What you need to know:
- The school heads say they are subjecting new students to interviews to gauge how much they have learnt.
Parents and teachers have expressed mixed reactions to a decision by some schools to subject learners to interviews or examinations before promoting them to the next classes.
Learners who fail the interviews have been denied promotion.
While closing a two-day education review workshop at Kololo Airstrip in Kampala on December 15, Education Minister Janet Museveni said all learners were to be automatically promoted to the next class without subjecting them to any interviews or examinations.
“Remedial lessons shall be provided for these learners [in their new classes] during first term 2022 to help them cover critical content for the previous class although some were beneficiaries of home-study materials,” she said.
However, a survey conducted in some schools across the country has revealed that many learners have been denied automatic promotion after being subjected to tests.
Mr Paul Musumire , the deputy head teacher of St Patrick Day and Boarding Primary School in Buikwe District, said: “It is the parents asking for the interviews but we give them to new pupils from other schools. ”
Mr Sulaiman Ssenkumba, a parent in Masaka City, said three of his children who are attending Hill Road Primary have been promoted to the next class but two others in a private school were told to repeat.
Mr Samuel Simbwa, the head teacher of City Learning Centre in Masaka City, said they had talked to parents and learners about the challenges of automatic promotion and some parents are convinced to have their children repeat.
“For those that insist on having their children promoted, we allow them on condition that they will participate in remedial lessons so that they [children] can catch up and fit in their new classes and they will later be assessed to know their abilities,” he said.
In Mukono, some of the schools subjecting learners to interviews before getting admission include Bishop East Primary School and Mukono Boarding Primary School.
Mr Rashid Kikomeko, the Mukono District education officer, said: “There is no problem giving interviews to new entrants because they have not been in the school but learners who are returning to their previous schools qualify for automatic promotion,” he said.
The head teacher of St Noa Mawaggali in Njeru Municipal Council, Mr Leonard Ssali, said he has received few cases where parents are requesting to have their children repeat the previous class.
The head teacher of MM College Wairaka, Ms Hilda Namutosi, said: “If a parent decides for his or her child to remain in the previous class, he must do it in writing because this is a directive that must be followed.”
In Yumbe District, Mr Albert Yandu, the chairperson of school management committee at St Daniel Nursery and Primary, said even though all learners have been allowed to join the next class, they will soon be assessed and those found to be below average will be demoted.
Mr Abubakar Suuna, the head teacher of Universal Kindergarten and Primary School in Masaka City, said: “If they [learners] fail to prove their abilities to do work in the new classes, they will be asked to go back to their former classes.”
Ministry speaks out
Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education, said he received complaints from parents whose children have been subjected to exams before getting admission to schools.
“We meant academic progression, but not automatic promotion. What I know, schools with continuing learners have allowed them to proceed to the next class due to the fact that teachers know their academic abilities. For new entrants, if they are found below average and are made to repeat a class, the ministry can’t intervene,”Mr Muyingo said.
Compiled by Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Denis Edema, Jessica Sabano, Brian Adams Kesiime, Robert Elema, Scovin Iceta, & Rashul Adidi