Never take people’s conversations lightly even if you are just passing by. I was shocked to hear a person you would take for a no-body talk about how some close relative had benefited from the bonanza of cheating in exams which is no news today in Uganda, only that this time the telephone companies greatly helped the cheats because it is almost free talking for hours, so the cheats could easily read out the questions to beneficiaries. And what I learnt is that the questions were the real ones!
Where is the problem?
The starting point should be for the Inspector General of Government (IGG) or other organ to thoroughly investigate the staff in UNEB. You cannot rule out some of them being shareholders in the schools which are major beneficiaries of the exam leaks. Secondly, it is very likely that some senior people in Government could be approaching UNEB senior people for the papers that students/children are to sit for. The truth is that even if only one paper licked, the multiplier effect can be very great. One day I was in a Government Ministry and some well placed person talked about a secondary school where the paper that came was not what had been expected. That school had an additional 30 minutes as students reviewed the paper and eventually sat for it. This is how bad and abused the exams have become in Uganda.
There is a time students at Makerere wanted to strike for re-takes
When some of us were at University, a person with a re-take would not have a voice. Academics has lost its value in Uganda given the developments. The re-takes some of the students have really put to question whether we should have even tom and dick go for a University degree. I have had opportunity to get not one student ask for an exercise being done for him and he takes it as if it were his original. We have no future with such a background. There are people one would respect in this country, but when you learn about what they do for a living you are shocked.
The way forward
May be UNEB needs new blood. There is need to get strategies to do these things the right way. How can it be for such an officer to go to theatre when it is a sub – standard Medical Doctor to treat him. We are so money hungry, but we need to sort our morals first. UNEB year in year out talks about people involved in examination malpractices, a part from the few schools that lose their centres, we are not informed of the progress of the prosecutions.
It is sad that chances are that after Christmas, the results from the UNEB exams may not be effort of many of the children/students and be sure with such a background, there is no worthy civil service being groomed. Whoever are involved in these stupid acts should have second thought.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
MATTHEW BUKENYA EXECUTIVE SECRETARY UNEB
CHEATING TO PASS EXAMS A REALITY; GOVERNMENT HAS TO ACT
IGG Raphael Baku
Cheating to pass examinations is a reality and Government of Uganda has to act fast to see this end. It is unfortunate that not enough is being done in this field. Why is Government reluctant to call upon witnesses to the effect and if possible pay them. While everything goes to the dogs, Government MUST ensure that exams are passed by those who have the ability.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Exam Malpractices - IGG Wants Implicated Teachers Deregistered
9 August 2010
The Inspector General of Government has recommended that all teachers and head teachers who aid students during examinations, are dismissed.
Mr Raphael Baku said many teachers have been implicated in exams leakages but continue hold their positions. He said external assistance, which is the major form of malpractice accounts for about 81 percent of all misdeeds. "Head teachers, invigilators or teachers whose students are found to have cheated or been assisted in an exam be held accountable on evidence of cancelled results," Mr Baku said.
"Uneb management informed the study team that in some cases they submit head teachers and teachers involved in examination malpractice to ministry of education for deregistration through the teaching service disciplinary procedures, but there is no case on record to have been submitted to the ministry for a period prior to 2009," he added The IGG also wants the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) to change examiners every five years to avoid being compromised by head teachers .
"Examiners should be changed every five years on a rolling basis except in exceptional subjects where examiners may not be available," Mr Baku recommended. These recommendations are contained in the IGG's report into the effectiveness of measures instituted by UNEB to control malpractices in examinations.
The report launched in Kampala last week was initiated by the ombudsman's office to identify loopholes in Uneb control systems and advise on how to seal them. The study reviewed the examination process - from registration to release of results - in respect of primary, ordinary and advanced levels over the years 2004 to 2007. Mr Baku said Business and Technical examinations were not considered in the study because they attract fewer cases of malpractices.
Last year, exams of 2,812 pupils and students were cancelled over alleged involvement in malpractices. This year's exams are expected to start mid October with 264,000 students sitting their O' level examinations.
A total of 519,082 pupils will later sit their Primary Leaving Examinations in the first week of November followed by 103,675 students who will write their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations. Mr Baku warned that if the increasing cases of exam malpractices are not checked, the country is destined to get further thieving public servants.” It is viewed that a student, who progresses in his academic pursuits through cheating, will grow into a corrupt adult even after his studies," he said. "The aggregate of all this is a corrupt and incompetent future workforce in the country."
UNEB chairman, Prof Lutalo Bbosa said the powers to punish culprits lies with the ministry. He said the examination body always puts measures to curb exam malpractices but 'unscrupulous characters' have continued to beat the system.
He however welcomed the report saying it would help them eliminate the vice. "These are good recommendations and we are going to study the report so that we improve the system," he said Uneb is a semi-autonomous agency that administers final papers for primary, secondary and vocational institutions. The government recently directed UNEB to relax requirements for Senior 4 candidates in a bid to contain likely pressure from beneficiaries of the USE programme.
