A group of ten individuals accused of participating in examination malpractices have sought resolution from the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB). Among them are undisclosed school headteachers, a sitting center director, an invigilator, and a scout.
UNEB’s senior legal officer, Annet Kamaali, revealed that the suspects allegedly tampered with the security envelope containing Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) papers, capturing their contents through unauthorized photos disseminated on social media.
Kamaali outlined the established examination distribution process involving security personnel. However, a deviation occurred in this case, with the scout, chief invigilator, and headteacher allegedly redirecting the exams to the headteacher’s office, where illicit photographs were taken. The suspects were apprehended with incriminating evidence on their phones, leading to their police custody.
Upon meeting with UNEB’s Executive Director, Dan Odongo, the suspects denied malpractice involvement, but Odongo questioned the discovery of the exam parcel in their possession. Odongo emphasized UNEB’s commitment to legal procedures, disapproving of the suspects’ actions and expressing frustration with board employees who denied the events.
The UNEB Act stipulates severe consequences for damaging examination materials and providing external assistance to students. Convictions may lead to a 20 million Ugandan Shilling fine, a five-year jail term, or both. Despite UNEB’s efforts to curb malpractice, challenges persist, prompting ongoing discussions about alternative assessment methods to alleviate exam-related pressure on students.
The UNEB spokesperson, Jeniffer Kalule, highlighted common malpractices, including impersonation and attempts to bribe UNEB personnel for external assistance. The new UNEB Act, along with increased resources, aims to address these issues. Critics attribute the persistence of malpractice to the high stakes associated with national exams, advocating for alternative assessment methods.
The ongoing discussion on exam malpractice has reached the Education Policy Review Commission, examining the education sector for a comprehensive white paper. Some suggestions propose the elimination of certain national exams, like PLE, as part of the future education landscape in Uganda.