Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I have failed to understand why students keep doing 4 principal subjects at HSC. The example below is a case in point. Two students got 15 points as below:
Case 1
HIS - B; ECO - D; ENT - D; CRE - D and GEP - 4

Case 2
HIS - B; ECO - D; ENT - O; CRE - B and GEP - 1
Given the administration/weighting procedure; 3 principal subjects are what really counts. In that case, the candidate of case 2 stands far better chances of getting a good course compared to case 1 yet they all have 15 points. The question, what logic in doing 4 principal subjects?
Children are made to do 4 principal subjects and no worthy time spent on career guidance and you just find them at a loss as they struggle to choose subjects and courses.
Can the Ministry of Education use its mandate to abolish 4 principal subjects such that the students concentrate on 3 subjects and where need be do a subject at subsidiary level, and hence have time to better internalize what they read as well as better guided career guidance which guidance can be put on DVD and schools are able to buy them for the benefit of students more so where the schools may not be able to get professionals to attend to the students over the career issues.


By Patience Ahimbisibwe

Posted Monday, May 30 2011 at 00:00


As the debate on the relevance and implications of keeping the fourth subject at “A” Level continues, an analysis of recent admissions to university by Education Guide indicates that the Public Universities Joint Admissions Board (PUJAB) still heavily relied on the fourth principle in weighting students for admission to the various courses.
Teachers have recently questioned how the fourth principle became an integral part of the examination system. Education experts say the extra subject is burden on students. According to Mr Alfred Namoah, Makerere University academic registrar, university cut off points can only be reduced after Ministry of Education has commissioned it.
However, neither universities nor schools seem to specify the origin of the fourth subject principle, which requires a student to score a maximum of 25 points contrary to the 19 points in three subjects in addition to general paper. “It is not us who created the 25 points. This is for the ministry and Uganda National Examinations Board to regulate. Ours is to ensure a student with the highest points is admitted as set by Uneb,” Mr Namoah said. But teachers blame universities for increasing university entry points contrary to the ministry’s requirement.
As a result, they reason that schools were forced to abandon three principle subjects for four exerting pressure on schools to hire more teachers in addition to increasing the load that students have to bear. “University cut-*off points are based on a total of 25 points to decide the merit system contrary to the requirement spelt out. This led schools to abandon students offering three principle subjects and general paper, which disadvantages them when it comes to joining university,” reads part of an annual report released on May 5 by National Association of Secondary Schools head teachers.
This means that a student who has a combination subject of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics (PCB/M) stands a better chance to join institutions of higher learning than one with three subjects.
For instance, Charles Okurut, a student, scored ABB1 (17 points) in PCB last year while his colleague Herbert Twiine had ABCC in PCB/M (20 points), leaving the latter with more chances for admission.

Skewed policy
Meanwhile, a total of 100 students have been admitted on Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery across the public universities with only 28 being female. On Bachelor of Pharmacy, Makerere and Mbarara have 25 students of which three are female. For Bachelor of Law, the female took the largest number of 75 compared to their counterparts who will enjoy only 15 slots. But according to sources on the PUJAB committee but who preferred anonymity to speak freely, most boys are left out on government scholarship not because they have not acquired the marks but because the girls have been added the 1.5 under the affirmative action. “The boys performed well and we don’t know what to do because their score is high. However because of 1.5 added to girls, they are forced out. I hope something will be done not to disadvantage others while trying to solve university female admission,” the source said.
Ms Catherine Kanabahita, Director Directorate of Gender mainstreaming earlier said they are working to ensure imbalances are eliminated but cautioned stakeholders. “We are working hard to see that in cases where girls’ admission has improved, it is revised. However, as you will realise, if 1.5 is removed from girls, they would have limited access to universities,” Ms Kanabahita explained.

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