IGG wants UNEB to use CCTV cameras in curtailing examination malpractices
The Inspectorate of Government has recommended to the Uganda National Examination Board to install CCTV Camera’s as way of cutting down the levels of malpractices in national exams at Primary Leaving Exams, Uganda Certificate of Education and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.
This comes hardly three months ahead of the annual national examinations that will begin in October with the Uganda Certificate of Education exams officially beginning at around that time.
While presenting a study carried out by the Inspectorate of Government on the effectiveness of the measures instituted by UNEB to fight the examination malpractices at the Uganda Media Center the Inspector General of Government Raphael Baku has said UNEB should consider using CCTV cameras in places where it prints exams from.
IGG Raphael Baku
The IGG has also made other recommendations like the idea of having UNEB change setters, examiners and moderators who deal with examinations every five years as a means to ensure that more teachers are involved in the moderating and setting of these exams as this will curtail on the possibility of examiners setters and moderators aiding examination malpractices.
Though UNEB has largely embraced these recommendations of the study it has however declined to embrace the aspect of changing examiners, setters and moderators of exams every five years.
The Chairman of UNEB Prof. Lutalo Bossa has told journalists that it would not be practically advantageous to change the examiners, setters and moderators because some examiners, setters and moderators do their work well and it would therefore be simply unreasonable to take them off their jobs just for the sake of it.
Some of the key aspects that the office of the IGG noted to be key causes of examination malpractices are the lack of integrity and professional ethics, the rural- urban gap in education where by many schools in rural areas are largely ill prepared for exams compared to their urban counter parts and the commercialization of education in Uganda.
Many people will be watching to see how far the IGG can go in trying to assist UNEB fight malpractices an evil that dates as far back as to the days of the East African Examinations Council in 1971 when O and A level exams were said to have leaked in Kampala, Jinja and Mbale. These Malpractices have continued to grow largely to date number of forms in Uganda.
By Tiberindwa Zakaria, Ultimate Media.
Minister of Education Hon. Geraldine Bitamazire at the Ministry of Education Offices during the release of the 2009 Uganda Certificate of Education results in Kampala. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI
Uneb given month to list cheats
Uganda’s examination regulatory body has been given a month within which to bring to book teachers who have been accused of involving in malpractices. The directive comes after it emerged, due to examination malpractices, many students will not be going on to the next level of education.
The Minister for Education Namirambe Bitamazire insisted the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) must investigate and hand over names of those involved in malpractice for disciplinary measures.
She announced the measure after she officially received the 2009 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results from the UNEB secretariat.
The list of schools with nullified results and those with withdrawn centre numbers was revealed by the UNEB Executive Secretary Matthew Bukenya in a press briefing during the release of the results on Thursday, February 4 at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kampala.
Five secondary schools have also had their examinations centre numbers withdrawn by the Uganda National Examinations Board due to poor management while 15 others had most of their results cancelled due to exam malpractice.
The five schools include Dynamic SS Sonde (centre number: U1526) and Spire High School, Gayaza (U1983) both in Wakiso, St Joseph’s SS Butenga (I1811) and St Henry’s High School (U1301) in Masaka and Namataba SS Lugazi (U0672) in Mukono.
Budinse Memorial SS in Mpigi had the results of 40 of the 41 candidates who sat the exams cancelled while Green Valley College in Yumbe had 130 candidates’ results out of 143 nullified.
Wakiso District had results from six schools cancelled, the highest number of those named, although schools with fewer than four cases have not been listed. UNEB also said that no exam leakage was reported this year.
Most malpractices were recorded in science subjects with Physics topping the list followed by Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics.
Some of the deregistered schools are accused of offences like not remitting exams fees to UNEB.
Uganda Education News: UNEB boss warns on examination malpractices
The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) Boss, Mathew Bukenya has warned teachers, students and parents to avoid involving themselves in acts of examination malpractices to avoid S.4 candidates being disqualified.
Today, candidates who are sitting the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) are being briefed before they can start their exams on Monday.
Bukenya told journalists today at the UNEB headquarters in Kampala, that during the briefing, Candidates will be given new examination guidelines such as the ban on the possession of mobile phones in the examination room.
He says parents and teachers who involve themselves in acts of examination malpractices will also be punished by the courts of laws.
The UNEB chief says last year, the results of over 1,000 students were cancelled due to examination malpractices.
Bukenya appealed to everybody involved in the examination process to report all cases of exam malpractices to the UNEB secretariat by calling the officials on 0312260752 or emailing on email@example.com.
