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International Schools Demand Seat on UNEB Board

Dr. Magara notes that despite liberalization of the sector students studying and qualifying using international curricula have unique challenges when it comes to progression into tertiary institutions where their qualifications have to be scrutinized and equated by UNEB.
Dr. James Magara appearing before the Education Committee

Audio 4



International schools are seeking inclusion as stakeholders on the board of the Uganda National Examinations Board.

The proposal was put before the education committee of parliament by Education accelerators Ltd, an association of schools that use the Accelerated Christian Education Curriculum.

A Board member of the association, Dr. James Magara presented the proposal to Members of Parliament on the committee chaired by the Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot.

The committee is currently meeting various stakeholders as it proceeds with scrutiny of the Uganda National Examination Board Bill 2020.

Dr. Magara points out that the bill seeks to address new emerging issues due to the changing educational and technological revolution and he asserts one of those issues is the increasing number of Ugandans opting for education using alternative curricula as a result of the liberalization of the sector.

He notes that despite liberalization of the sector students studying and qualifying using international curricula have unique challenges when it comes to progression into tertiary institutions where their qualifications have to be scrutinized and equated by UNEB.

He told MPs that despite the fact that all other stakeholders are represented on the UNEB governing council, international institutions and any schools using alternative curricula are not.

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The Bill seeks to downsize the Board of directors from its current size of thirty members to match the principles of good governance by removing non-existent positions that were affected partly by the restructuring of Government ministries, Departments and Agencies in 1998.

The Jonam County MP Emmanuel Ongiertho said he did not see any need for international schools to be represented on the UNEB Board if they had chosen to carry alternative curricula that is not examined by the National examinations body.

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In his second proposal to the committee Dr. Magara is seeking that the bill should state that a certificate of accreditation issued by the National Curriculum Development Center shall take precedence over any pre-accredited qualification from its source country in the equating of international qualifications by UNEB.

He was drawing the attention of MPs to Section 4(1) e of the bill which lists one of the functions of UNEB as, “to determine the equivalency of a qualification awarded by another examining body with a corresponding qualification awarded by the Examinations board.”

Dr. Magara argues that this proposal would ease equating qualifications from alternative criteria with National curriculum certificates. His argument is that UNEB currently only requires that in order to equate any qualification the qualification must be accredited in its country of origin, this he says is a defective approach.

He suggests that National Curriculum Development Center must have the powers to accredit and at the same time assess any curriculum used in the country such that there is no need for UNEB to look abroad to the curricula’s country of origin when equating qualifications.

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Magara found support for this proposal from the chairperson Jacob Opolot.

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