By Meddie Kityo
AS a total of 1,262 candidates’ results are withheld, the Uganda Examination body has given Education and Sports minister Janet Kataha Museveni five reasons which attributed to poor performance in 2019 UCE Examinations.
This was during the release of 2019 UCE results on at a function that was held at Prime minister’s office in Kampala.
In a nine pager statement, Mr. Dan N. Odongo the Executive Secretary UNEB said, “The challenges which caused poor performance of students are persistent and we have reported on these in previous Statements of Release of Results.”
However, Mrs. Museveni pledged to find solutions.
In the Statement, Odongo addressed about general performance of all candidates saying, females only performed better than male students in English.
FULL UNEB BOSS STATEMENT
Honourable minister of Education and Sports, the Uganda National Examination Board presents to you the Statement of Release of Results for the year 2019 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Examination for release to the public, in accordance with Section 4(2) of the UNEB Act, Cap 137, Laws of the Republic of Uganda.
The Examination was conducted between 14th October and 15th November 2019 under the theme: “Integrity and Security in Management of Examination in my responsibility.’
Candidature increased by 2,285 (0.7%) from 337,720. Of these, 144,256 (42.7%) were USE beneficiaries. The number of registered female candidates has surpassed that of males by 398. This is the first time that more females have registered than males.
In 2019, 333,060 candidates appeared for the examination compared to 330,721 candidates who appeared for Examination in 2018. This is an increase of 2,339 (0.7%) over 2018.
A total of 410 Special Needs Education (SNE) candidates registered for 2019 UCE Examination as compared to 357 in 2018.
These included the Blind (36), those with low vision (87), the deaf ( 60), the dyslexics (26) and physically handicapped (78).
There were 123 others with forms of disability that only needed to be given extra time.
The Board made adequate arrangements for these candidates, which included modification of Questions, provision of questions written in Braille form, providing support personnel for the handicapped and dyselexics, and sign language interpreters for the deaf. Candidates with low vision were given question papers with enlarged print to enable them read more easily. All SNE candidates were allowed extra 45 minutes in each paper.
The best SNE candidate is Godwin Ndyamuhaki, a deaf candidate from St. Henry’s Kitovu in Masaka district. He scored Aggregate 13 in the best 8 Subjects.
Alfred Timothy Tukei from Munta Royal College in Bombo, also a deaf candidate scored Aggregate 14 in the best 8 Subjects.
The best dyslexic candidate is Miracle Daniella Obura from Gayaza Hifh school who scored Aggregate 22 and passed in Division 1.
The best blind candidate is Gabriel Awas from St. Francis School for the Blind in Soroti. He scored Aggregate 29 in Division 2.
PERFORMANCE OF FEMALES
AND MALES COMPARED
Female Candidates performed better than males in English Language. In other large entry subjects, male candidates show better performance with the differences more marked in Mathematics and Sciences. The level of performance of females in Sciences, especially Physics and Chemistry is quite low with nearly 60% unable to get a Pass 8.
The mean failure rate nationally is 7.8%. However, there are districts which have recorded more than twice this rate.
COMMENTS ON AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
As we have stated bellow, the UCE examination is designed to assess the degree of acquisition of the necessary knowledge, skills and competences in the various learning areas of the curriculum and to lay a foundation for specialization at higher education levels. Examination papers are constructed to test the candidates’ knowledge, understanding and ability to apply the knowledge acquired to solve problems in a given situation and show analytical skills.
In the Sciences, the papers are designed to test the candidates’ ability to manipulate science apparatus whily carrying out experiments to apply the science process skills of making measurements and observations, recording observations and other data, drawing inferences or conclusions from observations, data presentation and interpretation. They are also expected to be able to apply basic scientific knowledge to solve problems in their environment.
CAUSES OF POOR PERFORMANCE
The following challenges are persistent and are responsible for poor performance by the candidates in the lower grades. We have reported on these in previous Statements of Release of Results.
Inadequate coverage of the Syllabus: Evidence available indicates that in many schools, teachers are made to cover the syllabus by the end of Senior Three or latest, by Term 1 of Senior Four. The results is that, some topics are either skipped or lightly dealt with and learner’s miss out the basic Principles. The reason for this practice is supposedly to have time for revision. However, when learners have not grasped the subject matter initially, the revision is ineffective.
Language Deficiency: Candidates failed Report writing, with many writing letters or minutes of a meeting. They had problems in composition writing, summarizing a passage and interpretation of passages and contextual meaning of words in passage. In creative composition, candidates crammed and produced passages irrespective of the question they were answering and used appropriate vocabulary; words they themselves did not understand. The challenges of Language deficiency is reflected in performance in other subjects, where Chief Examiners continue to report problems of question interpretation, misunderstanding key words and generally, poor language expression.
Performance in Sciences: Examiners reported improvement in the skill of connection of electrical circuits and taking measurements of voltage and current in Physics. Problems however remained the same as before. Candidates experienced problems in the handling of the apparatus during the practical tests as well as making and recording observations and drawing conclusions from those observations; tabulation of experiment results and interpretation of the results, among others. Examiners have reported that the cause of these inadequacies lies in the fact that teachers do not integrate the teaching of theory and practical. One of the biggest problems in Chemistry is that the candidates did not know the steps in balancing equations. This is an indispensable skill in the subject. There is a lot of misspelling of chemical terminologies.
There is a theoretical approach to practical tasks due to lack of practice. Skills of making correct observations, recording those observations and making inferences are therefore not well exhibited in the answers.
Examiners however reported that in Biology, making of Biological drawaings have improved a lot from previous years.
Performance in Higher Order: Higher Order questions are those questions that require candidates to apply knowledge in problem solving situations, draw inferences or make predictions from observations or a set of data. Performance in these types of questions has remained poor for a large number of candidates. There is evidence of candidates failing to understand and interpret questions. Those questions that require computation and skills of representing data graphically were poorly done.
Performance in Humanity subjects: Apart from the problem of language deficiency, candidates showed evidence of spotting. Where a question is phrased differently, many candidates set their own questions and provided answers as per spotted topic. Candidates do not give relevant examples or draw sketch maps to illustrate their answers. Whereas candidates showed improvement in handling field work, map reading remain an area of serious weakness in Geography. In Christian Religious Education, candidates display poor knowledge of the Bible and application to everyday life.
The measure put in place resulted in a welcome reduction in the case of malpractice. Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics have been most affected with common cases of external assistance, collusion among candudates, impersonation and script substitution. A total of 1,262 candidates’ results are withheld in accordance with the law, and we will give the affected candidates a hearing. In 2018, the affected candidates were 1,825.
After the hearing on the cases in 2018, the Board cancelled 1,086 candidates and released the rest.