Uneb seeks to raise fees for candidates

Mr Daniel Odongo, the Uneb Executive Director

What you need to know:

Mr Odongo says the examination body is looking at several ways of raising revenue to render quality services

Parents with children in candidates slated to write national examinations this year will have to pay more than earlier anticipated after the Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb) officials revealed that they plan to increase registration fees.

The increase is intended to cover the rising costs of conducting examinations occasioned by the cost of living crisis in the country.

According to sources in Parliament, Uneb has proposed to increase registration fees for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) from Shs34,000 to Shs40,000; Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) from Shs164,000 to at least Shs190,000; and Uganda advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) from Shs186,000 to at least Shs230,000.

The House committee on Education on Tuesday tasked Mr Daniel Odongo—the Uneb executive director—to explain why the examination body is toying with increasing registration fees.

In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Odongo confirmed that the discussions are before the Uneb board. He added that a final decision will be arrived at once the proposal is bounced off the Education minister, Ms Janet Museveni.

Mr Odongo said registration fees in the country have not been increased for the last seven years.

“We are looking at ways of raising revenue and of course the national fees have been the same since 2016 yet the costs of examination materials have gone up in the industry,” Mr Odongo said in an interview.

Mr Odongo further reasoned that the registration fees charged by other countries are quite high compared to those levied in Uganda.

According to him, the Zimbabwean government is charging candidates in primary $30 (Shs110,000), lower secondary $90 (Shs330,000) and upper secondary $120 (Shs440,000).

“If you see examination fees in other countries, you wonder whether we are charging anything,” Mr Odongo told Daily Monitor, adding, “They are paying their examiners a higher amount of money.”

Mr Odongo said that they are going to follow the necessary stages of how to go about the tabled proposal. He added that the public will duly be briefed about the final decision.

We could not get a comment from the Ministry of Education about the proposal that our sources said will be tabled before Ms Museveni. Dr Denis Mugimba, the ministry’s spokesperson, did not pick our calls by press time.

Candidates traditionally write their national examinations towards the end of the year.

Mr Odongo on Tuesday led a team of officials from Uneb to defend their 2023-2024 budget framework paper.

He asked the House to increase funding for the examination body to enable it to increase the transport allowances and marking fees for their examiners. Uneb says examiners have vowed not to turn up to mark these years’ examinations if the board fails to increase their dues. Mr Odongo revealed that the major challenge they are facing is underfunding of candidates under the universal education programme (USE).

The government, he added, has sent the same amount of money as registration fees for the last five years. This is despite the increase in candidates.

Legislators on the Education committee committed to support Uneb to ensure the body has enough funds to run the rule over the national examinations.

They commended the examination body for fighting tooth and nail to ensure that exam malpractice is reduced.

Mr Geoffrey Mangen Macho (Busia Municipality) queried why the government is paying less money for registration of candidates under the university education programme.

“We want to know under whose money are learners in universal schools sitting the examinations?” he asked, adding, “I thought Uneb sends the number of candidates in universal schools to the government. They release the funds depending on the number.”