CHECKING THE MENACE OF EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE:
A CALL FOR MORE TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SCHOOLS
Dr. R.A. Olatoye,
Institute of Education,
Olabisi Onabanjo University,
This paper outlines reasons for examination malpractices, the forms they
,take and the threat they pose to our educational system. Various efforts at
combating the scourge of examination malpractice in different countries like
China, Pakistan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Philippines were
presented. It is argued that increasing the quality of teaching and learning In
schools will go a long way to reduce the menance of examination malpractices. It
is suggested that other remedies like punitive measures and public
enlightenment campaigns can only be effective if students are well taught in
Examination malpractice is any illegal act committed by a student single
handedly or in collaboration with others like fellow students, parents, teachers,
supervisors, invigilators, printers and anybody or group of people before, during
or after examinations in order to obtain undeserved marks or grades. The means
of perpetrating this illegal act may range from bringing in un-authorized materials
to the examination hail, disrupting the conduct of examinations, buying
examination papers, changing of grades after examination and impersonation to
using money or candidate’s body to earn marks.
Examination malpractice in Nigeria and indeed in many countries of the
world is already a cankerworm. It has attained an alarming proportion and also
endemic to educational systems all over the world. The problem is hydra-headed
and has defied most recommended solutions. The categories of people involved
in examination malpractices are many and the forms of examination malpractices
are almost without end. It takes place at all educational levels, it is a concern to
all stakeholders in education and it takes place in both internal and external
examinations. Children, youths and adults are involved.
Many reasons have been given for the prevalence of examination
malpractice. These include inadequate funding of schools (Maduabum &
Maduabum, 1998), laxity in prosecuting offenders (Uwadiae, 1997) inability of
students to cope with school work, candidates’ inadequate preparation and
desire to pass at all costs, poor sitting arrangement, too much emphasis on
paper qualification and non completion of syllabuses (Adamu, 1998; Obe, 1998,
Onyechere, 1996). The causes are multi-dimensional while the society, the
school and the students are involved. Any lasting solution to examination
malpractice should therefore consider all these causes. The World Bank Group
(2002) identified that a major reason for examination malpractices is high stakes
of examination. This implies the long-term impact of examination results on a
candidate’s life and where teacher and school status depend on public
examination results. Other reasons include students’ personal factors, quota
system, inadequate school resources, corruption in the society, location of
examination centres and low salary level for teachers and examination officials.
Forms of Examination Malpractice
Different forms of examination malpractice have been reported in
literature. Common forms such as bringing in unauthorised materials, writing on
currency notes and identity cards, spying of other candidates in examination hail,
substitution of answer sheets and change of examination scores or grades
(Adamu, 1998; Fagbemi 2001). Others include impersonation, leakage of
questions to students before the examination, conniving with supervisors and
school authorities to cheat, body writing or tattoo in which students especially
females write on hidden parts of their bodies (Jacob & Lar, 2001).
There are some cases of examination malpractice that are almost
unbelievable. In the 1997 University Matriculation Examination, the then
Registrar of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board reported that there were
cases of females attempting to impersonate males. There was widespread
cheating reported in that year’s University Matriculation Examination (The
Guardian 16th September, 1997). Examination malpractice is not a recent
phenomenon, though the trend is increasing. In the 1973 May/June WAEC
examination, there was the case of a candidate who armed herself with nitric acid
and threatened to pour it on other candidates who refused to let her copy from
their scripts. She successfully forced two or three other candidates (Jacob and
Lar, 2001). Some students buy question papers with money while some others
buy question papers with their bodies if they are females (Maduka, 1993). Radio
transmitters concealed in pens, personal stereos loaded with pre-recorded tapes
and programmable calculators packed with data have all been smuggled into
examination halls in Britain as reported by Fagbemi (2001).
The World Bank Group (2002) also reported that examination malpractice
may even include creation of ghost centres where candidates can sit for
examinations with the support of helpers and without supervision. Also,
deliberate award of certificates to candidates who did not even sit for
examinations has been reported. In the past, it used to involve only examination
officials, but in recent years, it included printers and candidates with high-level
skills in technology. Examination malpractices technically tend to weaken the
validity of any examination and the results become unreliable and worthless.
When it happens, it is difficult to assess candidates’ performance based on the
certificate they hold.
UNEB DECLARES WAR ON EXAM CHEATS
Written by Simon Musasizi
Sunday, 18 October 2009 16:22
Today, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) kicks off this year’s national examinations with the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) exams. MATHEW BUKENYA, UNEB’s Executive Secretary in an interview with SIMON MUSASIZI warns all head teachers, heads of examination centres, parents and candidates to steer clear of any form of malpractice.
How are you prepared for this year’s exams?
At this time of the year, we are preparing candidates for several exams, which start in October through November and December. We have Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), Primary Leaving Examination (PLE); then we shall have Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE), Uganda Junior Technical Certificate (UJTC), and Community Polytechnic Certificate of Education (CPCE).
