Pregnant girls miss out as PLE ends

An invigilator checks Primary Seven candidates of Mbarara Municipal School before sitting their final exams on November 8, 2022. PHOTO/JULIUS BYAMUKAMA

What you need to know:

  • Authorities had tried to reach out to the girls, while a few other learners also failed to turn up.

Pregnant girls from some schools failed to show up at the examination centres when Primary Seven candidates started their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) on Tuesday, over unclear circumstances.
At Bessania Church of Uganda Primary School in Mpigi District, one of the 70 registered candidates failed to show up after she was reportedly pregnant.
Ms Robina Bulya, the head teacher, said the candidate dropped out of school during the second term after reportedly being defiled.

“We tried to talk to her parents to report the case to the police, which she did. We found the girl was already pregnant but allowed her to come back and write her final exams, but to our dismay she has not turned up,” she said.
Mr Samuel Wamimbi, the head teacher of Bumageni Army Primary School in Mbale City, said out of 185 registered candidates, three were pregnant and two did not appear for examinations for unclear reasons.
In Buikwe, six candidates from two schools in Njeru Municipal Council failed to turn up on the first day of the final exams.
Five candidates had registered to sit their exams at Njeru Primary School while one was attending Canaan CTC Day and Boarding Primary School.
Mr Farouk Mulumba, the head teacher of Njeru Primary School, said three of the five missing candidates are girls.

“Two weeks ago, we tried to get in touch with their parents, but they could not provide information about their whereabouts,” he said. Also, at Kabigi Taqwa Islamic School in Bukomansimbi District, two of the 26 candidates registered missed the exams. Mr Musa Mutyaba, the head teacher, said the learners could have dropped out due to lack of tuition.
In Kyotera, Mr Peter Ntalagi, the district inspector of schools, said different distribution centres were established to ensure timely delivery of exams.
At Salaama School for the Blind in Mukono District, which was recently gutted by a fire that killed 12 pupils, six candidates sat the exams.
The head teacher, Mr Francis Kinubi, said they laboured to counsel the candidates in the aftermath of the tragedy, and is confident that they will post some good results.

“But we are disappointed with the Ministry of Education because the counsellors they promised us never showed up,” he said.
Meanwhile, there was some commotion at Mukono Police Station, which also hosts the Uneb exam storage container when distributors of examination materials attempted to leave without being escorted by security personnel.
In Tororo District, inadequate space forced the administration of St Jude Primary School, Malaba, to improvise a tent where the candidates sat for their exams. This centre has 379 candidates.
The head teacher, Mr Joventine Aracha, said they opted to improvise a tent because the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) centre ran out of space.

“Under the Uneb arrangement, a candidate has to be 1.5 metres away from the other, and therefore, we could not underscore this requirement,” he said.
Mr Charles Were, the head teacher of Light Mixed Primary School, said they received the exam papers at 9:30am due to “limited papers” at the distribution centre.
“Our candidates started examinations 40 minutes late because the papers arrived late yet candidates and scouts arrived so early,” he said.
In Lira, the district security committee chaired by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Paul Eseru, banned disruptive music during the two-day exercise. The majority of makeshift disco halls in Lira are adjacent to some of the primary schools where Primary Seven candidates are sitting for PLE.

Mr Baluku Musiba, the speaker of Karuguntu Sub-county in Ntoroko District, sits for PLE at Itojo Primary School. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

“Some of you are on record for producing extra loud sounds from your systems that exceed over 100 decibels hence causing noise pollution. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request you and your staff or agents not to play any disruptive music – whether day or night – during this examination period for purposes of proper concentration of our learners. This notice takes immediate effect,” Mr Eseru told managers of disco halls on Monday.
In Mbarara District, all the learners who had not completed their fees balances were allowed to write their final examination papers. Mr Wilber Nkwasibwe, the head teacher of Mbarara Municipal School, said all 480 registered candidates in the area have been allowed to sit for PLE, even those with fees balances.

