A total of 12,819 registered candidates did not sit for the 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations – PLE.
According to UNEB, a total of 749,942 candidates registered for examinations but only 736,942 candidates showed up for the examinations.
Dan Odongo, the UNEB Executive Secretary says there were various reasons why there were absentee candidates.
Data from UENB shows that the highest number of absentee candidates were recorded in rural districts that include Isingiro district with 451 candidates out of 8,924 registered followed by Gomba district where over 9 percent representing 416 learners out of the registered 4,618 candidates did not sit for the examinations.
Kalaki district recorded the lowest number of absentee candidates. Only four out of the registered 1,962 candidates did not show up for the exams.
Previously, schools in urban areas like Kampala have blamed double registration for the occurrence of absentee candidates. Some candidates have been in the practice of registering in rural schools yet they study in urban schools.
However, this year, UNEB officials attribute the high number of absentee candidates to learners dropping out of school to engage in farming activities during the lockdown.
The Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni says a follow up is needed to figure out what happens to learners who register but do not write the exams. She says the education sector needs to account for this category of learners.
In 2019, UNEB records show that 12,502 candidates did not show up for exams. The previous year, the figure stood at 12,293.
As far as the performance of candidates is concerned, Odongo said that more learners last year passed in Division one and two compared to the previous years. Data released by the examination body shows that 81,864 candidates passed in division one and 416,575 in division two compared to 69,243 and 387,398 in 2019 respectively.
Girls performed better than their male counterparts in English but did not fare as well in Mathematics, Social Studies and Sciences.
Results of 2,220 candidates withheld
The Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) has withheld Primary Leaving Examination results for 2,220 candidates for alleged malpractices.
According to UNEB, some members of the examination’s body support staff at the district level that were supposed to assist in the delivery and transportation of the exams were involved in some cases of malpractice. The largest numbers of withheld results are from Bundibugyo and Kasese districts.
The UNEB executive director, Dan Odongo also noted that several examination distributors in the districts of Nakasongola, and the greater Masaka areas who were entrusted with delivering the papers to different centres, opened the envelopes to access the examination papers.
Odongo says that many teachers were not convinced that their learners had learnt enough and could sit for the examinations.
The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni denounced acts of malpractice and asked the concerned officers to hold those involved accountable. She directed UNEB to shame and name all schools that were involved in examination malpractice.
Schools whose results have been withheld will be invited to appear before the examination security committee where both teachers and learners will be questioned. Those found guilty will be charged under the new UNEB act while all teachers involved will be dealt with according to the teachers’ code of conduct.
According to the new Uneb act 2021, anyone found guilty of having been involved in examination malpractice is liable to a paying 40 Million Shillings monetary fine or a 10-year prison sentence.
In 2019, UNEB held the results of 1,512 candidates while in 2018, the number stood at 3,346.