The Uganda National Examinations Board – UNEB has said many candidates who sat for the 2020 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations failed because they misunderstood questions.
According to the examination body, while the performance of learners improved this year, the work of candidates’ reports show that comprehension is a very big problem.
Dan Odongo, the executive secretary of the board says that candidates at A’level still face problems reading and understanding questions correctly. He says candidates who failed to answer questions or present logical arguments were not responded well. He says candidates wrote irrelevant answers to questions that were asked.
According to the 2020 UACE examination analysis, UNEB points out that economics and entrepreneurship education are some of the subjects where learners fail to meet the basic competence. The report indicates that many candidates showed a lack of knowledge in vital concepts of taxation and stock markets.
For these specific subjects, UNEB says there is evidence that many teachers are either also lacking in these areas, or do not teach the topic due to inadequate syllabus coverage.
The analysis also points out that many schools might be ignoring practicals that are critical in all science subjects. UNEB also points out that many schools might be teaching practical skills theoretically with little hands-on experience given to the candidates.
Odongo says while marking the examinations they noted that candidates who performed poorly in science subjects showed the inability to follow instructions and procedures during the practical examinations, failure to accurately record data or even making meaning of any data recorded.
Whereas the skill dissection is essential in biology, Odongo adds that many candidates did not carry out this task on the specimen provided as required by the questions but processed to make crammed drawings.
To create room for improvement, UNEB says it is going to develop a detailed analysis indicating the salient areas that will be shared with each centre advising teachers on how to address areas of difficulty.
The challenges notwithstanding, more candidates have qualified for university admission.
According to the statement of results, a total of 68,013 learners obtained the required minimum of two principal passes compared to 65723 candidates in 2019.
The result also shows an increase in the number of candidates who qualified for the award of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE. 19,015 of them might not be able to proceed to the university pass of education but can qualify for admission in several tertiary institutions including teacher training colleges, technical training colleges, and health training institutions to pursue diverse careers paths.
The number of failures also dropped by almost fifty percent with 796 candidates failing compared to 1,433 candidates in 2019.
While releasing the results on Friday, the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni encouraged those who did not achieve as well as expected, not to despair or give up but rather explore other pathways that are available in our education system and not just the academic one.
“There is always another chance. If you keep yourself safe and healthy, you still have time ahead of you to explore other opportunities,” she advised.