Hoima City | THE BLACK EXAMINER | A government-Aided school located in Hoima City, boasting a total enrollment of 180 students, faces a situation where only one pupil is set to participate in the upcoming Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) next Wednesday and Thursday.
At the commencement of the academic year, there were four students in Primary Seven during the First Term. However, over the course of the year, three of them departed from the school, leaving Kenneth Wembabazi as the sole remaining candidate.
The school’s Head teacher, Mr. Joseph Bahemuka, expressed his concerns regarding the unanticipated departures. He stated, “Upon assuming my position at the beginning of this year, I discovered that Budaka Primary School had four students in Primary Seven, but three others left the school.”
Mr. Bahemuka underscored the critical significance of ensuring the registration of at least one candidate for PLE. He highlighted that the school holds a Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) center number, and the failure to register a candidate in a given year could jeopardize the retention of this center number. This loss would have adverse consequences for students in lower grades
The school is required to have a minimum of 15 candidates to maintain its UNEB centre number. If the school falls below this threshold, it loses its center number, and reinstating it is a complex process. To retain our center number, I took the initiative to approach neighboring schools, who kindly provided me with 44 of their candidates. I subsequently registered them under my school’s center number, with only one candidate from my school,” he explained.
He mentioned that Wembabazi has been studying independently or occasionally with Primary Six students. “Our candidate, Wembabazi, along with the 44 other candidates registered at our school, will be taking their PLE exams at the nearby Kalongo Primary School. This decision is because our school, despite having a UNEB center number, lacks a suitable main hall to accommodate candidates during exams.
This arrangement is typically overseen by the school inspector,” Mr. Bahemuka stated.
The school has a total of six teachers on the government payroll and one private teacher who is paid by parents. Mr. Bahemuka mentioned that the school needs two additional teachers because each teacher is responsible for teaching all subjects within their assigned class, leaving one class without a teacher
Wembabazi acknowledged that he has faced the challenge of studying alone but remains determined to succeed in the upcoming exams.
Teachers attribute the continuous decline in the number of students at the school to early marriages and intense competition from private schools in nearby communities that actively attract the brightest pupils when they reach the upper classes.
Ms. Asaba Kasagaki, a concerned parent, pointed out that some parents are marrying off their children as young as 14 to 17 years of age – precisely the years when students should be in school pursuing their education.
Local leaders mentioned that the school’s consistent poor performance over the last decade has led parents to explore alternative educational options for their children as they progress to the upper classes.
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