The ministry of Education and Sports has agreed with the solicitor general that all students pursuing post-O'level certificate programmes be assessed nationally by the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (Ubteb).
This follows series of meetings held on the role of National Council for Higher Education and Ubteb regarding accreditation and assessment of ordinary certificate programs and institutions.
Speaking during the release of May/June 2017 Ubteb examination results in Kampala today, Ubteb executive secretary Onesmus Oyesigye said it was further agreed that S4 leavers pursuing certificate programmes must be taught for two years, instead of one.
"We discovered in these meetings that some institutions were operating outside the stipulated legal frame work and must stop henceforth," Oyesigye said. "We expect all institutions effective January next year's intake to take heed of these new resolutions."
Oyesigye said there are about 200 private tertiary institutions that continue to subject candidates to internal final exams and assessment. He said these will be dealt with accordingly, including rejecting their qualifications.
Currently, there are 472 accredited examination centres, up from 184 in 2011.
This year, Ubteb conducted its 10th series of final examinations from May 12 to June 16 in 93 accredited examination centers across the country.
Out of the 6,730 candidates that registered for the examinations, 2,284 were examined in technical diploma programmes, 2,343 in business diploma, 1,241 in business certificate programmes, 793 in physical and biological sciences diploma and 69 in physical and biological sciences certificate programmes.
Oyesigye explained that of the 6,730 candidates, at least 324 did not turn up for the examinations after obtaining some competences and proceeding to the labour market without any qualifications.
"This absenteeism is not what we are advocating for, but it portrays one of the characteristics of self-paced and individualized flexible training in tertiary institutions that enabled students join the world of work very fast," he said.
The Ubteb results released today by the education minister, Janet Museveni, indicate that, overall, the board registered an improvement in competence acquisition of candidates from 71 per cent in May/June 2016 exams to 71.4 per cent this year.
According to the results, of the 6,406 candidates who turned up for the examinations, 4,572 (71.4 per cent) expressly acquired full competencies while 1,834 (28.6 per cent) did not satisfy the board, but will be allowed to improve on various areas of weaknesses before being churned out.
The general performance gap between female and male candidates has also continued to narrow over the years, implying that the performance of female students is continually improving.
In this year's results, females performed better in technical diploma programmes while males out-competed them in business, physical and biological science programmes.
While the board says it conducted leakage-free examinations, there were 34 cases of exam malpractice involving 37 candidates from 10 centres.
Oyesigye said pleas from the affected candidates were heard and has recommended cancellation of results for 32 candidates.
In her remarks, Janet Museveni commended the board for tirelessly ensuring a credible assessment system that enables young people to join the world of work with the required knowledge, skills and attitude.
She tasked the board to take all the necessary actions against candidates involved in examination malpractice.
"As I have said here before, the ministry will not tolerate any form of examination malpractice and will continue to work with Ubteb and all the other examination boards to stamp out such vices," Ms Museveni said.
Meanwhile, overall, the board also noted an increase in the number of candidates pursuing science programmes in technical, physical and biological disciplines at the expense of arts-related business programmes.
Oyesigye attributed the uptake partly to advocacy of promoting science education in schools, reiterating that this trend must continue in order to fill the skills gaps in the economy.