Primary seven candidates across the country begin writing their examinations next week, with the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) cautioning schools against involvement in any form of malpractice.
While addressing journalists today, the Uneb executive secretary Dan N. Odongo, said all candidates for the first time will use Education Management Information System (EMIS) numbers instead of school names used in the past.
EMIS is a six-digit code that has been allocated to each school as preemptive measure to examination malpractice. From last year backwards, candidates would write their names, index numbers, name of the school and district but this has now changed.
“As we go on, I think our societal morals are going down because people follow up to influence examiners on how to mark their schools by simply giving them their name,” Odongo said.
“Some examiners have also been on the lookout for certain school names during the marking process. When the school name is written, it is very easy to trace. So, we have tried to disguise it with EMIS codes that candidates will write on their scripts.”
Some 671,923 candidates have been registered to sit PLE from 13,072 centres across the country compared to 646,041 from 12, 751 in 2017. This represents an increase of 25, 882 (3.9 per cent). Of the total candidature, 476,131 are from Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools and 195,792 private. This is also the fourth year Uneb is registering more females at 346,963 compared to 324,960 males.
Odongo said candidates and invigilators have been trained on how to use the EMIS numbers.
“Before the start of any exam, we have allocated time where the invigilator in each examination room will write the code on the chalk board which the candidates are supposed to write on their papers. He/she must move around to ensure that every candidate has written the code correctly,” he said.
He believes that some determined individuals can still look out for the EMIS number but it will be more difficult since it is not as obvious as the name of the school. This EMIS numbers are almost similar to random numbers used at O-level for the last six years.
At S4, Uneb generates a random number per paper each day. For primary, being a two-day exam, the board has maintained one number because: “We don’t want to confuse young children. We will do it now and see how we shall do it differently with time; people may cram the EMIS numbers of schools.”
According to the timetable, candidates will start with Mathematics and Social Studies and Religious Education on Monday and end with Integrated Science and English on Tuesday. Unlike Mathematics that has been allocated two hours and 30 minutes, other papers will last two hours and 15 minutes.
“No extra time is to be allowed. In case of any discrepancy, the time shown on the timetable must be taken as correct. Time for reading through questions is included in the total time shown,” reads Uneb the guidelines to candidates.
For candidates with special needs, they will be allowed 45 extra minutes for each paper. Distribution of examination will involve 26 routes while monitoring will comprise 124 district monitors and over 10,000 scouts deployed from districts and Uneb headquarters as well as an unspecified number of security personnel that will operate overtly and covertly.
In cases where lunch is provided to candidates, Uneb warns that it must be done within the sitting centres.
Uneb has also urged candidates and all concerned persons to report directly to the board any person (could be another candidates, teacher, head teacher, invigilator, supervisor, scout and a uneb official) suspected to be indulging in examination malpractice.
Odongo said the board will publish the names of persons found involved in any form of malpractice.