UNEB, govt clarify drop in PLE candidates

Dan Odongo, Executive Director, UNEB. PHOTO/FILE

The Executive Director of Uganda’s National Examinations Board (Uneb), Mr. Dan Odongo, attributes the decline in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) candidates last year to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2022, there was a surge in candidature due to the backlog caused by Covid-19 lockdowns between 2020 and 2021. Mr. Odongo explains that many pupils, who were expected to repeat Primary Six, were registered for the examination, leading to an increase of 82,892 (11.1 percent) candidates over 2020. However, this backlog was not evident in 2023, resulting in a drop in numbers to expected levels.

According to Uneb, a total of 749,254 candidates from 15,859 schools registered for PLE in 2023 compared to 832,654 in 2022. Of these, 501,602 (66.9 percent) were Universal Primary Education (UPE) beneficiaries, and 247,652 (33.1 percent) were non-UPE candidates.

Education Minister Janet Museveni confirmed the decline in PLE registrations for 2023 during the release of the 2023 PLE results at Nakasero Statehouse. She stated that the decrease was expected as the impact of Covid-19 on the education system began to lessen, including distortions in enrollment in Pre-Primary Seven classes, especially P6.

Minister Museveni highlighted the primary initiative in the Covid-19 recovery process as the execution of an abridged curriculum to ensure coverage of missed topics during school closures.

Mr. Odongo noted that despite Covid-19 restrictions, Uneb observed improved PLE performance in 2020. Out of the 734,788 candidates who sat for examinations, 659,910 achieved first grade, 334,711 passed in second, 146,142 in third, 97,193 in fourth, while 74,875 failed.

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