It is no longer news that some teachers as well as officials in Government are party to abetting the cheating to pass examinations. We are aware, Government has a role in this in that children of big people have a destination to some schools, and those children are supposed to pass exams. There are some school proprietors and head teachers who know very well that if they promote their schools under the banner of ‘sure passing of children’, then they are sure of a big harvest as these schools become a darling of many parents who are ready to pay whatever it takes to have their children in schools where passing is a sure deal.
Some of us who read books when cheating in national exams was unknown are aware that for some children even if they read 18 hours a day, they are unable to pass exams. In some schools where passing is a sure deal, what surprises is how so many children pass in flying colours, only to fail to maintaining academic excellence at higher levels. It is against that background that some schools don’t admit the so-called children that excel ( from black listed school which cheat), given that the background behind their passing is the ‘mass cheating to pass exams.’ It is therefore no surprise that Schools like that of Law at Makerere insist that children admitted MUST pass the admission exams before they join.
Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) is a big player in the leakage of the national examinations. Even where examinations have not leaked, for some schools, the handling by UNEB at marking has in the past been different. What the Government of Uganda has to do is to make UNEB to get back to acceptable standards. One strategy would be to get an Executive Secretary who is not part of UNEB as staff as of now, with an objective of cleaning the image of the institution. This one should be able to start the cleaning exercise of UNEB based on confidential reports that may be submitted to authorities. The parties involved in cheating exams should get punishments which could be up to life imprisonment. It is sad that professionals can qualify for various roles when they don’t measure up. If this can be as far as the field of Medicine, where an incompetent person may lead to death of innocent people, there should be no compromise.
Some schools have really earned big from the cheating of exams. These schools have been able to build school infrastructure under the cover that they excel at teaching. They are able to give the teachers a living wage and other facilities which make their lives comfortable. It is also true that the Government sponsorship scheme at University has played a big role in promoting the cheating to pass exams. If you compare what a private student has to meet to that of a Government sponsored student, you can see how unjust the Government of Uganda is, more so, the main beneficiaries of the Government sponsorship are children from well to do families. If Government sponsorship is banned, there are chances that the monies would then be put in improvement of infrastructure and payment to teachers such that the tuition fee is made lower across the board, at the same time have reduced cheating to excel in exams.
Cheating in National Examinations is a big shame for Uganda, surprisingly; some officials in the Ministry of Education seem least bothered about this! It is sad, It is possible that the level of cheating may have been lower as per the 2013 exams, but much more needs to be done to see that the cheating ceases to exist. It is true that some schools are at liberty to invite examiners and at the end of it, examinations have leaked.