UNEB releases 2023 UCE results, registers decline in exam malpractice

UNEB grading controversy sparks debate on education assessment
UNEB Executive Director, Mr Dan Nokrach Odongo.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has released the 2023 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results, highlighting a decrease in exam malpractice.

The results for the 364,469 candidates who took the exams were disclosed on Thursday 15, February 2024 at State Lodge, Nakasero, in an event overseen by the Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Museveni.

UNEB Executive Director, Mr. Dan Odongo noted that the number of candidates increased by 15,008 (4.3%) from 349,459 in 2022 to 364,469 in 2023.

“We note that 64,782 candidates or 17.9% of the candidates were able to pass in first grade division, this is compared to 46,667 or 13.5% in 2022.”

“The failure rate has also dropped by 0.5%. This means that 329,939 or 95.9% of the learners who presented themselves for the 2023 examination can progress to the post-UCE,” Odongo said.

Mr. Dan Odongo, the Executive Director of UNEB, pointed out that girls outperformed boys in the English language. He also highlighted the persistent trend of gender-based disparities in candidate performance observed over the years.

“Female candidates performed better than males in English. In the other subjects, males performed better, with the differences being very significant in History, Geography, the Sciences and Commerce. In Chemistry, however, the male candidates show better performance in the higher grades but, overall, a slightly higher percentage of females obtained at least a Pass. This trend in the disparity in the performance of male and female candidates has been observed over the years,” Mr Odongo said.

Mr. Odongo says that out of the total candidates, 118,633 or 32.5% were beneficiaries of the government’s Universal Secondary Education programme – 183,998 of whom were females.

Mr. Odongo says a total of 809 special needs education candidates made up of 368 males and 441 females registered for the 2023 examination compared to 720 in 2022.

“These consisted of various groups, the blind, the low vision, the Deaf the dyslexic, physically handicapped, and then others that did not require specific interventions except to be given extra time.”

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According to him, there is a significant improvement in the English language, religious education, mathematics and biology.

“However, noticeable drops were recorded in history, agriculture, and physics. Performance in the other subjects have remained comparable.”

On reduced cases of exam malpractice, Mr. Odongo said, “Cases of examination malpractice have reduced. Most of those reported for this exam were external assistance given in the examination rooms and affecting mostly Physics and Chemistry practicals as well as Mathematics. The affected schools will be notified through their portals.”