Business, vocational and technical national examinations start today. A total of 2,519 candidates will sit for higher and ordinary diplomas in technical courses at 45 centres across the country.
According to the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), this indicates a 41.6% increase in the number of candidates compared to those who sat the exams last year. However, 3,447 candidates will sit exams for business courses, a drop by 54.9% compared to 7,653 who registered the previous year.
UNEB secretary Matthew Bukenya warned against malpractices, saying the examinations body would nullify results of those that cheat. "UNEB warns all heads of centres, parents and candidates against involving in any malpractice or irregularities in the examinations," he warned at a press briefing on Saturday.
This will be the last year UNEB is overseeing exams for all technical and most business courses, following the establishment of the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board. UNEB will, however, continue to administer five of the 16 business courses including the diploma in journalism, until 2014.
The exams body is angered by criticism of its assessment of students at A' level, which led Makerere University to start pre-entry exams for students pursuing law. "We think pre-entry exams are prompted by the high failure rate of students at the Law Development Centre.
Instead of addressing those failures, they are shifting blame to other institutions," Bukenya said. Meanwhile, a total of 7,622 students are to sit the Allied Health Examinations today.
The executive secretary of the Uganda Allied Health Examination Board (UAHEB), Kato Kimoga, said the exams will run up to June 30 and will be conducted at 45 accredited centres.
The courses include certificate and diploma programmes in medical laboratory technology, pharmacy, orthopaedics, radiography, physiotherapy, environmental health sciences and nursing.
Wilson Mugisha, the board chairperson, cautioned invigilators against aiding cheating of exams. "Don't be excited if a girl opens her thighs in the examination room. Some girls write answers on thighs in an attempt to copy. You must be observant to detect such cases," he said.
Elizabeth Gabona, the director for higher education in the education ministry, commended UAHEB for harmonizing the curricula of allied health training, saying this had improved the quality of training and assessment.
This is the third year UAHEB is setting exams. The body was set up in 2009 by the education ministry to streamline the training and assessment of the allied health students.
Previously, each institution assessed their students while UNEB set final exams.