Ugandan gov’t clears schools hosting marking centres to reopen for all classes

Ugandan gov’t clears schools hosting marking centres to reopen for all classes
Namilyango College reopened on Monday 29, March 2021

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Education and Sports has cleared schools that will host marking centres to reopen for all classes.

The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) selected over 40 schools mainly in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, and Luwero districts to host the marking activities. The selected institutions include primary and secondary schools.

However, over the past weeks, the examination body had failed to reach an understanding with the Ministry of Education on how the selected schools will manage examination marking activities without compromising the resumption of physical teaching and learning.

Mike Nangosya Masikye, the Director of Examination at UNEB confirms that they have finally decided that the schools where marking will be conducted should reopen for all classes.

“Students in those schools will report earlier. This has already been decided. However, the official communication will later be made by the Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Education),” says Nangosya.

At the primary level, selected schools have started recalling pupils in primary four and five a week earlier. These were supposed to resume school on April 6, 2021.

For secondary schools, schools have summoned senior one and senior two students. According to the revised school calendar, senior one students were expected to return to school on July 7, 2021 while their senior two counterparts on July 27.

Although the schools have been allowed to reopen, the ministry has not set a standard calendar indicating how long these learners will spend at school before returning home to pave way for the marking activities to take place.

For instance, Namilyango Junior School recalled primary four and five learners a week ago while Namilyango College reopened on Monday. Nagalama Secondary School has also sent a circular to parents indicating that senior one students will report on April 6.

Ismael Mulindwa, the Director of Basic Education, who also doubles as the head of the Education Ministry COVID-19 taskforce, says there was no need for putting up a special learning calendar for these schools. He says that the period that learners will spend at a particular school will be discussed as part of the memorandum of understanding usually signed.

Mulindwa says the decision is based on the fact that the marking period at a given centre will vary depending on several factors including the set of examinations and the number of candidates allocated to the centre.

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Eng. Moses Wakulera, a parent at Ndejje Senior Secondary school notes that the arrangement has affected their planning.

Martha Mirembe, a mother with learners at two designated marking centres says although the idea will affect them, they expected it since over years, the schools have been used as marking centres.

According to UNEB, the marking process is likely to take a period of three to four weeks. At least 1,181,965 candidates registered to sit for the 2020 national final examinations.

The candidates were supposed to sit for the exams at the end of 2020. However, their studies were disrupted by the closure of schools at the beginning of the year following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease.