66,152 pupils ungraded in PLE, what options for them?

Saturday January 18 2020

A total of 66,152 pupils emerged as ungraded in the 2019 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results released by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) on Friday.

The Uneb executive secretary Dan Odongo said: “Division U (ungraded) is awarded to candidates who have failed to reach the minimum level of performance that can be awarded at least a division 4. Such candidates are advised to repeat.”

He said such a score shuts out any prospects of the pupils proceeding with any nationally examinable level of education in Uganda.

“A candidate is deemed to have passed if he or she obtains divisional grades of 1,2,3 or 4. Such candidates will qualify to register for any post-primary examination conducted by Uneb,” Mr Odongo revealed.

This, therefore, implies that any such pupil, who may insist on joining secondary school or the equivalent, risks being dragged back to Primary Seven when he or she attempts to register for any nationally registered and examinable course.

While releasing the 2019 Uneb results, Mr Odongo said of 683,302 candidates who sat for last year’s PLE, 26,976 were male, representing 8.2 per cent while 39,176 were females, representing 11 per cent.


Uganda’s curriculum indicates that the best score one can secure in PLE is when he or she scores a Distinction One in each subject, totalling Aggregate Four, at single sitting of the examination. The score is computed from the four examinable subjects of Mathematics, Science, English Language and Social Studies.

The State Minister for Primary Education, Ms Rosemary Seninde, advised the pupils who were ungraded to re-sit PLE.

“Of course, failure does not mean that life comes to an end. As a mother and a State Minister for Primary Education, I would advise that they [pupils that failed] to retry sitting for another set of PLE,” Ms Seninde said.

She said some candidates may be constrained by tuition and fail to redo the exams, and advised to opt for practical skilling programmes designed by the government in various institutions across the country.

“I understand that there are those that may not be able to try again because of circumstances beyond their own making like the challenge of finances,” Ms Seninde said.

“But for those that may retry sitting PLE, I would advise that they choose from the pool of options that government has put up. These include hands-on-practical skills courses,” she added.