Fewer candidates got division one in the 2017 Primary Leaving Examinations compared to the previous year, results released this afternoon show. At least 333,494 (51%) girls and boys 312,695 (48%) sat for PLE 2017.
Of these, 57, 198 candidates (9.1 per cent) got first grades compared to 63,400 (10.2 per cent) in 2016. More than half of these are from private schools. Uneb secretary Dan Odongo said, however, that the overall performance for 2017 was better.
He said this year, 571,252 (90.9 per cent) qualify to register for any post-primary examination conducted by Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) after they scored between grade one and four. Only 541,089 (87.02 per cent) passed PLE last year.
Like in 2016, the districts that registered the highest failures this year are from eastern Uganda: Kween, Bukwo, Tororo, Mbale, Mayuge, Kamuli, Budaka, and Bududa.
Only Buvuma and Kayunga are not from eastern Uganda among the top ten districts with highest failures. These are also among the poorest districts in the country.
After the release of 2016 results last year, Education minister Janet Museveni vowed that she was ready to camp in eastern Uganda to understand what was contributing to the many failures.
In last year’s results, social studies and integrated science were best done. Mathematics and English were poorly done.
“In both English and mathematics, performance was poor in questions where candidates were required to apply knowledge in problem-solving or express themselves freely,” said Odongo. “Candidates were more comfortable with questions that are direct and based on recall.”
However, Odongo said, candidates’ handwriting was legible and they answered in full sentences regardless of the correctness of the responses.
Private schools performed better than public schools, an indicator that government has its work cut out to ensure improvement in schools where low income parents take their children.
For instance, of the 57,198 candidates that scored first grade, 38,819 were from private schools. Only 18,363 UPE candidates managed to get grade one. Some cases of exam malpractice, mainly external assistance, were reported leading to withholding of results of 2,559 candidates.
Mary Okwakol, the Uneb chairperson, said exams malpractice was reaching unbearable levels and should be declared a threat to national security.