The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has registered improved performance in this year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results despite disruptions in the education calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At least 749,761 candidates from 14,300 centres registered for PLE in 2020 compared to 695,804 in 2019. Of these, 513,085 (68.4 per cent) candidates were UPE beneficiaries and 236, 677 (31.6 per cent) were candidates from private schools.
The 2020 examinations also brought together more than 30,000 examination supervisors and invigilators and about 6,000 examiners, checkers and adjudicators, and other temporary staff at the 12 examiners marking venues.
While releasing the results at Statehouse in Entebbe today Friday, Uneb executive secretary, Dan N. Odongo, noted an increase in candidature by 53,957 (7.75 per cent), the highest rate of increase recorded. Candidature has been increasing by an average of 2.5 per cent over the last five years.
While 749,761 candidates registered, only 736,942 sat the examinations. Of these, Odongo said at least 659,910 candidates passed the exams conducted on March 30 and 31, 2021.
“The successful candidates are eligible for admission in post primary institutions compared to 617,150 candidates who passed in the previous year. A candidate is deemed to have passed if he/she obtains divisional grades of one, two, three, and four,” Odongo said.
Cumulatively, more candidates obtained division one at 11.1 per cent (81,864) compared to 10.1 per cent (69,243) in 2019. According to the 2020 results, 416,575 candidates (56.7 per cent) excelled in division two, 562, 717 (76.6 per cent) in division three, and 659,910 (89.8 per cent) in division four.
Some 74,878 candidates (10.2 per cent) failed the exams in 2020 and are advised to repeat. This failure rate, however, is higher than that of 2019 at 4.5 per cent with 233,729 ungraded candidates. Uneb statistics indicate that candidates from private schools continued to perform better than their counterparts in UPE schools across all the four divisions.
Out of the 501,059 UPE candidates who sat the exams, only 26, 127 (5.2 per cent) passed in division one compared to 55,737 (23.9 per cent) that excelled in the same grade from private schools.
Odongo said Uneb reports have consistently shown that learners from urban private schools achieve at higher levels of proficiency than their peers in UPE rural settings miss.
He cited the fact that teachers in urban schools tend to spend more time on task, parental involvement in the learning process, and better access to facilities that supplement classroom teaching.
For the last five years, the number of girls sitting PLE has been higher than that of the boys and it was not different this year where 395,836 (52.8 per cent) girls registered for the exams against 353,925 (47.2 per cent) boys.
During the release at Entebbe, Uneb chairperson Prof Mary Okwakol said more females registered this time contrary to the board’s expectation thus necessitating an inquiry.
“One of the findings is that in the districts of Kampala, Wakiso and other urban centres, a number of head teachers admitted that they registered primary six pupils mostly girls to sit for PLE. The reason was that parents were worried about the girls’ fast growth and uncertainties surrounding their going back to school soon,” Okwakol said.
Overall, males performed better than females and recorded a lower failure rate. For instance, some 44,877 (12.9 per cent) males passed in division one compared to 36,987 (9.5 per cent) females. The failure rate of females also remained high at 11.3 per cent while males recorded 8.9 per cent.
By subject, females out-competed males in English language but the reverse is true for the other three subjects; Social Studies with Religious Education, Integrated Science, and Mathematics.
However, as reported in previous years, Odongo said candidates’ performance in English and Mathematics tended to be poorer in questions requiring free expression or application of learned concepts in problem solving situations.
“Candidates performed better in questions that were direct and based on recall. Examiners again reported good handwriting an organised work even if the answers were wrong,” Odongo said.
Meanwhile, the number of candidates scoring zero in various subjects has also generally increased compared to the previous year.
Social Studies with Religious Education remained the best done subject as in the previous years with performance improvement at distinction and credit levels. It is followed by English which recorded an overall improvement in performance at minimum pass level though distinction level passes declined slightly.
Integrated Science recorded an improved performance at distinction level but overall pass level declined slightly while Mathematics had a slight drop in performance across all pass levels.
Meanwhile, at Luzira prison, of the 58 candidates who registered, 53 sat and five passed in division one, 23 obtained division two, 11 in division three and four each while three were ungraded.
It’s worth noting that all statistics released today do not include results of 2,220 candidates that were withheld pending completion of malpractice investigations. The largest number of withheld results are from Bundibugyo and Kasese districts.
Schools whose results are withheld will be notified through their district inspectors of schools.