By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The State Minister for Higher Education Hon.John Chrysestom Muyingo Kadaga on Tuesday presented the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) Bill on the floor of Parliament after it was perused by the Education Committee as was previously ordered by the Speaker Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga.
The Uganda National Examinations Board Bill, 2020, was first tabled by the State Minister for Primary Education, Hon. Rosemary Sseninde, on Tuesday,14 July 2020, with an aim to reform the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) to enable it regulate and oversee the national examinations.
The Bill seeks to define the powers and functions of the Uganda National Examinations Board with regard to preparation, organisation and administration of national examinations; improve standards and quality of national examinations conducted by the Examinations Board and address new and emerging challenges affecting the administration and management of national examinations.
The Bill also seeks to repeal and replace the Uganda National Examinations Board Act, Cap 137 which was enacted in 1983.
“Since 1983, Uganda’s education system has undergone a number of reforms ranging from legal, institutional and policy framework coupled with the socio- economic changes which have affected the operations of the Examinations Board and implementation of the Act,” reads the Bill in part.
In addition, the bill highlights that the head teachers who refuse to register candidates because they haven’t paid school fees most especially finalists, will face a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
The Bill also highlights emerging issues due to the changing educational and technological revolution that require review and additional provisions to address them; including systematic measuring and monitoring of the performance of individual pupils, students and schools.
The Bill also cites defects in the existing law such as weak penalties in the Act, which need enhancement to make them more meaningful and deterrent to match the objectives of the regulatory framework.
“The powers and functions of the Board under the current UNEB Act are narrow and fall short of providing the comprehensive regime that allows the Board to properly conduct credible and quality examinations,” the Bill states.
Some of the remedies the Bill seeks to achieve include reforming the law relating to the administration and management of primary and secondary national examinations and any other examinations, as well as expanding offences and enhanced deterrent penalties to deter examination malpractice.
The Bill also intends to downsize the Board from its current size of 30 members to match the principles of good governance by removing non-existent positions that were affected partly by the restructuring of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in 1998.