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Serere Pupils Fail to Sit End of Term Exams Over UGX 2000

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Several children whose parents paid a deaf ear to calls from the school administrators to clear the dues were blocked from writing the examination as no examinations papers were provided for them. According to the authorities in Serere, examination papers were produced basing on the number of pupils who had paid for them.
Joseph Opit Okojo, LCV Serere.

Audio 2

Over 2000 pupils in Serere district have missed out on the end of term three examinations for failing to raise Shillings 2000. The examinations that were delayed from last week, in a bid to enable parents clear the dues, commenced Tuesday.  

Several children whose parents paid a deaf ear to calls from the school administrators to clear the dues were blocked from writing the examination as no examinations papers were provided for them. According to the authorities in Serere, examination papers were produced basing on the number of pupils who had paid for them.  

The development follows a council resolution to improve the academic performance of schools in Serere district. In 2013, Serere District Council resolved that all children in government aided schools contribute Shillings 2000 to facilitate printing, supervision and marking of examinations.

The council’s resolution was informed by different events including delay of Universal Primary Education- UPE grants that forced schools to close without giving examining pupils and issuing them report cards at the end of the term. At Awoja-Anyangan Primary School in Kateta Sub County, more than a quarter of 1476 pupils enrolled in the school failed to sit their exams on Tuesday morning. 

One of the teachers, who talked with URN on condition of anonymity, says most parents turned up in the morning after their children were denied exams. “These are parents we have been begging from day one to pay exam money but never responded. At some point, we had to send their children home to remind them but they kept giving us excuses. Now, at this last minute, we cannot do any miracle since papers are printed in Soroti, more than 50 kilometers away from the school,” the teacher said.

In Atiira Sub County, more than 1000 pupils sent home from their respective schools on Friday over Shillings 2000 for exams ran to the area MP, Patrick Okabe for help. Michael Eregu, the Serere District Education Officer, faults parents for neglecting their responsibility. He wonders why the matter has started resurfacing, years after the resolution. 

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A parent at Apokor Primary School in Atiira Sub County, who identified himself as William Okia, says he wasn’t given ample time to arrange for the money for his three children. “Imagine telling you to pull Shillings 6,000 on the spot for a child running for exams. How would you feel?” he asked.   

He explained that although the policy has been in existence for years, parents need to be reminded on time. Nicholas Echomu, a parish councilor in Atiira, says some parents don’t value education and prefer taking their children for garden work since its harvest time for some crops.

He says that he is following up with 215 pupils whose parents have failed to pay the exam fees in his parish.

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