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Speech by Hon. Janet K. Museveni,
First Ladyand Minister of Education and Sports
On the Occasion of the Release of Results for the 2016 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE)
31st January, 2017
Office of the President Conference Hall
Hon Ministers of State for Education & Sports
The Permanent Secretary,
The Chairperson, UNEB
The Executive Secretary, UNEB,
Directors and Commissioners,
Senior Members of staff of the Ministry and UNEB,
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be releasing results of the Uganda Certificate of Education. I want to thank the Chairperson, the Board and staff of UNEB, led by the Executive Secretary for the hard work that has enabled the results to be released early enough to ensure timely execution of the otherMinistry programmes that depend on these results.
I am also pleased to note the increase in numbers of candidates, especially those benefitting from the Government programme of Universal Education.
As was seen at the PLE, the number of girls that completed the cycle had outstripped that of the boys. At this level, the gap has almost closed to ensure parity. This is due to the efforts of government to ensure that factors that adversely affect girls’ education are addressed and girls stay in school. I repeat what I said at the release of PLE that when women are adequately educated, the nation is educated. Investing in girls’education is therefore, a very worthwhile undertaking.
I note that absenteeism at this level is a bit lower, at 2.0 per cent. While this may sound a small figure, in real terms, it translates into over 6,000 learners who, for some reason, registered but did not take the examination. This pulls down our strength and more needs to be done by all stakeholders to reduce these numbers and to ensure that as much as possible everybody gets to the closing end.
I want to applaud UNEB for addressing the plight of learners with disabilities and ensuring equity.
I am very satisfied with the measures taken to ensure that these learners are able to take the examinations with the specialarrangements that UNEB puts in place. We now have no reason to fail to send these children to school and keep them there. Equally refreshing is that the inmates at Luzira prison are also given an opportunity to advance their education as they serve their sentences. This makes our prison systems restorative to the human spirit and it makes the prisoners become more useful citizens when they are reintegrated back into society when they are released.
Regrettably, there is a slight decline in performance of the candidates. The causes appear to be a combination of factors such as inadequate teaching, leading to non-completion of the prescribed curriculum, theoretical teaching in areas that require considerable amounts of practical work and speculation by teachers as to what might come in the examination and concentrating on those at the expense of other equally important areas of knowledge.
I have learnt that in our system now, teaching is geared to passing examinations. Schools spend a lot of financial resources and time in making students sit for various forms of the so called “mock” examinations prepared by various groups. Teachers no longer carry out assessments of their own students and, therefore, are not in position to discover the learning difficulties their learners may be experiencing. The numerous tests or mocks also take away valuable time that should be used for teaching.
Part of the problem could be the ranking done by the Media, which, in my view tends to focus on the number of 1st grades (irrespective of the quality) obtained by a school and does not take into account other contextual factors. For this reason, I want to greatly appreciate the steps being considered by UNEB to introduce ranking based on school effectiveness measures.
I have been briefed that this will take into account the PLE grades of students on their admission at Senior One and the exit grades at UCE and accordinglyshow how effective a school has been in transforming these learners.
As a country, our greatest challenge now is improvement in the quality of education to ensure our learners leave school with generic skills required in the world of work. Classroom activities such as drilling for examinations, spotting of areas deemed examinable, theoretical teaching of practical subjects, etc; do not contribute to achievement of quality education. I wish to discourage these numerous “mock” tests because, not only do they waste teaching time, but they are also an extra financial burden on the parents.
It is disturbing to note that in spite of the huge investment Government has made to improve the quality of education at secondary school level, particularly in the area of science teaching and learning, this is yet to translate into the expected improvement. I am aware that with a World Bank loan, Government has managedover the last 5 years to construct290 science laboratories, supplied schools with 4,791 science kits (or apparatus), 5,113 chemical kits, 3,949,703 textbooks, constructed 122 libraries and provided 6,352Lockers to serve as storage facilities in schools without libraries.
In addition, with another loan from the African Development Bank (ADB), we have among others transformed 42 traditional non-USE schools into Centres of Excellence and provided a number of facilities to these schools. Notable among these are Nyakasura S.S.S, Nabisunsa Girls School, St. Leo Kyegobe and Muntuyera S.S.S.
There are still concerns, however, over the utilization of these investments with some schools/Head teachers choosing to keep the laboratories, libraries and books locked up and remain new and unstained.
This is unacceptable and I have already instructed the Inspectors of Schools to come down hard and stamp out these tendencies that truly show enslaved minds.
Also noteworthy are the measures we have recently undertaken to strengthen management of schools through the appointment and deployment of 157 Head teachers and 594 Deputy Head teachers. We do not expect to see any secondary school without a Head teacher and Deputy or having these in acting or caretaker capacity. Management Induction Training for the 157 newly deployed Head teachers has already been conducted while that for the Deputy Head teachers will also soon be conducted.
Head teachers are very important first line managers and inspectors of the schools they are entrusted with and the Ministry will expect nothing less than improved and effective functioning of our schools.
UNEB has clearly spelt out areas where our learners have challenges. It is essential that all of us stakeholders have an urgent conversation on how we can use assessment to inform our classroom practice and contribute to improvement of the quality of our education instead of focusing on just grades.
To this end, I want to encourage, the Political leaders such as Members of Parliament who are the heads of their Constituencies, the RDCs, DISOs, District Chairpersons,the Head teachers, teachers, the local government authorities (particularly the Education Department and Inspectorate), together with the relevant Directorates and Departments responsible for Secondary and Education Standards as well as the parents, to make use of this information to devise strategies for improvement.We should all take keen interest in UNEB’s diagnostic analysis of our children’s performance and invest all our energies in tackling the key drivers for this kind of performance head-on.
I congratulate the candidates, their teachers, parents and guardians for the achievement. I encourage those whose results were not satisfactory to try again, and not to just drop out. Please note that the dates ear-marked for theSenior Five Selection Exercise are 9th – 10th February 2017 at the UMA Show Grounds – Lugogo.
I thank all other institutions of Government that assisted UNEB in the conduct of the examination.
It is now my pleasure to release the 2016 Uganda Certificate of Education examination results for public use.
Thank you and God bless you!
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