Why UNEB Postponed The Chemistry Exam

4898 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Information emerging shows that an internal error may have forced Uganda National Examinations Board—UNEB to postpone today’s examination paper. Late yesterday, UNEB Secretary Matthew Bukenya announced the postponement of the Chemistry exam to allow Muslims enjoy Eid-Al Adhua celebrations. It now turns out the announcement came after several schools complained of a mismatch between the earlier instructions sent and the actual specimen delivered for the Chemistry paper.

Information emerging shows that an internal error may have forced Uganda National Examinations Board—UNEB to postpone today’s examination paper.
 
Late yesterday, UNEB Secretary Matthew Bukenya announced the postponement of the Chemistry Paper 3 exam to allow Muslims enjoy Eid-Al Adhua celebrations. The communication left many people puzzled as it came just less than an hour after the High Court in Kampala ruled in favour of UNEB in a petition filed by two Muslim activists.  Sadiki Kakaire and Suleiman Isotah Magumba had sought for an interim court injunction stopping UNEB from conducting today’s exams; a move they said was contrary to the Constitution and the Public Holidays Act.
 
While declining to issue the temporary injunction, Deputy Registrar of the High Court Tadeo Asiimwe, said the orders sought would cause confusion to the entire country and that the interest of other students who do not confess Islam should be considered. However, within an hour of the ruling, as schools across the country prepared their laboratory equipment for the exam, Bukenya announced the postponement.
 
UNEB Principal Public Relations Officer, Hamis Kaheru, issued a brief saying the Board had postponed the papers until further notice. In the brief, he never mentioned any specific date, but said a new date will be communicated later. When URN asked him why the Board decided to postpone the examinations when the court had actually ruled in their favour, Kaheru said UNEB was not aware of the court ruling.
 
It now turns out the announcement came after complaints of a mismatch between the earlier instructions sent to schools and the actual specimen delivered. URN now understands that all the schools across the country received different specimen, which did not match the earlier instruction sheets UNEB had sent to schools for preparations.
 
Both the head teachers and examination masters in the schools visited agreed that when UNEB earlier on sent a list of specimen to be prepared, they followed the instructions, but when the final confidential  papers arrived, they did not match the earlier papers sent.
 
Peter Sibukule, the Deputy Head Teacher in charge of academics at Kololo Secondary School, says when his team of Chemistry teachers opened the papers to confirm that the list of specimen to be used corresponded with the earlier one sent, they discovered variations. He says the team immediately notified his office who again called the area UNEB supervisor to report the matter. He says when UNEB realized the anomaly, they postponed the examinations.
 
Sibukule says UNEB has never postponed any examinations even when they fall during public holidays. He suspects that the body is using the public holiday as an excuse to address an internal problem.
//Cue in: “I could call…
Cue out: …of the board.”//
 
Evelyn Etoch, the head teacher of Uphill College Mbuya, agrees with her counterpart at Kololo SS. Etoch says it sounds strange for UNEB to claim they postponed the examinations because of the Eid celebrations when the court had already backed them to continue with the examinations. She says the fact that they received the wrong set of specimen and papers is the reason why the papers must have been postponed.
 
//Cue in: “It is because…
Cue out: …mistake they made.”//
 
Simon Peter Okello, the Director of Studies and a Chemistry teacher in the same school, says it would have been impossible for UNEB to correct the mistake they made within a short period. He says when he and his team opened the papers to confirm that right materials were sent, they discovered the anomalies. He says after calling several other schools, they realized all the schools had the same problems.
 
//Cue in: “I think the…
Cue out: …that we got.”//
 
However, when contacted, Mathew Bukenya, the UNEB secretary denied the claims. Bukenya also wondered why the schools opened the papers when they were told that there would be no papers today. He says the possibility is that the officials from different schools could have opened wrong papers. He says the examination body is investigating the schools and if it is found out that they leaked the papers, the whole examination will be nullified and the schools punished.
 
//Cue in: “Today there is…
Cue out: …left out something.”//
 
He says this is how many times schools have been cheating examinations.
 
UNEB normally sends a prior list of materials to be used in practical papers for purposes of earlier arrangements and preparation of laboratory rooms and equipment. The final materials arrive on the eve of the examinations.