By Joan Ahumuza
Dr Dan N. Odongo, the Executive Secretary Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), has revealed that new rules and regulations concerning Primary Leaving examination have been introduced and implemented as one of the ways to curb examination malpractice.
One of the rules for P.7 candidates who are starting their examinations on Monday November 4th, 2019 is tha they will not include district and school names on their examination and answer booklets.
Odongo said that “These candidates instead will be issued random numbers and district codes to fill on their answer booklets alongside their index numbers as one of the ways to curb malpractice, since sometimes people who mark these candidates transcripts are their teachers. When a marker knows the school, location and so forth, there’s something that will impact on the marker and inadvertently affect the accuracy of what they mark.”
He added that: “In order to get rid of these influences, we want to keep the schools and their districts anonymous. This is an effort to ensure the reliability of the marking so that candidates get the marks they deserve without any influence.”
At least 695,793 candidates have registered to sit for PLE from 13,475 centres across the country, compared to 671,923 from 13,072 centres in 2018. This represents an increase of 23, 870 (3.6 per cent) candidates.
Of the total candidature, 473,986 are from Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools and 221,807 private. This is the fifth year UNEB is registering more females at 359,764 compared to 336,029 males.
Last year, UNEB introduced the use of Education Management Information System (EMIS) numbers instead of writing school names as a prototype at this level.
EMIS is issued by the Education ministry upon registration of a school while random numbers are six-digit codes generated electronically by UNEB
Since inception of the Board, candidates would write their names, index numbers, name of the school and district; but this has since changed at all levels of assessment.
Application Of Random Numbers
Before the candidates begin writing the actual examination, on the front page, there will be space for entering the random number and district code.
Special time will be allocated for this activity. For all the four subjects – Mathematics, English, Science and Social Studies – different numbers will be issued for each.
In centres where there is more than one school and candidates are mixed, Odongo explained that they will ask candidates of a particular school at a time to first stand and write their random numbers.
“The supervisor will write the random number on the chalkboard, candidates from that school write it on their script while other invigilators walk around to ensure they write the correct numbers,” Odongo noted.
Currently, supervisors and invigilators are being trained on how to guide the candidates as they prepare for the briefing tomorrow (Friday). The board has warned schools from any teaching at night after the briefing lest they face severe sanctions
Entire Process of Examinations
According to the timetable, candidates will start with Mathematics and Social Studies, then Religious Education on Monday, and end with Integrated Science and English on Tuesday.
Unlike Mathematics which has been allocated two hours and 30 minutes, other papers will last two hours and 15 minutes.
For 1,259 candidates with special needs, they will be allowed 45 extra minutes for each paper. The Board will also deploy 450 people to provide support to these candidates.
Distribution of examination will involve 26 routes while monitoring will comprise 133 district monitors and over 10,000 scouts deployed from districts and UNEB headquarters as well as an unspecified number of security personnel that will operate overtly and covertly.
However, in cases where lunch is provided to candidates, UNEB urged schools to ensure that candidates are not taken outside the compound of the sitting centre.
Because of the ongoing rains, the Board agreed with affected districts of Bulambuli, Amuria, Katakwi, Bundibugyo, Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Bududa, Otuke, Kasese, Butaleja and Bukedea to relocate schools to other areas.
Other districts are expected to use longer routes to reach examination centres while others will require more distribution routes and fuel.