Some parents are concerned about the delayed release of their children’s Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) results by the Uganda National Examinations Body (UNEB).
Since Friday when the examinations body released last year’s PLE results, the affected parents and learners have been reaching out to school administrators to pick their results, but all in vain.
Parents of Bright Grammar Primary School in Masaka City are some of those parents facing the challenge and many have been making endless calls and trips to the school to find out what happened. Bright Grammar is a well-known school in Greater Masaka and it’s one of those that have been posting impressive performance in PLE in previous years.
Alex Mugumya, a resident of Kimanya, who serves as a guardian to one of the affected students, stated that when the exam results were released, they were eager to find out the child’s performance. So, they used the SMS services provided by the board.
“Despite sending multiple messages, we didn’t receive any response. By Friday evening, we had tried various telecommunication platforms and spent over 20,000 shillings. We were told that the system might be busy. But, even after trying the next day, we still didn’t receive any results,” Mugumya explained.
He further added that as their anxiety grew, they contacted the school to inquire about the issue. The headteacher provided reassurance and said that everything would be resolved shortly.
Although the headteacher has not been picking up our calls, another person from the school has since told our reporter that the school had some outstanding balance they had not paid to UNEB. “I am told the school has since paid. But I am not sure why the released results aren’t out,” the source noted.
From the alleged copy of a payment voucher, the school paid 50,000 shillings in regard to the 2016 PLE amendment fees. Notable on the receipt is the fact that the money was paid in 2021 and therefore one would wonder what it has to do with the 2022 result when the school received the 2020 result (issued in 2022).
URN reached out to the city education officer, Stephen Kakeeto, to understand why this particular school had not received its result. He says that indeed several schools had outstanding balances with the examinations board but as they paid their results have been released.
Kakeeto however declined to comment on the matter of bright grammar primary school but pointed to the fact that the school has some issues that are still in court.
The matter Kakeeto was referring to is the fact that one of the teachers at the school identified as Robert Kintu Mubiru of Bright Grammar Primary School, and others including Wenecelaus Twongereirwe, a teacher at Uganda Martyrs Primary School and Vincent Atukwase of Mbarara Junior School who had been deployed as scouts at Sumayyah Day and Boarding Primary School in Masaka City are before the court over examination malpractices.
The teachers are accused of aiding and abetting exam malpractice during the PLE exams by taking pictures of the Science paper and circulating it on social media. However, it is not yet known whether the said content was shared with candidates of his school or not.
Meanwhile, Flavia Nassaka, a guardian of another candidate in fort portal city also experienced anxiety while trying to access exam results through the provided SMS platforms. “Results for (index number excluded) for the year 2022 were found. Please contact your school for further details,” the returned message read.
However, her worries were alleviated after she reached out to the school and spoke with the headteacher, who assured her that the results for the candidates had been obtained and everything was okay. Was it a system failure? This remains unknown given the fact that she had not any outstanding debts with the school.
Jennifer Kalule, the UNEB spokesperson highlights that there could be three reasons why a parent may not be able to retrieve their child’s examination results. “It’s possible that the child hasn’t paid their school fees, leading the school to instruct UNEB not to release the results through SMS until the balances are cleared. However, there’s also a chance that the school owes money to UNEB,” she noted.
Kalule also added that several schools had not paid by the time of the exam results release. As a result, the board limited access to the results for both the parents and the school to force payment. “Once the school pays, the results become available and both the parents and school can access them,” she added.
The UNEB spokesperson also mentioned that in the worst-case scenario, results for some schools may be withheld due to suspected malpractice. She states that in such cases, the headteachers of the affected schools, area education officers, and other relevant parties, including the students themselves, will soon be called for a hearing.
“The board will soon summon those involved and all candidates whose results have been withheld for a fair hearing by the Examination Security Committee. This will likely happen after the release of the senior four results, as the Committee will handle cases from both the PLE and UCE exams,” the UNEB spokesperson stated.
There are concerns that the delay in holding hearings for these cases may negatively impact students who are currently suspected of malpractice. If they are found innocent, they may miss the selection and placement process for senior one and potentially miss out on their preferred schools.
In previous years, UNEB has released information regarding withheld results on the day of the exam results release. However, this didn’t occur this year. Odongo reassured that after the hearings are over, the Board will publish the list of schools and districts whose results have been cancelled in the media.
URN understands that the UNEB Executive Secretary, Dan Odongo, has been sending letters to various District Inspectors of Schools explaining why certain school results have been withheld.
During the 2022 PLE, there were reports from scouts and examiners of suspected instances of third-party assistance provided to candidates within the exam rooms and the smuggling of exam-related information by some candidates.
Additionally, there were attempts by individuals to access the exam packages during the distribution process on exam days. In the districts of Mukono, Gomba, Mpigi, and the greater Masaka area, security officers arrested some teachers and distributors who cut open question paper envelopes in order to access question papers. Over 10 of these suspects were detained in Mpigi and Masaka, while others were granted bail.