UNEB to Collect Own Data as EMIS Registration Drags On

The Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB will embark on collecting data and registering learners in lower secondary for the purposes of receiving continuous assessment scores.

The development comes at a time when the mass registration of learners, including those undertaking the new curriculum, on the Education Management Information System-EMIS, which was rolled out by the ministry of education, has failed to be finalized.

Dr. Peter Waiswa Wakabi, the Director of Technology and Reprographics at UNEB, says they have learned that EMIS doesn’t have complete data on targeted learners yet the board is expected to start receiving learners’ scores effective next term, which is opening in a fortnight.

Dr. Wakabi says that in addition to the fact that many schools have failed to register their students on the EMIS, they also have discovered that there are specific data that is crucial but not collected by the system, such as the subjects that learners are pursuing.

The revised lower secondary curriculum, among other things, introduced formative assessment which contributes 20 percent to the learner’s final results at the end of the learning cycle in Senior Four. According to the guidelines, scores obtained from the said assessment must be submitted regularly to the examination body.

Although there have been delays in implementing curriculum requirements on continuous assessment, the examinations board is expected to start receiving these classroom-based scores for each subject done by learners in S.1, S.2, and S.3.  For those in S.3, the scores are critical as the board cannot grade them in national examination next year if they lack these scores.

The Ministry of Education and Sports had proposed that learners’ assessments be compiled with the help of the Education Information Management System-EMIS. Under this system, a learner was to be given an identification number that could be used to track their performance even when they changed schools before completion of the level of education.

The ministry has over time been compelled to prolong the deadlines for registering students on EMIS as schools complained that they were hampered by a number of issues, including lack of equipment, limited access to the internet, and the fact that the EMIS itself is on and off.

However, it should be highlighted that even without EMIS’ challenges, UNEB immediately showed signs of not being at ease sharing data utilized by another organization.

Dan Odongo, the UNEB Executive Director, mentioned in one of the interviews with URN that the examination body preferred using an internal site to manage students’ continuous assessment results due to data integrity concerns.

But, Dr. Wakabi says that UNEB might triangulate the collected data from EMIS and National Identification and Registration Authority-NIRA as they develop their system.

Rose Nabukenya Mukasa, the acting Manager- Examination Management at UNEB, says all schools which legally register; regardless of whether they have a UNEB examination centre or not, will be part of the continuous access registration process.

“Ever secondary school will be reached. every learner will be registered but for the school to be registered it should be operating legally,” says Nabukenya.   

This is also a new change given the fact that previously UNEB had noted secondary schools which are not recognized as examination centers were to be allowed to submit learners’ continuous assessment results.

Nabukenya further adds that schools without UNEB centres must apply online for a unique number that will allow them to transmit learners’ continuous assessment scores to the board.

“We anticipate that every secondary school will register, after which we will give each student at that school a special number; this is not to be confused with index numbers,” the acting examinations manager says, adding that this registration will be free for both the schools and the students.

“The learner’s unique number would assist us to register his details, including the subject one is pursuing, and recording his score in our database. but a school which will not have registered for continuous assessment will not be allowed by the board to register their learners at the end of the cycle, “she adds. 

Asked whether they will not be disturbed by challenges that have so far failed the EMIS system, Dr. Wakabi says considering their prior expertise gathered from managing national examination registration, they are confident they will be able to handle it with ease.

“For years now, we have conducted student registration using an online portal. We get all of this information from schools across the nation. We are aware of the procedure, therefore be rest assured that no school will be missed,” says Wakabi.

He, however, asserts that the board would provide schools with training to help them acquire or grasp a number of fundamentals, such as how assessments will be conducted and how data will be transmitted using the UNEB portal.

As UNEB starts registration of learners from S.1 to S.3, NIRA has a target along with a hope of issuing National Identification Numbers-NINs to learners who don’t have them yet. However, UNEB officials say that a NIN is not one of the requirements for learners to be registered for both continuous assessment and national examinations.

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