UNEB Senior Four Results: Language Remains a Problem
UNEB also warned some schools that their further involvement in examination malpractices will lead to the withdrawal of their center numbers.
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First published: January 31 2009
The Uganda National Examinations Board has released the 2008 Senior Four exams indicating improvement in performance although language problems continued to greatly hinder students' ability to interpret questions.
The 2008 UNEB results show that 15,616 (7.9 percent) of the 201,750 students who registered for the Uganda Certificate of Education exams in 2008 passed in first grade. A total of 39,634 (20.1%) passed in second grade, 53,755 (27.3%) in third grade, while 80,390 passed in fourth grade.
UNEB Secretary, Mathew Bukenya said 96.3percent of students who sat for the 2008 Senior Four exams passed, compared to 95.2percent in 2007.
Bukenya says the number of students failing also reduced substantially, with 3.7 percent (7,300) of the students who sat for UCE in 2008 failing, compared to 4.8 percent in 2007. The UNEB grading changed from six to eight subjects in accordance with the entry regulations.
The exams body still noted that weaknesses in language expression affected performance in both arts and science subjects. Bukenya says that candidates showed lack of practical skills in science subjects, with many students unable to make scientific observations.
"Candidates have continued to exhibit weaknesses in questions that require skills beyond recall, for example questions requiring application of knowledge and analysis of situations," the UNEB boss noted today.
The exams body noted that the major challenge of performance in science subjects is the lack of laboratories in many schools, especially private schools. Bukenya says a survey carried out during the examinations period revealed that 35% of the examination centers did not have any form of laboratory at all. "A number of centers had laboratory rooms with scanty equipment. Practical examinations in such centers were conducted in several shifts," UNEB said in its annual report. Bukenya says the survey also revealed serious lack of science teachers, especially in private and rural schools.
Bukenya says there was an improvement in the performance of some subjects like English, mathematics and Agriculture, while some subjects like history, Christian religious Education, Chemistry, Commerce and Geography were not as well passed as they were in 2007. But the overall picture is of overall improvement.
The Minister of Education and Sports, Namirembe Bitamazire who received the exams on behalf of government asked teachers to put much emphasis on teaching languages in schools. Biamazire says that that the major reason as to why students still fail exams, is that they have poor interpretation of questions even when the questions are easy.
She says that if students read and interprets the questions properly, the levels of failures will also reduce. She also cautioned teachers against involving themselves in exam malpractice but only concentrate on teaching students to understand and pass on their own.
The minister also thanked the Uganda Police for working with UNEB to substantially reduce the number of exam leakages and malpractices.
The Chairperson of UNEB, Prof. Lutalo Bbosa said the 2008 senior four exams were free of leakages and the results indicate the true picture of performance by students. The number of results nullified has dropped from 1,528 in 2007 to 1,275 in 2008. Bukenya says most of these involved external assistance, impersonation and smuggling of notes into examination rooms.
The exams body cancelled centers of some schools fro involvement in exam malpractices. They include Kigulu High School, Bukoona, Iganda; Kings Colleg, yumbe; Ryeru School, Bushenyi; Nagalama Islamic Institute, Mukon; Luweero hall; Kibuli Girls High School, Kampala; Central College, Kabimbiri, Kayunga; and Karuguza progressive SS, Kibaale.
UNEB also warned Faiha High School, Kawempe; Kitgum Comprehensive College, Kitgum; Light SS, Soroti; Townside High School, Busembatia that their further involvement in examination malpractices will lead to the withdrawal of their center numbers.
Bukenya says Head teachers can pick the results from the headquarters of the Uganda National Examinations Board in Ntinda, Kampala. The head teachers were at the same venue where exams were released (Namboole stadium) finalizing Senior one selections.
She urged those that are still in schools to utilize the time resource as a best factor for their performance by reading hard. Bitamazire says the future will be bright for those that use their time efficiently.
She advised students who could not continue up to advanced levels of education to join the technical institutions that will have many prevailing opportunities for practical education.
Bitamazire expressed concern that although the number of female students had increased from the previous year, males still performed much better than females.
No female passed in first grade in some districts like Bundibugyo, Kalangala, Bugiri, Adjumani, Katakwi, Kotido,Nebbi, Kaberamaido, Kyenjojo, Nakapiripirit, Pader, Sironko, yumbe, Amolatar, Kabong, President Musevnei's district of Kiruhura, Koboko, Amuru and Bulisa. In Abim district however, all the three first grades were for females. Bushenyi, Iganga, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Tororo and Isingiro registered more females passing in division one as can be seen from the table of performance by district and sex.
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First published: January 31 2009