The Uganda National Examinations Board has released the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations results today in Kampala.
Speaking at the function, Mary Okwakol, the chairperson of Uneb, said that the 2017 results show that gender parity has almost been achieved in registration for the senior four exams, with 49.3 candidates being girls against 50.7 percent boys.
She added that unlike in the previous years, there have been reduced cases of girls registering and not turning up for examinations. However, just like in the previous years at all levels, the boys continue to outpace girls in overall performance, save for the English language.
There was an increase by 2,936 (0.9%) from 323,276 in 2016 to 326,212 in 2017 in the number of candidates. Of these 151,848 (46.5%) were 'free' secondary education, known as universal secondary education (USE), beneficiaries.
However, non-USE candidates outperformed USE candidates. Only 4.1 percent of USE candidates passed in first grade against 15.1 percent of non-USE candidates.
On the other hand at least 16,230 of USE candidates failed against 11,725 non-USE candidates. Overall, of the 326,212 candidates, 31,338 (9.6 percent) passed in first grade, 53,665 (16.5 percent) in second grade, 70,797 (21.7) in third grade and 131,660 (40.4 percent) in fourth grade. A total of 27,955 (8.6 percent) students failed the exams.
Performance in science and mathematics has shown improvement but continues to be poor, overall, for the majority of candidates.
Passes at the distinction and credit levels in physics and chemistry are below 21 per cent. Uneb noted that only about 45 per cent of the students reach minimum competency level in science subjects.
Performance in English declined at the distinction and credit levels, compared to 2016.
“English is the language of instruction in this country. It follows that candidates’ ability to understand the demands of questions in the examination papers and offer adequate responses to those questions depends a lot on the candidates’ level of proficiency in English,” Odongo said.
This poor performance in English and sciences rattled Ms Museveni who wondered where the problem might be after the several interventions her ministry has made. Proficiency in the language affects the way the learners will understand. It’s disheartening to learn that teachers are teaching learners to cram,” Museveni said.
She added that they will continue to do everything to see that performance improves. She said her ministry is in the process of recruiting at least 2000 teachers to improve the staffing levels especially for science subjects.
The pattern has also not changed in the way regions perform. Eastern Uganda still wins the trophy as the worst performing region with almost the ten worst districts, save for Kasese, Buliisa and Bundibugyo, coming from the east.
Selections for S5 are to be held on 14 and 15 February at the Lugogo UMA showground conference hall.