More candidates who sat the 2022 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) have passed the examinations and qualified to join Advanced Level (A-Level) compared to their counterparts who sat similar examinations in 2020.
Releasing the results yesterday at State House in Nakasero, Mr Dan Odongo— the Executive Director of the Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb)—revealed that 345,695 candidates sat for the examinations, out of 349,459 who had registered. Of these, 46,667 (13.5 per cent) passed in Division One compared to 36,968 (12.1 per cent) who were in the same grade in 2020.
The students that passed in the Second Division were 76,745 (22.2 per cent) this time around compared to 67,782 (21.2 per cent). Elsewhere, students that passed in Third Division were 88,690 (25.7 per cent) compared to 81,248 (24.7 per cent) in 2020. Those in Division Four were 117,837 (34 per cent) compared to 120,055 (36.4 per cent) in 2020.
If there are common points between 2022 and 2020, it is that most of the students passed Division Four. The students who passed Division Four will not be able to get placements in the good schools that usually reject students who have not been able to obtain either first, second or third division. These tend to end up in vocational and technical institutions.
According to the Education minister, Ms Janet Kataha Museveni, Senior Five selection of candidates who have passed is slated to run from February 23 to 24. The Senior Five students will report on March 6, with 329,939 cleared to join A-Level. A total of 15,756 (4.6 per cent) failed the examinations in 2022 compared to 18,415 (5.6 per cent) who were ungraded in the 2020 examinations.
“There was better performance in the 2022 examinations. The failure rate has also dropped by 1.0 per cent, ” Mr Odongo said yesterday at the release of the examinations.
In terms of gender, male candidates outperformed their female counterparts. Of 345,695 candidates who sat for the examinations, 173,761 were male and 171,934 were female. About 15.5 per cent of boys passed in Division One compared to 11.5 females, 23.3 per cent of boys passed in Division Two compared to 21.0 per cent of females, 25.5 per cent of boys passed in Division Three compared to 25.8 per cent of females, while 31.4 per cent of boys passed in Division Four compared to 37.0 per cent of girls. When it comes to failure, 4.3 per cent of boys failed compared to 4.7 per cent of females.
Mr Odongo said female candidates performed better than their male counterparts in the English Language, while the boys performed better in Chemistry.
Whereas boys performed better than their female counterparts, performance across the divisions was relatively the same for both males and females.
The number of candidates who sat the 2022 examinations increased by 16,063 (4.8 per cent) from 333,396 in 2020 to 349,459. This reverses the decrease of 4,324 (-1.3 per cent) that had been witnessed in the previous examination. The candidates sat from 3,703 centres.
Ms Museveni was pleased to learn that the candidature that had declined in 2020 has now picked up and surpassed the previous numbers by 4.8 per cent. She was also pleased that the country is overcoming the problem of having closed schools for two years and other Covid-19 effects.
However, whereas the number of candidates who registered for the UCE examinations increased, absenteeism was high after 3,764 candidates who registered for the exams did not turn up.
“It is not right for students to study for four years, register for the examinations only to miss out at the end thus losing out on transitioning to the next level of their education,” Ms Museveni said of the cases of absenteeism that increased by 0.3 per cent.
Performance by subjects
Elsewhere, there is an improvement in performance in the large entry subjects except in Christian Religious Education, Biology and Commerce.
Mathematics showed better performance at the Distinction level but declined overall. The English Language improved at credit and overall Pass levels but declined at the Distinction level.
Performance in Biology has continued to decline as seen in the last few years. Whereas performance in Physics and Chemistry has improved, the overall pass levels are still low. In fact, over 40 per cent of the candidates have not passed the two subjects.
Uneb noted that this year examiners reported better quality work in the English Language. However, in composition writing, where candidates are expected to exhibit creativity and originality, learners in some schools are still cramming passages from textbooks or what they call “model compositions” with unusual and difficult vocabulary. They then reproduce the cramped passages irrespective of what the composition topic is.
According to Mr Odongo, the challenge of language deficiency is reflected in performance in other subjects where chief examiners continue to report failure by the candidates to interpret the demands of the tasks set, failure to follow instructions, misunderstanding keywords used in the stem of a question, and generally poor language expression.
Performance in Science practical
Mr Odongo also revealed that the problems in sciences have remained the same as in recent years. The weaknesses were also shown in making and recording observations and drawing conclusions from those observations; tabulation of experimental results and interpretation of the results to meet the demands of the question, according to the board’s executive director.
“They also showed poor mathematical skills required in calculations, inability to write the correct symbols of elements, formulae of compounds and equations,” Mr Odongo noted.
He added that a lot of candidates showed a lack of practical experience in handling the apparatus, attributing most malpractice cases to Science practical papers on this.
Mr Odongo said candidates do better in questions which require mainly knowledge and understanding (Low Order questions). Higher Order questions, which require candidates to apply knowledge in problem-solving situations, draw inferences or make predictions from observations or a set of data are not done well.
It was revealed that candidates do better in questions which require mainly knowledge and understanding (Low Order questions). Higher Order questions, which require candidates to apply knowledge in problem-solving situations, draw inferences or make predictions from observations or a set of data are not done well.