Most secondary schools yesterday relaxed their cutoff points for students joining Senior Five after it emerged that they were not able to find all-round excellent scores for subject combinations for majority of the learners.
Mr Jameson Ondoa, a teacher at Maracha SS, told Daily Monitor during the selection that although there was an improvement in performance among students who choose them, they found it difficult to match subject combinations.
“We have difficulties in making subject combinations. It is a big problem and girls are most affected,” Mr Ondoa said.
However, the top traditional schools said their cutoff points dropped because the performance of those who applied for their schools was not as good as the previous year.
For example, girls joining Nabisunsa Girls have seen their cutoff point drop from Aggregate 17 in the best done eight subjects to Aggregate 18.
Boys going to King’s College Budo need Aggregate 11 instead of 10 as was in 2019 while girls will require Aggregate 16 instead of 14 the school took last year. Namilyango College has asked for Aggregate 15 instead of Aggregate 14 last year.
While releasing the 2019 Uganda Certificate of Education results, Mr Dan Odongo, the Uganda National Examinations Board executive secretary, reported an improved performance in last year’s exams from 87.2 per cent in 2018 to 92.2 per cent.
“Failure rate dropped from 12.8per cent to 7.8 per cent. Overall improvement was registered in Biology, Geography, Agriculture, Chemistry and Art. English Language, History and Commerce had a significant drop. There is still challenge in overall pass level for science subjects,” Mr Odongo said.
According to Uneb grading, students are considered to have passed if they appear in Division One to Four.
A total of 306,924 Senior Four students passed last year’s exams.
Mr Benson Kule, the Ministry of Education selection committee chairperson, appealed to head teachers to admit all students who have the minimum qualifications.
He said a total of 207, 649 students are expected to be placed at the end of the exercise today.
“The purpose of this selection is to have all learners admitted. Many of you have three lists. A list for admitted students, sold and non-selected. Ensure these learners are placed and get an education. Get head teachers who have smaller numbers and give them those students and sign. That process is not new but some of you are ignoring it,” Mr Kule said.
Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of the Directorate of Education Standards, who represented the Permanent Secretary, asked the head teachers to be accountable and ensure their training focuses on developing both the mind, heart and hands.
Dr Turyagyenda said they have been receiving reports of schools which have defied government’s directive against fees increment and demanded that they stop with immediate effect.
“As a ministry, we believe that every learner matters. Every learner can achieve their maximum potential. All children, in spite of their background, economic status, matter to us as a nation. That is factored in our education. Ensure all our children acquire the necessary competences, knowledge and skills,” she said.
“We know that you are working under difficult circumstances. But if this learner is denied access, then our aim will not achieved. We are receiving reports that you are increasing fees. Be mindful that they come from different places, give them an opportunity to access quality education,” the ministry official added.
By Patience Ahimbisibwe, Derrick Wandera, Damali Mukhaye & Shabibah Nakirigya