We had a briefing of all the people [involved and] we had to do the briefing in the field. We have over 300 storage stations and all of them have people we call Area Supervisors. An Area Supervisor is a person who takes care of schools in that zone area. For instance, in Mukono, we have a storage station at the police, which is headed by an Area Supervisor who is a headmaster in that area appointed by UNEB.
The headmaster of Namilyango College is our Area Supervisor there. Under him, he has got several schools. I don’t know the number exactly but he may have over 20 schools. There are, however, some small zones where you may have only one school, like in West Nile. So, we did a briefing at each and every zone. We started on October 5th up to 12th. In Kampala here, Kyambogo is a storage station. The schools were briefed at Nabisunsa [Girls School] and they were over 36 schools.
How many students do you expect to sit this year’s exams?
For UCE, we have 217,576 candidates registered to sit exams at 2,314 centres. Under that, we have some students from Southern Sudan. They are from different schools but they will appear in two centres.
For UACE, we expect 98,031 candidates at1, 165 centres. For PLE, 515,714 candidates are expected to sit exams at 10,645 centres. Under that 1,525 students are from Southern Sudan. For UJTC, we registered 7,684 candidates in 107 schools.
How are you addressing exam malpractices this year?
Once the exams start, they follow our regulations. Those regulations are well stipulated. We normally send people to the field to see how exams go. We call them scouts. The chief scout is the one who holds the key to our storage where the exam boxes are kept. Some storage stations have containers.
Under the chief scouts are some other scouts, about five or six. When briefing these people, we go through our regulations to caution them on the terms under which they do exams so that exams are conducted under set regulations.
The responsibility over exams has been invested in head teachers. Under the head teacher is the invigilator. The head teacher has to be around [when exams are done] because he is the one who hands over the candidates to the invigilators so that they can be thoroughly searched to make sure they don’t smuggle anything into the examination room.
Can head teachers be trusted given previous reports of their involvement in examination malpractices?
These are the people in the schools: who else can we give the responsibility of manning schools?
Once we give you responsibility and you misuse it, reports will obviously come. Once we find out that the owner or leader of the school was involved in cheating exams, they will face the law. Of course the centre may be taken away from the school and if he is a teacher, his certificate can be canceled and he becomes deregistered as a teacher.
How do you ensure marking is done fairly and professionally?
Before they mark, they are trained. And when they come for marking, they are put in one place despite having different marking areas. We use the conveyor system where one person doesn’t handle a candidate’s script wholly by himself. So, he marks a question and passes on the script to somebody else so that different people handle the script and scripts from one school are marked by different people.
Quality education is what is on our minds. So, whatever we give out must be valid. That is why our certificates are recognized. There was a time I remember in the early 1990s when you could not use our certificates internationally. If somebody went [abroad] with a Ugandan certificate, they could not enter university straight away. They were subjected to doing some other exams. But of late we have brought our certificates to international standards. We are recognized all over the world. If you go with a Uganda certificate of education, you can enter any university in the world.
Why are you now internationally accepted?
Because our certificates are now reliable and valid. Whatever we have done here has gained credibility. People have trust in the body handling the examinations. The assessment here is quite good and we are members of those international bodies. We are a member of the Association for Education Assessment in Africa and the International Association of Education Association. We meet and discuss and present papers. That is how we are known and recognized.
How are you addressing the delicate issue of poor or delayed remuneration of exam markers?
We pay depending on the amount of money we have on the budget. We are working out what we call a unit cost per exam, which determines the examination fee for the candidate. We include that element of what we shall give to the examiners. It may sound low but at least there is an increment every year.
It may be little; about 5% or 10% but we try to revise it so that we can pay them something that can help them. Some of them take home even a million shillings from one session of marking in three weeks.
At ‘O’ level, they earn a minimum of Shs400,000. This depends on the number of scripts they mark. Not all the subjects have many scripts. It depends on the entry, for instance, we have five compulsory subjects so those who mark the compulsory subjects are the people who will earn high. Some subjects are done by very few candidates, so you cannot mark more than what is there. Of course there is a tax on that money but UNEB absorbs that tax and whatever they take home is net.
You seem to have served long at UNEB, what is the secret?
It is not very long. It is about ten years. Of course previously I was acting as Executive Secretary for three years before I was confirmed. I have been fully in charge of this office for nearly seven years.
What are some of the challenges you meet?
In a period like now, a lot of things happen: I spend sleepless nights, like last night I never slept. There many challenges. You know with exams in Uganda and maybe the world over, everybody is concerned. Even you newsmen, when you get anything about UNEB, you throw it out in capital letters.
Parents, students, teachers, politicians, all those are looking at what we do. But we try to do our best. I always tell my people that we are servants; we serve others, particularly our main employer who is the candidate. Once you don’t serve that candidate well, everything will go wrong. So, we try and sacrifice a lot. We sacrifice for the children because at this time of the year we don’t even sleep. There is a lot of work.
