Monday May 5 2014

Restore order at exams body

Government must promptly end the troubles at Uganda’s premiere examinations body. Former Uneb chairperson Fagil Mandy and executive secretary Mathew Bukenya’s altercation is only a precipitation of Uneb’s deep-seated problems.
Uneb’s error of judgement stems from government’s blatant violation of the law. The Uneb Act of 1983 must be adhered to. The law is unequivocal and mandates the President to appoint the Uneb chairperson, who in turn appoints Uneb’s executive secretary with approval of the minister of Education. But the stipulations are today reversed.

As Fagil Musa Mandy accurately pointed out, the President’s renewal of Bukenya’s stay at the helm of Uneb is illegal. The Uneb Act, 1983, firmly places the responsibility between the board and the line minister.

Indeed, Education minister Jessica Alupo is right that the question of age or over stay in office should not rank higher in priority for such a sensitive institution; an illegality must not be accepted. Government must not slip and sink into deeper mess but peer into the bottom of the problem to come up with lasting solutions. Minister Alupo and team must not confirm an illegality.
Ms Alupo’s concession that part of Uneb’s problem is a system clog without change at the top of the exams body’s governance for nearly two decades must be addressed.

Government should take up recommendations that vice-chancellors from Uganda’s public universities, who are substantive members of Uneb board, chair Uneb board on rotational basis. Uneb should actively go beyond only administration of exams and undertake research and recommend improvement in teaching.

Ms Alupo’s proposal to have an independent firm to carry out the recruitment process should be considered and interpreted within the Uneb Act, 1993.
To restore sanity and confidence in the national examinations body, rule of law must be adhered to. Already, the quarrel has negatively affected the marking and release of exams results and schedule of curriculum, especially for senior five students.
Uneb must not be allowed to run without the pivotal leadership of a chairperson.
Government needs to move decisively to end the vacuum at Uneb.