Senior four candidates across the country will tomorrow Friday, October 14, 2022, begin their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Examination with the briefing.
The briefing is a very important exercise which must be conducted by the head teachers themselves at all examination centres.
During the session, candidates must be made aware of the instructions contained in the timetable and the Rules and Regulations on examination conduct. The head teachers must also explain clearly to the candidates the consequences of their not adhering to these rules and regulations, and of cheating in the examination.
According to Dan N Odongo the Uganda National Examinations Board, UNEB Executive Secretary, the board has found out that cases of irregularities and malpractice by candidates quite often arise from candidates receiving inadequate, or no briefing at all. He encouraged parents who can do so, to attend the briefing as well.
While addressing reporters at Uganda Media Centre on Thursday morning, Odongo said that the briefing is also aligned with the national prayers and dedication for the candidates and the examination process which UNEB has requested from all faith affiliations. These prayers are scheduled to take place from Friday 14 to Sunday 16, 2022.
Candidates will, thereafter, start writing their examination on Monday, October 17, 2022, starting with Mathematics 1 in the morning and Mathematics 2 in the afternoon.
A total of 349,445 candidates were registered and are scheduled to sit the examination from 3703 Examination Centres. Of these, 175,923 (50.3%) of the candidates are males, while 173,522 (49.7%) are females. A total of 114,200 (32.7%) of the candidates are funded under the Universal Secondary Education (USE) Programme, while 235,245 (77.3%) candidates are Non-USE. 51 candidates who are inmates in Luzira Upper Prison will also write their examination from the Prison.
519 of the candidates are Special Needs Education (SNE) candidates. Odongo says access arrangements have been made for these SNE learners to receive the necessary support in accordance with their needs.
“UNEB will avail braille answer sheets for the blind, large print question papers for those with low vision, while the deaf will receive sign language interpreters. Candidates with severe physical impairments that may affect the use of apparatus during practical examinations will also receive support personnel. Those with dyslexia/reading and writing problems will be availed transcribers,” the Executive Secretary noted.
Warning against Malpractice
This year’s examinations will be conducted under the theme ‘Integrity and security in the management of examinations; the health and safety of learners is a joint responsibility.
According to Odongo, the Board is partnering with various security agencies as well as contracted professionals and Heads of Centres in the conduct of this examination. The Board will deploy 1,595 security officers, 1,611 scouts and 22,214 supervisors and invigilators. While high levels of integrity are expected from those we are working with, UNEB strongly warns against involvement in any form of examination malpractice.
“Anyone found culpable will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the UNEB Act 2021, which will be in force from this examination onwards; and the penalties are quite stiff. For example, Section 25(1) provides that any person who gains or attempts to gain possession of any examination paper, or any part of an examination paper, examination material, or any other material or information which purports to relate to the contents of an examination paper, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two thousand currency points or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both,” he warned.
Subsection 2 of the same section provides that any person who, willfully or negligently assists, or causes any candidate to obtain, or gain unauthorized possession of an examination paper, material or information or any part of an examination paper, commits an offence, and on conviction, will be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand currency points or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.
He added that in both cases, this penalty will apply, whether the examination paper, examination material, or information is genuine or not. Section 26 provides that teachers, invigilators and scouts or any other persons who assist candidates to cheat, who negligently allow, or fail to stop unauthorised assistance to candidates are liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points or 5 years in prison or both.
“Candidates and all concerned must note that involvement in malpractice in one paper shall lead to the cancellation of results of the whole examination. The Board has introduced a toll-free line 0800-211-077 which members of the public can use to report any suspected case of examination malpractice. The Board also has now in place a whistle Blower’s policy to protect those reporting from victimization and also ensure their compensation once the information is proven to be accurate.”
Concern about Health and Safety
Odongo told reporters that the theme is also emphasising the health and safety of both the learners and those involved in the conduct of examinations.
“We appeal to Heads of Centres to ensure that the SOPs provided by the Ministry of Health for the control of COVID-19 and Ebola are adhered to. While the incidence of COVID-19 appears to have declined, and we must thank God for that, care must still be taken to observe the precautions. Everyone accessing the school premises should have their temperature measured, wear a mask and wash their hands with clean water and soap. A hand washing facility should also be put outside the examination room for candidates to wash their hands as they enter the examination room. Sanitisers, where available, should be placed at the checking point for the invigilators to sanitize after checking every student,” Odongo noted.
School fees balances and Indiscipline
Odongo encouraged all parents to address the issue of school fees balances with the heads of schools early enough, to avoid the scenario where candidates are inconvenienced by the school heads on account of non-payment of the fees.
He further requested heads of centres to avoid the act of pulling candidates out of examination rooms in the course of the examination due to fees issues. Adding that the Board will work with schools to put in place measures to assist them to recover their fees even after the examination has been done by a defaulting candidate.
The Executive Secretary warned candidates against indiscipline. “The fact that you are a candidate does not absolve you from following school regulations. UNEB will neither be involved nor sympathize with a candidate in a case where such a candidate is subjected to disciplinary measures by the school on account of indiscipline.”
He encouraged the candidates to be calm, and confident, follow the instructions and pray for divine intervention and guidance as they sit their examinations.
“We all wish them well. May God bless our candidates and those involved in the conduct of the examination, and may God bless our Country.”