The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has said only a fifth of candidates (about 20 per cent) who sit Primary Leaving Examinations reach Senior Six. The board has commissioned a study to establish the cause.
Addressing journalists at the Uneb offices yesterday, Mr Dan Odongo, the executive secretary, said they are concerned about the huge student dropout between Primary Seven and Senior Six.
He said even if along the way, the learners branched off to vocational/technical institutes, such schools do not have the capacity absorb the numbers of students who do not reach A-Level.
“This year we had 695,805 pupils sitting PLE. 337,717 sat UCE examinations and 104,481 are sitting A-Level. Last year, 671,988 sat PLE, 336,734 sat UCE and 99,662 sat A-Level. You see that half of them do not sit Senior Four and almost only a fifth of the number sits A-Level,” Mr Odongo said. The 104,481 candidates will sit this year’s A-Level examinations beginning Monday. They are part of the 582,085 candidates who sat PLE in 2013. The number dropped to 326,212 candidates in 2017 when they sat Senior Four examinations.
The trend is not different from 2018 when only 101,269 candidates sat A-Level examinations, down from 543,071 who sat PLE in 2012 and had dropped to 306, 507 when they sat Senior Four examinations in 2016.
Asked about the possible cause of this huge dropout, Mr Odongo said he would not speculate and would wait for the findings of the study.
He said if it were only girls dropping out, the assumption would be early marriages as the cause but the dropout ratios of boys to girls are very close.
“Whereas this year at PLE and UCE, we observed that the number of female candidates was higher, at UACE the gap was quite wide with the boys making up to 58.2 per cent,” he said.
Briefing for this year’s A-Level exams started today.