The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has ramped up efforts to ensure students get National Identification Numbers (NINs) as Uganda National Examinations (UNEB) starts implementation of the new curriculum.
In a campaign that will run up to the end of the holidays, NIRA has set up registration points at its district offices and city Boma Grounds across the country to expedite registration. Kololo Independence Grounds is open to Kampala residents.
In the new curriculum, which was rolled out in lower secondary schools in 2020, UNEB collects Continuous Assessment (CA) scores and NINs are essential for tracking this information. Collection of CA, or school-based assessment, scores will begin with students joining senior three in 2023.
"Relatedly, secondary schools which will not have CA will not be allowed by UNEB to register their learners for the end of cycle (UCE) examinations," Minister of Education and Sports, NIRA and UNEB said in a January 17 statement.
NIRA started registration of students for NINs in 2017 and this holiday exercise is meant to accelerate the process. There are also plans to take the activity to schools when they reopen.
Faridah Nassozi, a client relations officer at NIRA, told this reporter that some of the students that are already registered never requested their NINs yet they are already assigned. "Most of them were assigned NINs, but some don't know that they have them," Nassozi said during the interview at NIRA offices in Kololo, Kampala on Saturday.
That being said, when a student comes for registration, officials begin by checking whether they are not yet registered. "We are not just registering, we are also issuing NINs for those we've already registered... those who have since made 16, we update their biometrics and make for them National IDs," she said.
For students that are below 18, it is mandatory to come with a parent to the registration centre. The original copy of the parent's National ID is needed. For kids without parents, a blood relative's ID is allowed. For learners above 18, you need an LCI letter endorsed by a DISO (District Internal Security Officer).
Nassozi said it is important for parents to come with their children because some of them are not familiar with some of the required details like place of origin (ancestral home), clan name and tribe. Children are also required to provide information about current place of residence and date of birth.
Since some of the students being registered have sat UNEB exams before, the information used during registration with UNEB shoud match that given to NIRA during registration.
Checking for NIN
During registration, a child is asked to provide their parents' phone number where an SMS is sent once the NIN is ready. For security reasons, NIRA doesn't directly send the NIN in that message, so the parent or the child can call call the NIRA toll free number, 0800211700, to request for the NIN.
Alternatively, the learner can visit the NIRA website and use the 'Print Child NIN Slip' provision. Using the application ID, which is given during registration, a learner is able to access their NIN and print out the slip. The application ID is a temporary identifier issued before getting a NIN. It's a 13-digit number.
A child's name and date of birth can also be used to get the NIN, according to Nassozi. She encouraged parents to take all their children for NIN registration despite age because NIN is important in acquiring different government documents, including a birth certificate.
Even a one-day-old baby can be registered, according to Nassozi. A parent just needs to provide the biodata. Biometrics are only for children nine months and above. When a child is nine months and above, the parent has to come with it. Only a person 16 and bove, can get an ID card.
NIRA has 117 offices across the country and they all offer registration offices. For the holiday campaign, Masaka Liberation Grounds, Jinja Public Primary School and the Boma Grounds in Mbarara, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Hoima, and Fort Portal cities will be used.