14 November 2012

Uganda: Govt to Probe Schools Over A'level Exams

The Government is to investigate several schools countrywide whose students were denied the chance to sit national examinations over unpaid school fees balances.

Education minister, Jessica Alupo castigated the schools for being high-handed and vowed to summon heads of schools where such cases were reported.

This follows several incidents in which students who registered students were turned away from doing the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) exams which started on Monday.

At least 111,581 candidates are sitting for the UACE exams, while 13,919 candidates are sitting for the Business, technical and vocational education training (BITVET) exams.

Addressing journalists at Parliament on Tuesday, Alupo condemned the action of the schools, describing it as 'capital punishment.'

"This is capital punishment. Head teachers shouldn't have stopped learners from doing their exams. We are going to launch an investigation into this matter as soon as we get the report, and all those named will be summoned to explain," she stated.

She said the ministry was working closely with Uganda Examinations Board (UNEB) to have alternative arrangements for the students to do their missed exams.

UNEB executive secretary, Matthew Bukenya appealed to schools to allow registered students to sit their exams while they arrange to clear unpaid fees.

"Schools should not stop students from sitting for UNEB exams as long as they have been registered," he said.

Bukenya proposed that parents and schools sign agreements to facilitate payment of fees balances after the exams.

Bukenya said UNEB had no powers to compel schools to let students sit for their exams, but disclosed that the exams body would develop a policy to address the matter.

He advised students who have been denied to sit for these exams to report the matter to police, maintaining that schools had a social contract with registered students.

At least 11 students of Bright Future Bwebajja SS along Entebbe Road were on Monday turned away from sitting for their exams over unpaid fees balance.

The students petitioned the Entebbe Resident District Commissioner, Sarah Banuka, who met the school authorities and signed an agreement to pay the fees balance.

The students were then allowed to sit for the remaining papers, having missed the first exams on Monday.

Compiled by Taddeo Bwambale, Umaru Kashaka and Norah Mutesi

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