Given opportunity, what would you change about UNEB and the examination regime in Uganda?
Well, I can’t say I have powers to change anything because I have a full board. Maybe I don’t have much to change; maybe if government can come in more to support UNEB particularly on funding because there are so many activities we would want to do but because we don’t have enough funding, we can’t do them.
In other countries, for example Kenya, they would give them helicopters to distribute exams papers, so that headache is minimal and that would reduce the leakages. There are floods coming where I have to depend on helicopters if at all I have but of course I thank UNICEF because they always come to our rescue. We network with them. I also thank government because there is at least a Police helicopter which can now move. But there was a year it couldn’t move.
I had to resort to His Excellency to allow us to use the gunship. That is what we used to distribute exams in Bundibugyo but I had to approach His Excellency the President himself to use it because that is under him. I thank him so much because whenever there is a problem, he comes to our rescue.
I would like to see UNEB become more and more supported even by the public so that instead of criticizing us let them come to us and tell us where we are going wrong so we can improve.
Who is a private candidate?
We have two categories of candidates: the school candidates and then private candidates. School candidates are in the schools which have examination centres. Then we have others who are either studying in schools without examination centres or they are teaching themselves and come and register themselves. Some of them register in centres which are not schools, but halls which are used as examination centres. So, those are called private candidates.
How are exam fee determined?
The unit cost right from the time of setting the paper, printing it, marking and conduct of exams. We calculate how much money is spent, how much we shall require and we arrive at the registration fees.
Tell us about equating qualifications?
Those are people who need equating. They sat for exams in other countries and maybe they want to join our institutions but they have to get the equivalence of their papers in terms of Uganda’s standards. That is what we call equating. So, they bring their certificates, we have an officer who looks at them because he should know what the curriculum covered and then he equates it to our standards.
What challenges do you meet in equating qualifications?
There are many challenges because some people come with forged papers. They say “I have got a certificate of education,” let us say from Rwanda, yet it is not a genuine one, it is forged or at times it is a school assessment. You cannot equate a school assessment to UNEB. You can only equate a national certificate.
Forgeries are many. And Makerere University would want someone with a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education or its equivalence. But there are countries where there is no ‘A’ level but they do some other exams which are equivalent. So when they bring them here, we want to bring them near to our certificate so that we say this is near our ‘A’ level.
Some come very late. They come towards the very end when the documents are wanted. So they crowd the place. Let us say a student came to secondary school but he doesn’t come for equating until he is about to sit for Senior Four.
UNEB PROMISES FRAUD FREE EXAMINATIONS
By Chris Kiwawulo
THIS year, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has put up stringent measures to curb examination leakages and other malpractices.
The body now vows to pull off a fraud-free examination, better than has been seen in recent history.
According to Matthew Bukenya, UNEB’s Executive Secretary, these measures are already working very well because he has not received cases of malpractices since O’ level exams began on October 16.
The total number of candidates sitting Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) as well as Ordinary and Advanced Level exams this year are 831,927. Of these, 516,890 are sitting PLE, 217,358 O’ Level and 97,679, A’ Level.
PLE started with briefing yesterday and the first exam is on Monday November 2. The S.4 national examinations began on October 16 and Senior Six exams will commence on November 6.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Vision, Bukenya assured Ugandans of a different story from this year onwards.
“I personally sleep after midnight everyday during this period because I have to monitor a lot of things right from printing to transportation of the papers.
“During the day, I go to the field to monitor the administration of the exams. This year, we took on a theme: ‘demonstrating care for quality assessment,’ as a way of improving our operations,” Bukenya said.
This year’s examination season has been declared a zero-tolerance one. Previously, UNEB exams were marred by incompetent organisation, leakage of papers, impersonation and conflict, as centres were cancelled.
Last year in Bugiri district, schools got partially blank question papers. Kawo Kawere Nayi, the Bugiri inspector of schools, was quoted as saying 20 - 25% of the schools in the district were affected.
In other areas, packing errors caused shortage of question papers where some centres would receive less or more question papers and the balance had to be borrowed from neighbouring centres.
Delivery time was also a problem as some exams would be halfway being done in some schools, while they were being delivered to others. District inspectors of schools also complained that UNEB would make sudden changes, including creating new centres, even as exams were approaching.
Bukenya says they had to sit down as a board and come up with a solution.
“We organised a one-day closed retreat for all UNEB employees right from the sweeper, to discuss how we can fight examination malpractices. We came up with a way forward, which the board approved,” he said.
However, not everything is going smoothly. There are already a few reports of late deliveries of S.4 exams in the West Nile region.
Arua district experienced a downpour, which slightly delayed delivery.
Some teachers are also complaining that the 30 minutes given to transport exams from the Police stations to examination centres is not enough. Some of their schools are far and require more time.
But according to UNEB spokesperson Eva Konde, the situation is better than last year when some examination centres in western Uganda received examination papers two hours after other schools had started.
Bukenya vowed that no malpractice will be traced back to UNEB as an institution. If any happens, it will be blamed fully on the respective head teachers. “We shall summon them, the invigilators and the teacher in-charge of the affected subject to the board and if they fail to explain, disciplinary action will be taken against them. They may also be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
The new UNEB
UNEB had at one time become synonymous with massive leakages.
Papers were being sold before the examinations. cases of fraud included impersonation, school assistance and bribery.
In 2006, results of 2,000 students were cancelled. Some teachers and officials were arrested. People who had been found trading in exams were arrested.
“It was a case of professional ethics,” Konde said. “Some schools and officials actively exploited loopholes in the system to cheat. Schools wanted prestige and popularity from good performance, while officials sought money. Schools caught would have their centres de-registered.”
Bukenya says they are now involving every stakeholder. “We briefed field officers, invigilators, scouts, head teachers, the media and members of the public, especially parents. Everybody is vigilant now and knows where to report in case of malpractices.”
There is still a problem of poor coverage. For instance, Kalangala district has a total of 84 islands but a few examination centres. Kalangala’s chief administrative officer Hope Nakyanzi said candidates have to be ferried from some islands to sit exams at centres on other islands.
There is also a problem of few distributors. Schools raised a problem of UNEB using one person to distribute papers to about 10 or 20 schools. In Kampala, if there is traffic jam, it causes delays.
But Bukenya says: “We are improving year after year. We are reducing examination malpractices every year. If you compare the malpractices at the time we started administering exams in 1996 and today, there is a very big improvement.”
Bukenya attributes the improvement to the coming in of other stakeholders. The Police started participating directly in exam administration and invigilation in 2007.
“The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, gave me a team of senior officers to work with,” Bukenya says. “Some are from the legal department and others from crime intelligence. We meet every Friday to assess progress. District Police commanders make daily reports about exams that they submit to this team based in Kampala.”
Uniformed and non-uniformed Police officers monitor the transportation of the exams in different parts of the country.
Apart from the Police, UNEB is also assisted by the Internal Security Organisation and army intelligence officers.
This is in addition to 650 scouts deployed countrywide to check leakages right from Police stations, during transportation, up to the examination room.
Cheats will not be handled with kid gloves, Bukenya warns. Those caught will be prosecuted and severely punished. Offenders will be publicly exposed, he states.
Candidates contribute about 70% of the total examination cost and the Government pays the remaining 30% in form of a subsidy.
Currently, PLE candidates pay sh12,000 each, O’ level students pay sh63,000 and A’ level students pay sh66,500. The 516,890 P.7 candidates who registered this year paid sh6.2b, the 217,358 S.4 students paid sh13.6b, while the 97,679 S.6 students paid sh6.4b.
“In total, over sh26b was raised this year. There are also candidates sitting for the BTVET certificate and diploma exams who pay between sh9,000 and sh75,000 depending on the course,” he said.
According to Bukenya, the money from examination fees is used to select, set, process, print exams and answer sheets, and to distribute, administer and mark exams.
The same amount also has a portion for printing candidates’ certificates.
The unit cost of printing each paper depends on the number of candidates who register for a particular year.
“There are still some people who think cheating in the exams is the only way out,” Bukenya says. “They will always be planning new tricks and our challenge is to plan ahead of them.”
UNEB also complains of inadequate funding. Right now, they cannot emblazon candidates’ photos on their certificates and they are printing certificates from abroad.
“The machine that would print candidates’ certificates with their pictures costs $800,000 (over sh1.5b), which we do not have,” Bukenya says.
“Early this year, we managed to procure a machine (an embosser) that prints braile question papers for blind candidates at $600,000 (over sh1b).
“Without money, we can’t hire more manpower to fight examination malpractices. This year for instance, we deployed 650 scouts. They could have been more if we had resources.”
THE FOUR STAGES OF GETTING EXAMS FROM SETTING TO MARKING
This involves several examiners from different schools. Questions are set every year and kept in an examination bank. The examiners do not know which question will be chosen because UNEB chooses from a bank that is 10 years old. “We print one question paper per subject every year,” Bukenya says. “In case there is a syllabus change, we change those questions affected and it is usually a slight change.”
Questions are not printed until a month to examination time - that is between October and November.
UNEB handles six different examinations namely PLE, O’Level, A’ Level, Junior technical, Crafts and Community Polytechnic examinations. UNEB opened its own printers at its Kyambogo home in 2007, where workers are confined for the entire period of the exams. The printers are under tight security.
Question papers are delivered to the different police stations in the country where they remain in custody till the day of exam. They are kept in containers or strong rooms and one person keeps the key. The rooms are supposed to be opened in the presence of school heads, supervisors and district education officers. Question papers leave Police custody 30 minutes before the exams begin. Previously, all batches of a given day were released to schools in the morning, UNEB spokesperson Eva Konde said, and some schools would open the exam envelopes before the set time.
