The State Minister for Higher Education, Mr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, issued a stern warning to school administrators and proprietors who attempt to prevent students with unpaid fees from taking their final examinations.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of Prof. Celestino Obua as the newly-appointed chairperson of the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) in Kyambogo, Mr. Muyingo emphasized that all registered candidates must be allowed to sit for their exams, regardless of fee arrears.
“Locking students out of exams can lead to severe consequences, including imprisonment for many,” Mr. Muyingo cautioned.
He urged head teachers, school management committee chairpersons, and school owners to ensure that no student is excluded from the examination room due to unpaid fees.
This warning comes in response to recent incidents where Senior Four candidates were prevented from taking their exams due to unpaid fees, prompting government intervention.
Makindye Chief Magistrates Court even ordered the detention of the director of Kisugu High School, Mr. Celestine Kasolo, for confining Senior Four candidates under these circumstances.
Mr. Muyingo stressed that Uneb would collaborate with school owners to ensure that students who owe fees can access their results only after clearing their debts.
He also welcomed the appointment of Prof. Celestino Obua as the new chairperson of Uneb and expressed confidence in his ability to uphold the board’s high standards.
Mr. Muyingo highlighted the importance of Uneb’s role in assessing learners’ knowledge and competencies and urged the board to adapt its assessment methods to the new competence-based lower secondary school curriculum.
Regarding Senior Four failures, Mr. Muyingo assured that the government is working on a plan to support these students. He acknowledged that discussions are ongoing to determine the best approach.
Prof. Celestino Obua, in his address, pledged to fulfill his responsibilities as the chairperson of Uneb diligently, emphasizing the need for consensus and collaboration among board members.
The outgoing chairperson of Uneb, Prof. Mary Okwakol, noted an increase in the number of special needs learners taking exams and emphasized the need for assistive devices and physical support.
She also highlighted the importance of securing reliable funding for the national assessment progress program.