innovation where candidates will be able to assess their results online and this is likely to be experimented this year, starting with Senior Six results.
Four years ago, Uneb also introduced an easy and hassle-free SMS service which makes it possible for candidates to access their results as soon as they are officially released by the Ministry of Education.
WHO IS NTANGAARE
Mr John Bosco Ntangaare is currently the chief examinations officer at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) where he manages professional accountancy examinations - including curriculum design and development, training and coordinating examiners, identifying examinations venues, conducting examinations, supervising the marking process, coordinating the processing examinations results and their release. Prior to joining ICPAU, he worked at Mengo Senior School (1989 – 1998) as the dean for the upper school (A-Level).