By Fred Kiva
Ministry of Education and Sports has banned schools from using external examinations to assess learners.
In a circular signed by Ismael Mulindwa, the Assistant Commissioner In charge Private Schools on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, head teachers, and teachers have been advised to cease buying of exams from commercial examination bureaus. The government argues that the practice doesn’t give teachers the freedom to assess the learners.
“Many schools have taken the advantage of examination bureaus to exploit parents through charging uncalled for examination fees through daily tests, daily homework in all subjects, the holiday test(s), and the beginning of term tests, weekly tests, Mid-term tests and end of term tests. This practice gives the teachers no freedom to assess the learner’s capacity effectively, following the syllabus/curriculum,” Mulindwa said in a circular dated March 13
The Ministry also noted that “Many schools and teachers have been in the habit of buying examinations from commercial examination bureaus, which habit has led to a loss of the professional conduct by assessing children with unreliable tests which do not follow the prescribed curriculum.”
“By copy of this circular, District /Municipal Education Officers, Inspectors of Schools, Coordinating Centre Tutors, and Headteachers are requested to ensure that no commercial examination bureau operates in their schools,” the Ministry directed in a circular addressed to Chief Administrative Officers, Town Clerks, and the Director KCCA.
This is yet another blow to private players in the education sector after State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo recently discouraged reliance on pamphlets by schools. During the release of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) results for 2018, the Minister noted that reliance on pamphlets was killing critical thinking among learners and instead encouraging cram work.
Just like commercial examination bureaus are privately owned, most pamphlets are published by private individuals who make a killing out of them by selling copies to schools and learners.