New Vision (Kampala)

8 February 2013

Uganda: Schools Not Using Sciences Equipment - Minister

The Minister of Education and Sports, Jessica Alupo, has told schools with high failure rates in science subjects to take measures and address the issue quickly.

Alupo said this while releasing last year's Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examination results in Kampala on Thursday.

She said some schools are not utilising equipment supplied for teaching sciences, leading to poor performance.

According to Alupo, there was an improvement in mathematics, chemistry and biology in some schools because the Ministry supplied science equipment to the schools.

"It is, however, disappointing to hear that some schools have not utilised the equipment. The percentage of students failing sciences is unacceptably high and schools must address the causes of this, particularly the use of the materials given," Alupo said.

"UNEB has consistently highlighted areas where schools must pay attention to in the various subject areas. The executive secretary still echoes these same problems, meaning that schools are not heeding or using the information to improve the teaching and learning processes," she said.

The Secretary to the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), Matthew Bukenya, had revealed that 2.1% of the candidates who sat for mathematics passed with distinctions compared to 2.6% the previous year. Those who passed with credits were 23.9% compared to 23.7% the previous year and those who got passes were 71.4% compared to 63.9% in 2011.

In Agriculture, those with distinctions were 2.9% compared to 6.7% in 2011. Those with credits were 65%.2% compared to 71.0 in 2011 and while 90.8% got passes compared to 92.3%.

In comparison to 2011, when 1.5% of the candidates passed physics with distinction, this percentage dropped to 0.7% last year. Those who passed with credits were 22.9% in 2011 but dropped to 18.1% and those with passes dropped from53.9% to 47.3% last year.

Biology registered a slight improvement with 1.0% of the candidates getting distinctions compared to 0.4% in 2011. Those with credits were 23.9% got distinctions compared to 15.7 in 2011 and 57.5% got passes compared to 45.3% in 2011.

In Chemistry, those who passed with distinctions last year were 0.9% compared to 0.6% the previous year. Those with credits were 11.2% in 2012 compared to 7.7% in 2011, while those with passes were 35% compared to 26.6% in 2011.

Alupo also said although the cases of malpractices came down by 30% in last year's examination, it was disappointing that the majority of suspected cases involved teachers. She said this was unprofessional, shameful and goes against the teachers' code of conduct.

She directed UNEB to cancel the examination centre numbers of the schools that have persistently featured in malpractices. She also said UNEB should forward its report to the ministry for action against those who were involved in the malpractices.

She, however, commended UNEB, the Police and others who ensured that there were no leakages and other malpractices.

She also noted that there was a drop in the overall number of candidates, but said that this could be an indication that some people have headed the ministry's call to take up technical and vocational courses. She said that the programme for universal education covers technical and vocational education training institutions.

She explained that it was gratifying to note that a very high proportion of those who registered are completing the UCE course with girls being at par with the boys.

It was also pleasing, she said, that despite a drop in the candidature, the number of girls increased and that absenteeism is declining.

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