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UNEB to Digitize Candidate's Scripts, Venture into E-Assessment :: Uganda Radionetwork

UNEB to Digitize Candidate's Scripts, Venture into E-Assessment

Dan Odongo, the Executive Director of Uneb, acknowledged the board's previous lack of resources and infrastructure to store the scripts, which were often sought after by complainants, researchers, educators, and policymakers.
08 Jul 2023 08:29
Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni commissioning Uneb’s new storage facility

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In a significant leap towards digital innovation, the Uganda National Examinations Board-Uneb has unveiled its plan to digitize and preserve candidates' examination scripts for posterity. Until now, Uneb could only retain the examination scripts for two years and dispose them of. 

Dan Odongo, the Executive Director of Uneb, acknowledged the board's previous lack of resources and infrastructure to store the scripts, which were often sought after by complainants, researchers, educators, and policymakers. He, however, says that Uneb has since procured and installed 25 heavy-duty digital scanners along with accompanying computer systems specifically for the purpose of digitizing exam scripts. 

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He revealed this on Friday afternoon at the opening ceremony of Uneb's newly constructed storage facilities in Kyambogo. He added that by creating digital backups, the examinations body aims to protect the valuable historical records of candidate's work from potential risks and ensure their accessibility for future use and reference among other uses.

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Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Uned Board chairperson also emphasized the challenges faced by the board due to inadequate building facilities, which had hindered their ability to establish the necessary infrastructure for efficient digital scanning.

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Furthermore, Odongo revealed that the board is in the final stages of implementing e-assessment, aligning with the changing landscape of educational assessment. The initiative is particularly in relation to the new lower secondary curriculum and anticipated changes in curricula at other educational levels to keep pace with innovations now being implemented by other examination bodies. 

In addition to addressing the need for integration between digital technology and assessment, Odongo expressed his belief that these initiatives could potentially lead to redesigning the current marking system, eliminating the logistical challenges of gathering thousands of markers in a single location.

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Since 2017, Uneb has been adopting different technologies and equipment to enhance its capacity for assessment, confidential printing of examination materials, result slips, and certificates. Among the newly acquired machines are a one-color web offset printer funded by a world bank facility, an automatic counting and wrapping machine for the secure packing of examination papers, and a five-color printer dedicated to handling jobs with color images. 

Additionally, UNEB has obtained a specialized printer for certificates and result slips, a machine for affixing holograms to certificates, and a computer-to-plate machine for direct plate production from digital files. Odongo confirmed that some of the machines have already been installed, and UNEB staff members have received comprehensive training to operate them efficiently. These machines are currently in full operation, contributing to enhanced printing processes and ensuring the confidentiality of examination materials. 

Regarding the remaining machines, Odongo stated that they are currently being installed and will soon undergo user training to ensure their optimal utilization and benefit to the organization.

The new storage facility 

In 1992, the Government approved UNEB's proposal, as outlined in the Government White Paper on Education, to construct its own well-equipped facilities. This decision was made in response to the recommendations put forth by the Education Policy Review Commission.

The project was initially planned to commence in the fiscal year 1995/96. However, due to the limitations faced by the Government during that period, the project did not come to fruition. Consequently, UNEB resorted to renting facilities in industrial areas over the years to serve as storage spaces for their confidential documents, including examination materials and candidates' scripts, among other items.

Put to rest are the concerns and anxieties that once surrounded the storage of confidential documents, UNEB has successfully acquired its own multipurpose storage facility at Kyambogo. Remarkably, this storage facility is conveniently located within the same compound as the board's Printery. 

Dan Odongo highlights the challenges associated with renting such facilities, which incurred costs exceeding 200 million shillings. Additionally, the documents stored in these rented facilities were susceptible to significant risks.

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During the inauguration of the new facility, Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni acknowledged the significance of infrastructure development for the Ministry and its affiliated agencies. She emphasized that owning a dedicated storage facility would alleviate the burdens associated with renting such spaces. Ms. Museveni also highlighted the broader implications of the newly acquired building and other notable accomplishments of UNEB. Additionally, the minister mentioned that UNEB would be able to offer printing services to other departments and agencies of the Ministry, albeit at a reasonable fee.

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