26 November 2012

Uganda: 35,000 Candidates Begin Technical Exams

A total of 35,000 candidates begin writing their final business and technical examinations on Monday with education authorities announcing a new move to emphasize practical skills competence than theory.

The Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) declared on Saturday that after a nationwide inspection of craft and real life projects in technical and vocational institutions it was decided that project work will now be sat as a paper of its own.

In the past students were acquainted with practical parts but under the new scheme there will be a shift from students doing just models to finished products ready for use, UBTEB Executive Secretary John Twesigye stated.

"If a person is studying a certificate in motor vehicle engineering he should be able to dismantle an engine and put it back (assemble it)," Twesigye noted. "Students of carpentry have been making model doors but they will now make ready to fit doors."

The official said the new Competence Based Education Training (CBET) fits in well with the new government programme of skilling Uganda that aims at imparting practical skills to learners. Twesigye disclosed that vocational institutions have been directed to create community linkages and use students doing practical work to provide free labour in garages, construction sites or carpentries.

He observed that vocational institutions have been incurring huge costs to buy materials from which they would make prototypes but it's going to be required of students to make "real" finished products.

"Institutions have been complaining of huge costs to buy materials for practical classes. Instead of students of BCP (Brick Laying and Concrete Practice) constructing models houses that will be pulled down tomorrow, they should be able to plaster buildings in the institution or build dormitories," Twesigye explained.

"We are trying to replicate what's happening in the field so that by the time the student finishes the course he should be able to deliver the job as demanded on the market," he added.

Commenting in the examinations that commence today in 224 centres, Twesigye said that more than one police officer from 150 stations in all regions of the country will beef up the 600 supervisors to ensure no malpractice. He said scouts and spies were deployed in the various institutions as students to detect any connivance.

A total of 20,137 students under the 'technical craft programmes' embark on their exams today while 1,170 candidates from departmental institutions like; fisheries, agriculture, meteorology, tourism and wildlife commence on December 3.

The last batch of 3,402 (technical diploma) students and 8,097 (business programmes) candidates begin their examinations on December 10, 2012. All examinations end on December 22, 2012. This is the third examination to be conducted by UBTEB since its inception in 2008 under the BTVET Act of 2008.

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