Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has declined to give special examination papers to candidates who missed the first Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) history examination on Monday last week after their schools denied them entry to the examination rooms for unpaid fees balances.
Sources close to Ministry of Education and Uneb, who requested for anonymity told, Daily Monitor yesterday that the two government agencies held a meeting last week following an investigation to ascertain why the students were blocked from sitting the examinations.
The source said the ministry had asked Uneb to set special examinations for the affected candidates. However, Uneb declined to set special papers for the 15 Senior Six students at Top Care SS in Iganga District because it would set a dangerous precedent which the board was not sure it would repeat in future once a similar incident reoccurred.
It is reported the ministry officials had intervened hoping that Uneb would give separate papers to compensate the ones the students missed.
In stead, the sources added, Uneb told the meeting in which Education Minister Janet Museveni was present, that the examinations board was already administering the last set of the three examinations they conduct annually and were not sure of the magnitude of the problem for them to intervene for the few students who were identified in the last phase of UACE.
However, the source added that Uneb said they might give the affected Senior 6 candidates special consideration after marking the remaining papers which they sat.
Uneb proposed that after marking the rest of the papers the affected candidates were allowed to sit, the board would look at the score and consider what average mark to award the missed papers and make the final score.
"Uneb said they cannot change their goalpost because of only 15 students. Uneb cannot print the exams for a select few. But they (Uneb) said there is an opportunity that they might consider the papers the candidates did to determine the score.
If they did the other papers well, the board will assume that the students could have passed even the papers they missed," the source said.
However, the Ministry of Education director for basic education, said the number of schools who stopped their students from sitting exams are likely to increase once the public starts reporting.
Ms Museveni condemned the schools' actions and directed all schools who could be having students who defaulted in paying their fees to allow them complete their examinations.
However, she did not offer an alternative on how schools will recover their monies. Uneb public relations officer Jennifer Kasule could not answer our repeated phone calls.
Uneb argued that there could have been other affected candidates in the concluded Primary Seven and Senior Four examinations and setting special papers for only Senior Six candidates would attract calls to do the same for others.