Mr Gabriel Ahimbisibwe, the district education officer, said: “Schools on Tuesday received their exams on time and all schools started on time.”
A total of 3,522 candidates registered for this year’s PLE in the district.
In Bushenyi, the exercise started on time in most of the schools visited. At St Kagwa Boarding Primary School, for instance, 191 candidates sat for the first paper, Mr Selestine Twinomugisha, the head teacher, said.
In Gulu, the examinations started well in many schools visited except at Abwoc Primary School where there was a 15-minute late arrival of materials.
Mr Charles Okot, an invigilator, said the poor state of roads contributed to the problem.
In Soroti City, the invigilators barred journalists from covering the exercise.
Mr James Oyuki, the chief invigilator of Nakatunya Primary School, said the examination centre was out of bounds for strangers.
“The Uneb rules do not allow unauthorised persons at the examination centres, including the media,” he said.

However, PLE papers arrived at this school with 282 candidates at 9:03am.
The Kabale DEO, Mr Moses Bwengye, asked all the examination officials and the candidates to ensure that standard operating procedures are fully observed to avoid the transmission of Ebola and Covid-19.
“We have not had any challenges in receiving and distributing the examination materials to the 77 sitting centres in Kabale,” he said.
His Kisoro counterpart, Mr Emmanuel Mwunvaneza, said: “Examination materials arrived at the 83 examination centres in the district as early as expected and the first paper was successfully completed without any challenge.”
Mr Charles Sunday, the Kanungu DEO, said despite the bad road network in the area, the examination materials were transported to all the 70 centres early enough.

However, he said two candidates from Karuhinda Primary School did not show up on Tuesday without any explanation from the school administration.
“The distribution of examination materials was hampered by the poor state of roads but we managed to deliver them on time,” the DEO added.
Across the West Nile Sub-region, the exercise started smoothly though in some areas bad roads hindered the smooth transportation of materials.
The chief invigilator for Terego District, Mr Fred Adomati, said there were minor challenges recorded during the commencement of the PLE.

“We had examination papers delivered timely in some parts of the district. We hope to complete the examinations with few or no challenges,” he said. In rural Mukono areas, exams started an hour late as invigilators arrived at the centres late.
The district has 15,355 candidates sitting exams at 234 exam centres.
Mr Rashid Kikomeko, the DEO, said any person caught engaging in any examination malpractice would be dealt with in accordance with the new Uneb Act 2021.
In some districts such as Gomba, Nakaseke and Nakasongola, examination officials received papers as late as 10am, forcing candidates to start about an hour late.

Rain disrupts exercise

In Luweero District, the early morning downpour disrupted the first day of the exercise in many schools, forcing invigilators to start the exercise two hours late.Nonetheless, by press time, the Wamala regional police spokesperson, Ms Rachel Kawala, said they had not registered any cases of malpractice. “Exams were delivered on time despite the rains,” she said. In Ntoroko, Mr Paul Asiimwe, the Rwangara Primary School headteacher, said they had 30 candidates but only 27 turned up. Ms Suzan Birungi, the Unicef emergency officer for Mbarara zonal area, said they decided to help the schools in Kanara Sub-county by providing meals and accommodation for candidates. “The schools in this sub-county were submerged by floods. We provided them with tents as classrooms but during the time of exams, we decided to also provide candidates with accommodation at the sitting centre (Nyakasenyi Primary School) because we don’t want any candidate to miss exams,” she said.

Compiled By Bill Oketch, Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Wilson Kutamba, Malik Fahad, Brian Adams Kasiime, Neoline Nabukenya, Diphas Kiguli, Jessica Nabukenya, Richard Kyanjo, Joseph Omollo, Phoebe Masongole, Fred Wambede, George Muron, Tobbias Jolly Owiny, Polycap Kalokwera, Robert Muhereza, Obed Kankiriho, Naume Biira Felix Ainebyoona, Milton Bandiho, Julius Byamukama, Gertrude Mutyaba, Felix Warom, Ronald Acema, Clement Aluma, Alex Ashaba, Denis Edema & Barbra Nalweyiso