Examiners are invited for the residential exercise and they are not allowed to leave the designated centres, nor interact with anyone on the outside. Whoever has to leave is not allowed to return. They are also barred from using mobile phones as they mark exams. UNEB has introduced the conveyor belt system of marking, where each answer sheet goes through the hands of different people, with each marking one or a few questions and passing it on to another. This way, no one can patronise or penalise a candidate or school because all they do is mark one number out of, say, eight. It prevents allegations of under-marking or awarding undue marks.
UNEB TOUGHENS EXAM REGULATIONS
19 October 2009
Kampala — SENIOR Four examinations kicked off yesterday with tougher conditions set for invigilators and teachers to avoid malpractices. Over 200,000 students are sitting for the examinations.
The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) ordered that question papers leave Police custody 30 minutes before the examinations begin.
Previously, all batches of exams of a given day were given to the school in the morning.
UNEB spokesperson Eva Konde said: "This is being done to reduce cases of malpractices. Some schools would open the examinations envelopes before the set time. We have now altered the system to close these loopholes."
The national examinations body is also working with the Police and other security organs to ensure that the examination goes on uninterrupted, she said.
Yesterday, several uniformed and non-uniformed officers were seen monitoring the transportation of the exams in different parts of the country.
The exams started with minor reports of late deliveries in the West Nile.
Arua district experienced a heavy downpour, which slightly delayed the delivery.
The situation was better than last year when some examination centres in western Uganda received examination papers two hours after other schools had started.
A considerable number of Sudanese students are also sitting the exams.
In Anyfio Role Model SS in West Nile, of the 99 candidates, 77 are Sudanese.
In the central region, exams kicked off well.
Masaka district Police commander Moses Mwanga said the first two examinations "had perfectly been handled."
Some teachers in Mityana district complained that 30 minutes to transport exams from the Police to examination centers was too little.
Katakala Secondary School's Michael Kibuule said the time was too little for them to get organised.
Joseph Kawuki of MUMSA High School also appealed to UNEB to revise the time, saying about 45 minutes was needed to transport the exams.
In the west, 82 candidates of Uphill College in Bushenyi district are to trek 10km to a community examination hall.
The school was involved in examination malpractices in 2007 and its centre was cancelled by UNEB.
It was the first school in the district to get its centre withdrawn over examination malpractices.
There were reports that two schools in Soroti district had stopped fees defaulters from sitting the exams.
The district education officer, Michael Oumo, could not confirm the reports.
WHY STUDENTS CHEAT IN EXAMS – Source: http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6308%3Awhy-students-cheat-in-examinations&catid=85%3Aeducation&Itemid=106
Written by TIMOTHY KALUNDU
Sunday, 06 December 2009 16:37
Cheating is a temptation for those looking for easy marks. Member of Parliament for Buyaga County, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, recently admitted having been in possession of a chit during one of his second semester Bachelor of Laws examinations at the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) in May 2009.
The University Executive Board sitting on November 5 recommended his expulsion. Kadhil Katende, a first year student of Social Work and Social Administration, was also expelled for exam malpractice.
When contacted on this issue, Tinkasiimire blamed political rivalry. He claims his woes were engineered by a known enemy in his class who is jealous of his political achievements.
Tinkasiimire told The Observer that the chit fell out of his pocket during a Tort examination and yet the chit had information regarding a Land examination that he had already sat for.
Whatever the truth might be, cheating in exams at all levels of education in Uganda is a problem that haunts educationists and administrators.
A professor at Makerere who sought anonymity told The Observer that the liberalisation of education and creation of several study programmes has bolstered enrolment figures and created a paucity of facilities to ensure quality instruction and guidance. The professor claimed there are many situations that encourage and facilitate exam cheating in most Ugandan universities.
Many adult learners encounter challenges finding time to attend lectures in order to match full time students. Their busy schedules at work, family and public responsibilities render them easy culprits to cheating schemes.
Academic dishonesty in colleges and universities is attributed to factors such as competition and pressures for good grades, commercialisation of the education sector, lack of self confidence and instructional situations that make it hard for some students to excel independently, forcing them to turn to unscrupulous methods to gain academic recognition.
The official website of Manchester University in the United Kingdom says that in the year 2008 alone, 20 cases of cheating were dealt with by the Students Discipline Committee and some students ended up being suspended, expelled or awarded ordinary degrees.
A record of the offence and the penalty are recorded on the student’s personal file and they are bound to seriously affect the nature of any reference issued to potential employers or other educational institutions, says the website.
Maureen, a second year Information Technology student at Makerere University, told The Observer that they used to cheat during their first year examinations by peeping at each other’s answer sheets in the examination room. She said cheating is inevitable because the thought of repeating an exam, a retake, is unnerving, and so the only way out is to cheat.
