By Spy Uganda
According to the results that were released yesterday by Ugandan National Examinations Board (UNEB) and Minister of Education & Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni, out of 749,761 candidates who registered for Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) 2020, a whooping 74, 875 failed and were advised to repeat the whole year.
Of the above, the large number are girls who pulled the tail in all the four subjects contrary to boys’ performance. “Boys who sat 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) have again performed better than their female counterparts,” announced the board’s executive secretary, Mr Daniel Odong.
He said 44,877 male candidates passed with Division one compared to 36,987 girls who passed with the same division.
A total of 163,973 boys passed in Division Two compared to 170,738 girls.
“63,781 boys passed in D3 compared to 82,361 girls. 30,394 boys failed exams compared to 43,924 girls,” Mr Odongo said.
But it’s worth noting that 749,761 candidates who registered for 2020 exams, 12819 most of them being girls didn’t sit for them, but even over 80000 who sat, most of them failed something that has been attributed to early pregnancies that were registered during COVID-19 lockdown.
According to academic pundits, a large number of candidates mostly girls may end up missing the 2021 exams due to the same causes.
“Do you know that even in 2021 most pupils, especially girls may not sit and may never go back to school? This is not because they don’t want but because of poor planning of the national leaders on COVID-19,” says an expert on academic matters who preferred anonymity.
According to the pundit, these pupils would be left to continue with their studies at their respective schools where even Covid-19 prevention is much easier rather than sending them back to overcrowded villages.
“So now instead of building their future, the government is vandalizing it by not letting pupils risk in schools while studying but rather risk in their various villages with both COVID-19 and other social problems, especially the girls who get pregnant when they would have been saved if they were at school,” he added.
In addition to pundit’s assumption, District leaders in Kitgum are worried that by the time schools are allowed to resume in the area, more than half of the female students in the district will either be married off or will be pregnant.
According to June statistics that the district Community Development Office presented in a meeting with UNICEF, 1,519 girls below 19 years visited a hospital for antenatal care since the Coronavirus pandemic forced schools shut in March.
The Coronavirus pandemic has not helped matters. With students who were previously under the custodianship of schools now back home, James Okello, the district Deputy Community Development Officer said the cases of child marriages and teenage pregnancies have skyrocketed.
“We had to liaise with hospitals and private clinics to collect the data of children under the age of 19 who had come for their first antenatal visit. What we found is worrying. I don’t know if schools will have female students when they resume operations,” he said.