Sunday January 26 2014

Uneb row breeding mistrust

The alleged clean up of the Uganda National Examination Board is proving to be immensely complicated and contradictory. The task now of the current board chairman Mr Fagil Mandy of evaluating the balance between change and continuity seems to be frustrated by deep seated divisions in the examinations body.

Uneb has fairly few staff who should be able to have a workplace forum within to carry out meaningful consultations, discussion and joint policy formulation. At a personal level, there should be good individual communication between the board and management but, all this seems to be virtually non-existent. The issues that are seen as falling within management discretion do not seem to be subject to consultation or negotiation.

A shameful example are the recent outbursts between the outgoing Board Secretary, Mr Mathew Bukenya, and Mr Mandy. Coupled with this is the alleged malpractices and influence peddling in recruitment of a new board secretary, the IGG intervention after the whistle blower report, and the breakdown of Uneb computers during the marking of examination scripts, point to a much bigger problem.

Of recent, National Council for Higher Education was in the news for the wrong reasons of biased recruitment of its chairman. The technical and political arms in the the Ministry of Education are allegedly not on good terms. So if the top education management organs cannot have order, then what should we expect from lower schools, colleges and universities.

I am surprised that the managers at Uneb does not realise the delicate and curious position they occupy in this country. As academic examiners, you examine millions of Ugandans on trust. Now, you have, as a body failed your own exams in the court of public opinion. The general rule is that Uneb must at all times appear neutral and act in general public interest.

George W. Ntambaazi