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Closure of Private Schools Was Big Blow to UCE Candidates

Speaking at the release of the UCE results, Dr. Kendrice Turyagenda, one of the board members of Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB, noted that over the years the number of candidates has been increasing gradually at between 2 and 3 percent annually.
Education minister releasing the 2020 UCE examination results

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Thousands of learners from private schools failed to sit their Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE examination because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected several private schools.  

Speaking at the release of the UCE results, Dr. Kendrice Turyagenda, one of the board members of Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB, noted that over the years the number of candidates has been increasing gradually at between 2 and 3 percent annually.

Dr. Turyagenda, who also doubles as Director of Education Standards in the Ministry of Education, says that they registered a reduction of candidates from 337,720 in 2019 to 333,396 last year.

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When the government allowed schools to reopen for candidates in October 2020, many private school owners cried out for help from the government, saying they could not run their schools with a few classes.  Some of those schools decided to remain closed as the government ignored their pleas.

Statistics from the Education Ministry indicates many sub-counties in Uganda have no government secondary schools making access to secondary education difficult. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports have been indicating that only about 50 percent of the primary school leavers proceed to secondary school. 

The low enrollment is partly blamed on the unavailability of secondary schools in some communities among other factors. Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports, noted the drop in the number of candidates was unfortunate.

She said that natural phenomenon like the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the government on the necessity of establishing public Secondary Schools.    

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  She revealed that so stop a similar incident from happening again, the Ministry is scheduled to Commission 94 schools fully staffed schools to ensure that learners never miss exams because private schools are closed.

  Besides the closure of schools, Dr. Turyagenda, says the UNEB report also pointed out that many parents failed to raise the required tuition fees and other scholastics materials given that many had spent a long period without earning. 

Some of the students found jobs during the lockdown and could not return to school while many girls reportedly got pregnant and refused returning to schools for fear of stigma from fellow students    

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