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PLE 2019: 66,000 fail, can’t join secondary

Jonathan Ayiko, Lynn Akiror Onyait, and Elisha Wonder Kyagon- deze. Each got Agg 5 at Mbuya Parents PS

Jonathan Ayiko, Lynn Akiror Onyait, and Elisha Wonder Kyagon- deze. Each got Agg 5 at Mbuya Parents PS

In all, at least 66,152 candidates failed flat the 2019 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and cannot legitimately join any post primary institution, an analysis of last week’s results has found.

Last year’s failure rate represents a 9.6 per cent climb in the number of failures compared to 8.6 percent registered the previous year

In 2018, 56,105 pupils failed the exams. A total of 683,302 candidates wrote their PLE across 13,475 centers in the country. Tomorrow (Thursday), secondary head teachers will converge at Lugogo looking to admit only 617,150 senior one pupils, a higher figure compared to the 599,593 recorded in 2018.

Uneb executive secretary Dan N Odongo advised ungraded candidates to repeat.  In our analysis of all results, we show how schools performed per subject, division one and two, and aggregates from four to eight. However, the analysis does not include 1,512 candidates whose results were withheld over exam malpractice last week.

Schools that ordered Uneb to withhold results for fees defaulters are also not part of the analysis. We only included schools that approached us with authentic documents of cleared defaulters…


At aggregate four, Kampala-based Namirembe Parents Schools surprisingly topped the list with 29 candidates, beating Hillside PS that had dominated for the last two years. In 2018, Namirembe Parents had no candidate with a four and featured with only one candidate with aggregate five.

Previously in eighth position with 16 4s and 35 5s, Namagunga Boarding Primary School is in second position with 25 4s and 25 5s. Hillside PS Naalya came in third position with less 4s at 22 compared to 57 4s and 79 5s it obtained in 2018.

Hillside finds some consolation topping the tables with the highest number of first grades and distinctions in at least two examinable subjects. 

Out of the 12,511 schools that have been aggregated, Hillside only leads in English and Mathematics. Namirembe Parents beat it to the top slot in Science while Hormisdallen Gayaza triumphed in Social Studies. Since 2017, Hillside has been dominating all subjects.

Generally, English and SST improved at distinction level. Overall, the pass level also rose in Science although performance at distinction dropped sharply from 64.5 per cent in 2018 to 4.9 per cent last year.

Uneb observed that in both English and Mathematics performance was poor in questions requiring candidates to apply knowledge or express themselves freely. Odong said candidates were more comfortable with questions that are direct and based on recall.


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