PLE: UNEB RedFlags Schools Whose Candidates Arrived Late On Examination Days

The Uganda National Examinations Board- UNEB says it has raised a red flag over schools whose candidates for the Primary Leaving Examinations have been arriving late to the examination centres for the two days. 

According to Rose Mukasa Nabukenya, the principal examinations officer in charge of primary, the board is suspicious that some of these schools might have been involved in malpractice in the morning hours. 

Nabukenya however, hastens to add that currently there isn’t enough proof to pin them. 

“We have observed this trend and we believe there might be something but we can’t just point to it. so, all we can do is to put a red flag on such schools and we keep our list in silence,” Nabukenya told our reporter.  “After the examinations, we will let the examiners do their job. Should they raise complaints of suspected malpractice in the same schools, we will have to make inquiries.” 

Records of arrival of candidates and distribution time are written in supervisors’ reports which are filed back to UNEB.   According to UNEB guidelines which were given to school’s months ago, candidates are expected to arrive at the centre 30 minutes before the exam’s scheduled starting time. 

Additionally, learners are expected to enter the examination room at least 20 minutes prior to the commencement of the papers. However, many schools at examination centres visited by URN reporters on the two days were showing up late. Many of them were arriving at the centre five minutes to the official starting time while some arrived when other candidates had started witing their papers. Nonetheless, they could be allowed in given the fact that UNEB rules says if a candidate arrives within 15 minutes after the start of the paper can be allowed in.

It is just one recorded incident in Kakumiro District where learners showed up at the centre an hour and 26 minutes late and ended up missing the mathematics paper.  

Habiba Nassiwa, the headteacher of Abonomu Quality Primary School in Kawempe blamed their coming late on candidates arriving late to the meeting point.   “We have to first meet at our school as a group and then move together to the centre,” she said. “We kept waiting for those who had not yet arrived thus reaching late at the centre.”

At St Joseph Nansana Primary School were 19 schools are writing their examinations from, over five schools have been showing up late given the fact that they are using commuter taxis to transport learners. 

Jennifer Kalule, the spokesperson of UNEB many of these schools have been behaving as if they leant of the examination paper on the siting day. “They should have planned earlier.,” she said. “We advised schools with learners from far places to ensure that they are in place at least for the two days. if schools had well planned this would not have been an issue.”

On the first day, UNEB arrested three suspects who were trying to open an examination parcel from Butambala District with an intention to share examinations with a school in Wakiso whose learners could be given answers before entering the examination room. 

Given the fact that the distribution of examinations starts earlier in rural places because of poor roads and other difficult in transportation, urban schools – whose distribution begins late – have been using this window to access the examination questions.

According to different reports, urban teachers, who receive papers can spend an hour copying for their learners and in many cases, the candidates show up late at the examination center. 

Away from the red flags, the second day of papers did not have many incidents recorded in greater Kampala, with the exception of an incident at Katwe storage station 1 where it was determined that one of the schools had received fewer papers. According to Nabukenya, this was later resolved as UNEB distributed additional copies from their headquarters in Ntinda.

Near the Uganda-DRC Border, the ongoing intermittent armed clashes threatened to Interrupt the PLE  In the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s territory of Rutshuru,  intense fear reigned over among Kisoro district education authorities that any minute, fighting might erupt the ongoing Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) at the border schools in Bunagana, Muramba and Nyarubuye sub counties. 

In an interview, Emmanuel Mwunvaneza, the Kisoro District Education Officer said that when fighter jets belonging to Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) troops bombarded the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels in Tchanzu and Musonganti hills, a few kilometers from Uganda- DR Congo border, as authorities in the district they became very worried about the security of candidates sitting their final exams.

 Mwunvaneza said that they were praying that calmness that characterized Wednesday morning remained until the evening so that candidates complete exams without any interference of gunfire from Rutshuru.  Mwunvaneza says that a total of 599 candidates had registered but he was so far unable to tell if all of them turned up. 

However, he noted that a candidate at Mubuga primary school in Nyakinama sub county was unable to sit for this Wednesday’s exams due to a strange illness she got yesterday after sitting for the first papers.  

Meanwhile, parents and teachers of Adacar and Asuret Primary Schools in Soroti district have failed to trace the whereabouts of some children meant to sit this year’s PLE. In Adacar Primary School, one of the two girls who failed to turn for examinations on Tuesday is nowhere to be found. James Michael Epwonu, the class teacher of primary seven said that one of their candidates, Josephine Akol dropped out of school at the beginning of third term. He said that even the parents have failed to trace the whereabouts of the girl after reporting the matter at police. 

Mary Goreti Aigo, the head teacher of Asuret Primary School said they failed to trace the whereabouts of one of their candidates whom she hinted might be married in Bukedea district.

Soroti district registered 5,398 candidates for PLE. 

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