The Uganda National Examinations Board has released the 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations results showing an improvement in performance overall compared to the last two years’ performance.
A total of 714,702 candidates passed the examinations compared to 659,910 from the previous year, meaning that overall, more pupils qualify to join the post-primary institutions this year. More than two-thirds of the candidate was from Universal Primary Education schools, according to UNEB.
The total of candidates that passed in Division One was 114,617 representing 14.1 per cent compared to 11 per cent in 2020. In Division Two, there were 357,799 candidates, the biggest, while Division Three had 146,583 candidates. 95,702 pupils passed with Division Four and those who failed or were ungraded (Division U) were 97,109.
UNEB Executive Director, Dan Odong says that there was a disparity in performance between urban and rural learners, with those in urban areas having had more opportunities for learning during the COVID-19 lockdown. The discrepancy in performance between private and public school learners, as highlighted by Odongo, becomes even more evident when comparing pass rates. For example, 31.4 per cent of 245,295 private school pupils passed in first grade, compared to only 6.6 per cent of 566,515 public school candidates.
The improvement is also visibly seen in the percentages of candidates scoring distinction and credit grades. He added that; “even the number of pupils scoring zero in various subjects has generally decreased compared to previous years. In mathematics, even those who scored zero showed mathematical language compared to work presented in the past years.”
Odongo also added that examiners attributed the better quality performance to the fact that a lot of the questions were based on real-life situations to which candidates could easily relate.
According to the results, Non-UPE candidates have, proportionally, performed better than the UPE candidates, a trend attributed to differences in the commitment by teachers, the kind of preparation of the pupils and the involvement by parents in urban settings as opposed to those in rural areas.
But Education Minister Janet Museveni says that given the fact that the candidates who took these exams had been out of school for two years due to COVID-19, the performance is gratifying as the country steadily recovers from the effects of the lockdown on the economy and the wellbeing of the people
She however expressed disappointment at the increase in the number of registered candidates who failed to turn up for the papers. A total of 17,253 (2.96 per cent) UPE candidates were absent, while 3,687 (1.48 per cent) non-UPE candidates were also absent.
In their statement of results, UNEB said they did not have the answer as to why the number had increased yet, from 12,819 in 2020 to 20,844 last year, representing 2 per cent of the total register. The Minister directed the Board to find out what the cause was and seek solutions.
UNEB Chairperson, Mary Okakol called on the judicial system to give due punishment to all persons who will be found guilty of Examination Malpractice. The call is based on the ongoing process of prosecuting persons who were arraigned before the court for distributing examination materials using their phones, days before candidates wrote their PLE.
According to Section 25 (2) of the Act, a person who intentionally or negligently aids or causes any candidate to receive or gain unlawful possession of examination material is subject to a fine of up to 2000 currency points (40 million Shillings) or 10 years in prison.
Unlike previous years where the board has been releasing numbers of students whose results have been withheld due to malpractice, this time round, the affected candidates will be given a fair hearing before final action is taken.
Okwakol also pointed out that there were challenges caused by the Ebola Outbreak, especially in the Mubende and Kassanda districts where the candidates found it hard to move to their examination centres.
She also pointed out the Kakumiro district incident where pupils missed the first exams after the school failed to provide them with transport to the centre. She says the special exam given to the candidate was not a precedent for future incidents.