UCE: Overall performance declines

(L-R) Uneb Secretary General Mathew Bukenya, Uneb chairman Fagil Mandy and Education minister Jessica Alupo during the release of UCE results in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE.

What you need to know:

Performance dropped from 94.1 per cent in 2012 to 91.2 per cent in 2013. This represents a 2.9 per cent decline.


The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has reported a slight drop in performance in last year’s Senior Four results.

Mr Mathew Bukenya, the Uneb executive secretary, yesterday said the overall performance dropped from 94.1 per cent in 2012 to 91.2 per cent in 2013. This represents a 2.9 percentage points decline in performance.

According to Mr Bukenya, more than 50 per cent of the candidates were unable to demonstrate the basic competencies, with Chemistry being the most worrying. He also recorded a drop in performance in Geography, Agriculture and Physics. “Performance levels in the core science subjects still remain very poor. Chemistry is the most worrying subject where candidates couldn’t demonstrate basic competencies,” Mr Bukenya noted.

For instance, Agriculture, Physics, Chemistry and Biology subjects each had less than 1 per cent of their candidates score a distinction. Out of the 289,012 students who appeared for the exams, 129,853 were under government’s free education introduced in 2007. Absenteeism increased by 0.1 percentage points as compared to 2012.

Results of 1,800 students were withheld after the examining body suspected them to have been involved in examination malpractice. Mr Bukenya reported that most of the cases were identified during marking of the student scripts and can only be released after investigations.

Education minister Jessica Alupo directed that Uneb withdraws centres of schools which have consistently been involved in malpractice. She encouraged the 17.6 per cent of the students who scored division nine to repeat Senior Four so that they can at least acquire the needed competencies to use in life after school.

Although the government insists on compulsory science at ordinary secondary level, the performance in the subjects has continued to be poor.

Overall performance levels improved in Christian Religious Education, Islamic Religious Education, History and Biology. Mathematics and English improved at the upper grades. Female students performed better than males in English language and Literature in English, while the male candidates performed better in other subjects. However, the boys’ overall performance was better than that of the girls.

There is consistent poor performance in the construction of graphs, solving of simultaneous equations, skills of geometrical construction, vectors, the set theory, fraction expressions and consumptions of compound interests.

Some candidates continued to find problems in handling of apparatus during the practical tests as well as recording observations and drawing conclusions. “There were difficulties with questions requiring explanations, description of experimental procedure, use of chemical symbols and formulae, writing of units and dealing with tasks that require practical experience,” Mr Bukenya explained.

Candidates had difficulty in understanding the meaning of essential words used in questions, leading to presentation of irrelevant answers. There was inability to draw meaning from passages and make summaries.

Mr Bukenya pointed the finger at teachers who encourage their students to cram passages from English language texts which are then reproduced irrelevantly when answering English composition questions.
“Answers to questions requiring explanations or descriptions suffer from the language deficiency. There is evidence that the use of prescribed text books in teaching is being avoided by many teachers in preference to pamphlets,” Mr Bukenya said.

At least all the 34 inmates at Luzira Prisons who sat the exams passed. The two-day Senior Five selection is expected to start on March 6 pending their beginning of first term on March17.


According to Uneb standards, candidates in Divisions 1 and 2 demonstrated high levels of knowledge and skills in subjects they took, Division 3 represent those who were moderate in competence where they are able to demonstrate knowledge but are not able to deal with the higher order level skills while Division 4 have minimum competence. Here, they showed the ability to understand elementary concepts and skills only. Those who were awarded Division 9 have not achieved the basic level of competency required to be graded. As many as 25,229 students were in this category.