Editorial

Sort out pre-entry exams question

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By Editorial

Posted  Thursday, May 15  2014 at  18:30
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Makerere law school and Uneb are locked in a see-saw game and none of them has heeled over the argument on pre-entry aptitude exams as sole admission criteria to Makerere law school. The school says the formula will raise the quality of students enrolled but Uneb says aptitude tests do not predict competencies required to excel in law school.

Makerere insists applicants to the law course must have two principle passes at A-Level as required, but also pass the pre-entry aptitude test. But Uneb says Makerere should use only A-level results as was the tradition.

It is good that both Makerere and Uneb say they have bases to back their assertions. But Dr Robert Wamala, a lecturer in the School of Statistics and Planning, Makerere University, says no research on adoption of pre-entry exams by Makerere exists. So the onus is on former dean of the law school and a senior lecturer Prof Fredrick Juuko to declare the ‘big study’ which informed the basis for pre-entry exams.

Nevertheless, Uneb must admit that Makerere’s walk away from Uneb’s results as sole basis for admission to the Bachelor of Laws programme is an indictment of the integrity of Uneb exams results.

Even when Uneb’s head of research and data, Dr Saverio Pido, says the exam leakage has been plugged, Uneb must do more to arrest quick-witted exams cheats not to easily slip through, so Makerere’s fears are rested. And Makerere too must be open to other views and evaluate Dr Pido’s suggestion that Dar-es-Saalam as the pioneer of pre-entry exams in the region dropped the practice.

For Makerere, even as its head of pre-entry exams and mature age, Herbert Batamye Kyobe says, the goals of pre-entry exams may not be measured now, let Makerere not hasten to adopt pre-entry scheme for other critical courses such as Medicine. And Uneb should complete and release its research findings on the fallacy of pre-entry exams. The public needs re-assurance that Makerere law school or Uneb are right on the pre-entry aptitude test question.

Both Makerere and Uneb should rely on data to make evidenced-based decisions. Makerere law school, the senate and Uneb should discuss and agree on the way forward. If found desirable, the law school pre-entry formula should be applied across all courses to raise the quality of all students.
Makerere and Uneb must urgently sort out and harmonise this policy.

The issue: Law School pre-entry exams
Our view: Both Makerere and Uneb should rely on data to make evidenced-based decisions. Makerere law school, the senate and Uneb should discuss and agree on the way forward.