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Schools salute ban on backdoor admissions

 

State minister for higher education John Muyingo greets head teachers during the selection exercise

Head teachers from top secondary schools are breathing a sigh of relief after Education and Sports ministry officials enforced a ban on backdoor admissions.

The ban follows last year’s directive by Education minister Janet Museveni. At her maiden visit to the annual senior one selection exercise at Lugogo, the minister said: “Head teachers should disregard special admission requests, meaning there will be no lists from me or lists that originate either from the ministry or any other special interest groups.”

“Ignore all these commissioners who will come with lists of students and report them directly to the permanent secretary. In case you don’t report, head teachers will be held accountable for every single student admitted into their schools.”

In the story, Head teachers unsure how to end backdoor admissions, The Observer February 20, 2017, top school heads revealed how they were forced to leave out deserving students, in favour of those sent by ministry, top government officials and wealthy parents.

Rachel Kironde, the deputy head teacher at Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga, said, “You may not believe this but for the first time in the history of the school, we did not get any special lists from the ministry. The ministry needs to tighten the belt again so that we get only the deserving girls for Namagunga,” Kironde said.

At the start of 2017, before the ban, Kironde said the ministry had recommended about 40 names. At Namilyango College, deputy head teacher Augustine Kirungi, told The Observer that no ministry lists came this time.

“We used to have a lot of unnecessary pressure with those backdoor lists. The ministry would give us a shortlist and then send more boys who are even less qualified,” he said.

“They would send us boys with aggregate nine yet our cut-off is usually aggregate five or six. This trend has changed. We have been performing well but we expect to see better results with students who have merited joining the college,” he added.

Some schools have also been nudged by foundation bodies such as the Church and Muslim community to take on students.

Wilson Ndeze, the deputy head teacher in charge of Academics at Ntare School, said the Church did not send any lists this time round. “Influential people usually send us some names; I don’t know if they feared the minister not to send any list last year.”

He said the pressure that comes with special ministry lists has greatly reduced “because initially, it was like we were fighting with the ministry to accept their lists, which we were not comfortable with.”

‘NO MORE LISTS’

The minister of state for Higher Education, John C Muyingo, urged head teachers to be transparent during the selection exercise.

“If your cut-off is aggregate five, let everybody know that the class will only comprise learners with 4s and 5s so that we judge you rightly when Uneb releases results,” Muyingo said. “We have decided as a ministry that there will be no more lists coming from us. Muyingo is not going to write any letter to you and admissions must be on merit.”

On January 25, some 287,716 learners were placed in schools and institutions. Of these, 256,036 were placed in Universal Secondary Education schools; 28,440 in private and 3,240 in business, technical, vocational training institutions.

Senior one students report for first term on February 12.

nangonzi@observer.ug

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