The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) official statement on the 2008 A-level results says that 73 candidates had their results nullified for receiving external assistance, smuggling of unauthorised material and notes into the examination room, and impersonation.
It says this was a drop from the 106 results nullified in 2007 and 128 in 2006. Official figures for 2008 O-level exams showed a decline in the nullification of results from 1,528 in 2007 to 1,275.
Ms. Eve Konde, the Public Relations Officer of UNEB, explained that candidates who are caught cheating and have their results nullified, are given a chance to re-sit the examinations in the following year.
“Whereas different universities have different methods of penalising students who are guilty of cheating, the regulatory authority, National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), needs to come up with a uniform penalty,” said a source at Makerere University.
CHEATING TEACHERS TO BE PROSECUTED – Source: http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9594&Itemid=106
Written by LYDIA AINOMUGISHA
Sunday, 08 August 2010 18:44
In the past years, only students caught cheating exams would be punished, leaving free the teachers who helped them. From last week, the teachers will also be punished, and not just administratively but criminally. The national examination body, UNEB and the ministry of Education and Sports have teamed up, laying down criminal sanctions against anyone caught cheating exams, starting with the forthcoming exams.
As the final-year examinations draw closer, preparations are being made to reduce on examination malpractices.
At a press conference on August 5, the Inspector General of Government Raphael Baku noted that a zero tolerance to examination malpractice policy has been introduced. The stringent penalties include de-registration of teachers who get involved in examination malpractices. Head teachers, invigilators and teachers whose students are found to have cheated or assisted in an exam, will be held accountable on evidence of cancelled results.
Other measures include having the exam setters and moderators changed after five years to allow for involvement of many teachers.
In addition, CCTV monitoring cameras in and around the examinations printing area, strict entry to the printery, installation of metal detectors at its entrances as well as concealment of the identity of schools and names of the candidates from examiners have been put in place.
Studies from other countries show that candidates’ and centre numbers are given randomly to avoid bias from the markers as they may not know who they are marking. UNEB hopes to emulate them.
Regular regional workshops to train setters, examiners and supervisors and increase the pool of well trained ones have been okayed.
The UNEB chairman, Prof Lutalo Bbosa, noted that examination malpractices basically originate from circumstances around us like lack of integrity and professional ethics, the rural-urban gap in education, the education system, increase of private schools or commercialization of education and personal popularity of head teachers and schools
Since the Ugandan education system puts a lot of emphasis on certification or paper qualifications as the main determinant of admission to higher levels, the temptation to get involved in examination malpractices is high. Baku said although ethics and integrity are the solutions to all examination malpractices, the corrosion of our society’s moral fibre and the breakdown of ethical standards coupled with a culture of corruption, have led to examination malpractices. Due to inadequate preparation of candidates in rural schools, say through few teachers, sometimes not qualified and others absent, some have reasoned that candidates in urban areas pass through cheating and have resorted to cheating.
Some schools, being commercial entities, divide their candidates into the academically weak and bright. The bright ones are registered in their school of admission and the weak in other schools with a motive of releasing only excellent results when they are out. Much as this attracts more students and hence money for such a school, it creates far reaching psychological effects on the eliminated students who end up cheating so as to challenge those who stayed behind. Other head teachers cheat to seek popularity as the best performers.
The UNEB executive secretary, Matthew Bukenya, said external assistance, collusion or substitution, smuggling and impersonation have in the past been the major forms of malpractices.
UGANDA MINISTER WARNS HEAD TEACHERS AGAINST EXAM MALPRACTICE
13 October 2010
Kampala — EDUCATION minister Namirembe Bitamazire has warned head teachers against cheating for their students in the coming national examinations.
"I don't want to cancel students' results, but I will allow The Uganda Certificate of Education (UNEB) to do so because many head teachers have failed to learn," Bitamazire said."
She was addressing a workshop of inspectors of schools at Sports View Hotel in Kireka in Kampala on Tuesday.
The meeting was organised by UNEB to sensitise the inspectors ahead of the examinations.
The O'level examinations begin on Monday next week and end on November 23.
The Primary Leaving Examinations will run from November 2 to November 3 followed by the A'level examinations to start on November 15 and end on December 3.
National exams have in the past been marred by malpractices. In 2008, A'level results of 73 candidates were cancelled.
Last year, 15 schools had their Senior Four examination results cancelled over cheating. A total of 1,240 candidates were affected as a result.
Bitamazire attributed the problem to laziness, saying many teachers fail to complete the curriculum and resort to cheating.
She asked the inspectors to take keen interest in the number of candidates who fail to turn up for exams even after registering.
Bitamazire explained that inspectors were crucial for the achievement of quality education in the country.
On hearing that some malpractices were instigated by politicians who want their children to pass highly, she warned that schools should avoid bowing to political pressure. However, the inspectors complained of little pay and lack of transport.