Kisugu High School director jailed for denying candidates exams

Kisugu High School director jailed for denying candidates exams
Celestine Kasolo

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Makindye Chief Magistrates Court has ordered the detention of Celestine Kasolo, 48, a director and teacher at Kisugu High School, on 12 charges related to unlawful confinement and denying O’level candidates examinations over their failure to pay school fees.

Kasolo allegedly held the candidates in his office throughout the day against their will, accusing them of indiscipline, as the rest of the candidates sat for the ongoing O’level examination papers.

The court proceedings were presided over by Grade One Magistrate Igga Adiru, and State Attorney Carol Opa led the prosecution. It was disclosed that on October 26th, 2023, Kisugu High School director, Celestine Kasolo disrupted the final examinations of six candidates at the school by detaining them.

His actions are said to have disrupted the examination process in Makindye Division, Kampala District, at a designated examination center. The candidates who missed the biology exam due to this incident were Daniel Achom, Robert Ojambo, Al Mahad Saddick, Nicholas Orionzi, Calvin Onyango, and Simon Peter Mandiko.

Kasolo has denied the charges and is scheduled for a bail hearing on November 12, 2023.

He faces 12 charges of disturbances at examinations contrary to sections 30(1) and (b) of the Uganda National Examination Board Act 2021 and wrongful confinement contrary to section 248 of the Penal Code Act.

The offence of disturbances at examinations attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points (Shs 20m) or both, upon conviction.

In a separate case, Abdul Karim Sseguya, 20, also known as Fresh Karim, a site helper and resident of Gangu A Zone on Busabala Road in Makindye Ssabagabo, faces charges of unauthorized possession of examination materials or information contrary to Section 25(1) of the UNEB Act 2021.

It is alleged that during October 2023, Fresh Karim, through social media accounts, willfully possessed UNEB materials or information related to the contents of the UCE 2023 exams. He has also denied these charges.

This is not an isolated incident, as recent events have seen several educators facing legal action over examination-related issues. Just last month, the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court remanded six individuals, including headteachers, to Luzira prison on allegations of examination malpractice.

Examination malpractice has become a growing concern in Uganda, leading to the withholding of thousands of results each year. Experts attribute this issue, in part, to the commercialization of the education sector, which has gradually seeped into Uganda’s educational system.

Year after year, a significant number of examination results are withheld due to malpractice, and the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has often pointed to weak legal frameworks as a contributing factor. However, with the introduction of a new Act, the board has established a more robust mechanism for detecting and tracking suspected malpractice, resulting in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of several individuals involved.

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In the past, UNEB uncovered instances of teachers allegedly leaking PLE scripts to candidates in Masaka via social media. Additionally, there were cases of individuals attempting to unlawfully open sealed PLE parcels on the examination day, with the intention of capturing images and sharing them with students before the exams.

In addition to leaks, several schools and candidates have fallen victim to fake examination papers circulating on various social media platforms just days before the scheduled exams.

A total of 1,224,371 candidates are registered to take their final examinations across three education levels: Primary Leaving Examination (PLE), Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).

UCE exams began on October 13, with the briefing of UCE candidates and will continue until November 17, 2023. PLE will be conducted from November 7 to 9, 2023, while UACE is scheduled from November 10 to December 1, 2023.