Exam Cheating persists as UNEB withhold 2,220 PLE results for 2020

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2,220 results for the 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) have been withheld by Uganda’s examination body as a result of exam malpractice -according to the body’s Executive Secretary, Dan Odong.

According to Mr Odong, the largest numbers of results withheld are from districts in the Rwenzori region, especially in the districts of Bundibugyo and Kasese.

The results were released today by the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni at an even in State House Entebbe.

He said the cases still under investigation range from direct assistance by invigilators, release of fake exams papers, tampering with UNEB sealed exam papers and a few cases of impersonation where non-registered individuals were smuggled into examination rooms. He said UNEB registered 3 cases of impersonation.

He said security operatives arrested some distributors in the districts of Nakasongola, and the greater Masaka areas who were entrusted with delivering the examination papers to examination centres, but along the way, cut the envelopes with a view to access the exam papers.

Mr Odong attributed the rise in cases of exam malpractice to desperation by some teachers and schools who wanted better grades following disruptions to learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “All these will be prosecuted in accordance with the UNEB Act,” he said.

The practice has become rampant as UNEB withheld results of over more than 2500 candidate in 2017, 3500 PLE results in 2018 and 1,512 results in 2019, for alleged examination malpractice.

“Schools whose results are withheld will be notified through their District Inspectors of Schools. All candidates whose results have been withheld will be accorded a fair hearing by the Board’s Examinations Security Committee,” Mr Odongo said.

After the hearings are concluded, Odong said the Board will publish in the media the list of schools and districts from which results will have been cancelled.

The release of the exams, which was slated for last month, was postponed after President Museveni instituted a 42-day lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.

This is the first set of the 2020 national examinations to be released.

According to the released exam results, Boys performed better than Girls in 2020 primary leaving examinations. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, the total number of the candidates were above the 2019 figure of 695,804 with a range of over 10,000 candidates.

A total of 749,761 candidates from 14,300 centres (schools) registered for PLE in 2020 compared to 695,804 in 2019. Of this number, 513,085 (68.4%) from 11,231 centres were Universal Primary Education (UPE) beneficiaries, and 236,677 (31.6%) of the candidates were Non UPE.

Out of these, 58 are inmates who sat for their exams from Luzira Maxim State Prison and 5 passed in Division I, 23 in Division II, 11 in Division III, 11 in Division IV and only 3 were ungraded.

In her speech, Mrs Museveni said the event was a celebration of hope for those that did not give up as the country battled the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said it is also a celebration of perseverance considering the circumstances the 2020 PLE was sat.

She acknowledged the contribution of teachers, parents and guardians for choosing to stand with the children as the country journeyed through an unusual situation.

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