Use PLE results to retool UPE policy
Posted Monday, January 21 2013 at 02:00
The education system of any country places its citizens correctly on the labour grid of the economy and therefore, the subjects in which pupils are examined are as important as the grades scored.
Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) are the first set of national examinations given at the first cycle of our education system after seven years. This very important component of the education system should be looked at more objectively, as opposed to simply looking at the grades scored by the pupils and the individual performance of schools as the case is now.
The education system of any country places its citizens correctly on the labour grid of the economy and therefore, the subjects in which pupils are examined are as important as the grades scored. The grades, on the other hand, represent the abilities, interests and wishes of the children and the content covered or not covered during the seven years.
“Interests” is used deliberately to mean that a child may score a Credit Three in Social Studies against distinctions in Mathematics, English and others. In evaluating this child, one would be wrong to suggest that the pupil performed poorly in Social Studies.
PLE remains the most delicate level, covering the longest phase of the school system and requires good skills on the side of the Uganda National Examinations Board to decide what aspects of the things taught to the pupils should be examined.
Having to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning over a period of seven years by giving a summative test certainly means that the pupils have forgotten some of the things they were taught in Primary Three. But some of the things could have been taught in such a way that the learners know but are unable to present them as the examination tailored system demands.
The examinations also play a very significant role in helping the process of selecting pupils for secondary education. The grades that pupils get in PLE determine which school, they can access. For this reason, the system of national examinations at whatever level, should be done with utmost integrity.
The results could be used for comparative purposes at district level and also to show the figures of the next generation of citizens who are able to read and write.
PLE also helps to compare how the Universal Primary Education system is performing and therefore, sending the planners of our education system back to the drawing board when and as need arises.