The Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) might fail to mark 2020 national examinations in the required time as some examiners have failed to turn up at the marking centres.
This year, the examinations board was expecting 2,000 examiners at the designated 40 centres to mark the three sets of examinations including Primary Leaving Examinations, Uganda Certificate of Education, and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.
On Sunday last week, coordinators of different groups of examiners started meeting to develop marking guides. However, information obtained from liable sources indicate that although the marking process is already in progress, several examiners are yet to be seen.
“The marking time is tight but the examiners who have arrived are very few. This might cause delays. If they had all showed up on time, activities would be now moving so fast,” says the source.
Jennifer Kasule-Mulumba, the UNEB spokesperson confirms the development noting that some examiners have been sending them information indicating that their headteachers have refused them to go for the marking activities. However, she couldn’t provide the number of examiners who had failed to turn up.
“Reports have been coming in indicating that some headteachers are refusing teachers from attending this year’s marking. Some teachers are saying that they are the only subject teachers at the stations and therefore cannot leave the students unattended to,” says Kalule.
Kalule says that the act is done in violation of a directive issued by the permanent secretary which was passed requesting headteachers and directors to grant examiners unconditional leave from their teaching duties.
“Despite the directive, some headteachers (more so from private schools) are allegedly advising teachers not to go for marking lest they will be permanently relieved of their duties,” she added.
Kalule further appealed to headteachers and directors to allow teachers to go for the marking activities saying that when all the examiners come in time, PLE and UCE can be marked within two and three weeks respectively.
“If these timelines are interrupted, the entire education system will be adversely affected which will be more disruptive even to schools that are currently refusing teachers to go for marking,” she stressed.
Examiners are recruited every year from both private and public schools, and before one is opted for the job, among the many requirements he or she must present a recommendation letter from the headteacher.
In the past, marking used to take place when learners are in their third term holidays and therefore most of the examiners had no contractual obligations which could hinder them from participating in the marking activities.
However, due to interruptions caused by the covid-19 induced lockdown this year, marking is being held at a time when schools are fighting to complete the syllabus within a limited time which explains why some headteachers are hesitant in granting them leave.
Meanwhile, there is also another group of examiners who have refused to turn up due to personal reasons. For instance, URN has learnt that some examiners working in government schools opted out to attend interviews that will lead to their promotion.
The said interviews are scheduled to take place on May 3 at the same time marking will be in progress yet UNEB cannot allow anybody to leave the marking centre before the activity is completed.
Kalule says they have been able to talk to the ministry of education to postpone the interviews.
A total of 1,181,940 candidates registered for their final examinations this year. They include, 749,807 for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), 333,766 for the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and 98,367 for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE.