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UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon

UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon: UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon:

All indications are that a dead year will not be declared, schools will reopen soon. And national exams usually set by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) in November and December, will likely go ahead, in March 2021.

According to a letter recently written by the Minister of Education Janet Kataha Museveni to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija seeking the release of capitation grants to schools. In the letter the focus is on candidate classes to resume, for what would be a second term, on September 20,2020.

A source reveals that education authorities have therefore revised the Academic Year schedule to allow students to report for the second term of school this month. And it is as part of the phased reopening of educational institutions across the country.

UNEB however insist they will announce their readiness to conduct the national examinations. As they are waiting an official communication from the Ministry of Education and Sports, which has not yet been sent.

“The board is proceeding with its preparations to conduct the national examinations at an appropriate time. And in accordance with a revised school calendar which will be published by the Ministry of Education and Sports when schools re-open,” says Odongo.

UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon

The Academic Year was prematurely cut short on March 18, 2020, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, over 15 million learners who are were in schools at different education levels have been at home since the lockdown.

Around May, the government proposed to open up for candidate classes, however, the plan had not materialized to date with some voices asking the government to declare 2020 a dead year for education.

Now, sources at the Education Ministry have intimated that the academic year clock will be rewound to the second term.

Around this time of the year, in the normal academic year schedule, students would be reporting for the third term with candidates preparing for examinations which would begin around October. But, there has been a question of how learners would compensate for the second term given the fact that the government had failed to put up a feasible continuous learning program during the lockdown.

Looking at the timeline it was nearly impossible for students to completely cover the syllabus and write their exams this year. It has been agreed upon that as students go back, the clock should be rewound to the second term. Basing on a letter by Minister Janet Museveni to Finance Minister Kasaija seeking the release of capitation grants to schools.

“It will be done in phases. Two or three weeks after candidates have reported, the ministry will assess the situation and if everything is fine, a second lot will be added, another one will also follow up. In the end, all students will be at school,” the source adds.

Second terms ends December
UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon
Education Minister Janet and UNEB Team

Tentatively, the ministry plans that the second term will end around mid-December. And in late January or early February, the third term will kick-off. Candidates are then expected to write their final exams around March or April. Going forward, the academic year will be slowly harmonized to fit into the calendar year.

“When schools reopen, the co-curricular activities will temporarily be under suspension. So that teachers concentrate on reintegrating learners into the school system, carry out remedial work! and ensure that the syllabus is covered. There will be no examinations at the end of the second term,” the source say.

Usually, the registration for National Examinations at primary, O’ and A’levels starts in April ending in May with an extra month provided for latecomers. After registration, there are fours to five months before learners eventually write their examinations. Registration normally coincides with candidates’ application for placements in schools and institutions where they wish to be getting admission for the next level of education. However, their entire process is now in an ice condition.

UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon

Asked about how they are intending to handle the examination process within the available situation. Dan Odongo the UNEB Executive secretary says that they are just waiting for an official communication on the reopening so that they lay out their plan.

If nothing changes, the reopening will soon be declared by the president. Thereafter the ministry will officially adopt a strategy that will enable them to effectively implement the specific SOPs for Reopening.

In one of the working documents recently shared, the Ministry of Education suggested enforcing reviews in the daily school routines to provide for shorter and core curriculum school days with classes scheduled between 8 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m.

UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon

However, a school with huge candidate classes that cannot be accommodated in the available space. There are options of teaching either in shifts or an alternate day attendance schedule. Furthermore, all schools that reopen for candidates-only, according to the document, would operate as day or boarding but not both.

The ministry had also developed Standard Operating Procedures which include; availability of WASH facilities, the two meter distance between learners, reducing the number of learners to at least 10 to 15 students in a standard classroom for primary and secondary. More so and tertiary institutions in order to ensure good ventilation.

Other SOPs include; regular disinfection, restricted community access, supervising break periods, scattered release of students for breaks, lunch, and departures to limit interaction. But, sources also indicate that there are several reviews regarding the SOPs. These reviews will also be communicated after the awaited pronouncement.

Several headteachers say that the currently stipulated SOPs may be difficult to implement. Richard Abura, headteacher Nakasero primary school notes that with the resources at their disposal! it will be difficult to take on the entire school community.

Available documents indicate that besides the normal school budget, the ministry requires sh1.67 billion to facilitate the reopening for candidates. And 97.6 billion Shillings in a scenario that requires all students to report to their respective schools. They say funds are to help implement the Standard Operating Procedures in full to prepare schools for reopening.

UNEB exams set for March 2021 as schools reopen soon

Even amid the COVID-19 Resurgence, the governments around the world have started to slowly reopen schools. Following health experts saying it’s vital for children to resume education. In most countries like the UK, there are operating on minimal procedures like physical distancing, wearing face masks, and sanitizing. However, some teachers’ unions have voiced concerns about the safety of staff and children as infection rates continue to rise.

Different surveys indicate that school closures have had negative effects on education and well being of many children and teenagers. While parents are struggling to ensure that their children get some form of learning during the lockdown.

Also Read: 31 SOPs schools must follow after reopening on September 20

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