20 December 2012

Uganda: 801 Graduates Cleared in University Marks Scandal

Kyambogo University has cleared 801 students out of 959, whose graduation was hanging in balance.

However, a report by the University Academic Registrar has raised more questions on the accuracy of the marks awarded to 158 students, whose answer scripts are still missing. The report also notes that contrary to university rules, the controversial paper PS P32: Guidance and Counselling, offered in seven programmes, wasn't externally moderated.

While it concludes that the examination was marked, it also points out variations in student marks between those on the answer sheet and those on the mark sheet, and instances where some papers weren't fully marked, yet the students were awarded marks. Consequently, the report asked the senate for guidance, ahead of graduation ceremonies that started yesterday.

"Senate is requested to receive this report and pronounce itself on the way forward as regards the results of the seven (7) programmes that have course PS P32: Guidance and Counseling," reads Academic Registrar Rose Bwire's eight-page report, dated November 30, 2012.

The fate of the 158 students, who were not cleared, was not readily established. But some of them were missing from the graduation list released by the university. The undergraduate programmes offering this course are Bachelor of Science with Education, Bachelor of Business Studies with Education, Bachelor of Arts with Education, Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Art and Design with Education, Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Agriculture with Education, Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Home Economics with Education and Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Technological Studies with Education.

The Observer recently reported that about 1,000 student could miss their graduation, pending investigations into the authenticity of their marks. See: Kyambogo: hundreds may miss graduation over fake marks.

We also reported that the course lecturer, Dr Ali Baguwemu, was being investigated for irregularly awarding marks to students who had either withdrawn from the programme or were absent in all other course units. In her investigation, the Academic Registrar (AR) found that out of the 959 students who offered this course, only 801 students had answer scripts. Scripts for 158 students were missing. Of these, 23 students had withdrawn from the programme, while three papers strayed, leaving the unaccounted for scripts 132.

Academic Registrar findings

Of the 167 students in the faculty of Vocational Studies, the AR received 141 scripts, while 26 students had no answer sheets although their marks were available. Of these, three students were reported by the faculty to have withdrawn from the programme but still had marks.

"Out of the 26 scripts not seen, three withdrew, one does not exist, one strayed, twenty-one student scripts are not seen but were given marks," concludes the report.

Interestingly, the scripts received include two scripts with different handwritings, content and different marks but bearing the same registration number. (Number and student name withheld)

In the faculty of engineering, the mark sheet for this course has 31 students. However, 29 answer sheets were available while two were missing. Each of these had scored 64%. In the faculty of Science, 123 students were awarded marks for this course. The AR was availed with 105 scripts while 18 were missing.

This was higher than an earlier communication by the acting faculty dean, which put the number of students who were absent but were awarded marks to 13. Of the 13 students, the AR found that six had scripts and marks while seven didn't have scripts but had marks. "Out of the 18 students without scripts, seven withdrew while 11 are on ground," concludes the AR report.

In the school of management and entrepreneurship, 116 students were awarded marks. Of these, the AR report says scripts of 102 were available while those of 14 students were missing but had marks awarded to them. Another anomaly observed here was a student with a registration number but whose name wasn't pegged on the answer script and three students whose marks were wrongly computed.

Partially marked

The situation wasn't any better in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. For the 521 students, only 424 scripts were available. Of these, 357 had marks consistent with those entered in the mark sheets while 56 scripts had marks with variations ranging from one to ten marks.

Scripts for 13 students hadn't been fully marked, "Question five was not marked but the students had marks entered in the mark sheet. This must have without doubt disadvantaged the candidate," notes the AR.

Forty-one other students had results which had been marked "but the results had serious deviations. This disadvantaged and at the same time advantaged some students."

The AR report also notes two cases of students who belonged to the faculty of vocational studies and school of management and entrepreneurship whose scripts were among those of the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. "These marks were not registered nor were they considered as missing marks."

Another script was not fully marked and wasn't recorded anywhere on the mark sheet. The last anomaly discovered involved 13 students whose scripts could not be traced but had marks fully entered in the mark sheet. All these students scored between 34 and 41.

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