The high cost of transport has dashed the hopes of at least six pupils who'd registered to sit for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) at St Mark primary school in Bussi island.
Bussi island is only about 10 kilometres from Entebbe town and at Bussi, Entebbe international airport remains within sight, and the skies above the island occasionally get noisy as planes land and fly out of Entebbe.
But despite the short distance, Bussi, home to a population of about 20,000, is one of the hard-to-access areas, because of inefficient means of transport. It can be reached within one hour by a simple wooden canoe from Nakiwogo landing site in Entebbe.
Now URN has learnt that six out of the 123 pupils who had registered to sit for their PLE at one of the two schools on the island never turned up between November 2, the day of the briefing and November 6, when the final examination was held.
Michael Wataka, the head teacher of St Mark primary school says that the six pupils were all from Bishop Kawuma primary school, Zzinga, whose parents failed to raise transport fares for the children to cross from the island to the examination centre.
The other candidates at the centre came from the areas of Kavenyanja, Gulwe and Balabala. He says that pupils from the most distant islands needed at least Shs 60,000 to hire a boat to and fro the island.
Scovia Kayanja, the head teacher of Busi Junior school says that poor transport has been a major challenge for pupils over the years. She adds that this year, schools had planned to have the pupils at the centre early enough, which, however, didn't work with even the invigilators arriving late.
The teachers are suggesting that UNEB accredits three more centres in the area to ensure that learners do not have to travel long distances to find a registered school.