UNEB Chief Invigilator Arrested, 3 Headmasters Detained for Sharing Exams on WhatsApp

UNEB Spokesperson Jennifer Kalule. PHOTO/FILE

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has confirmed the arrest of the chief invigilator at African Pearl Secondary School in Makindye Division, along with three headmasters for their involvement in examination malpractice. UNEB spokesperson Jennifer Kalule stated that there is an ongoing investigation into another group of Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) candidates suspected of malpractice.

According to Kalule, the chief invigilator at African Pearl Secondary School was apprehended on suspicion of providing unauthorized assistance during the practical examination of Chemistry Paper 3. A handwritten piece of paper with possible answers was discovered in the examination room where the invigilator was overseeing the exam. The individual is currently in custody at Kabalagala police station, pending further investigations.

Under Section 26 of the UNEB Act of 2021, allowing unauthorized assistance to a candidate while serving as a supervisor, invigilator, scout, monitor, or special needs education support personnel is considered an offense. Those found guilty may face a fine of up to 20 million Shillings, a prison term of up to five years, or both. Registered teachers found to encourage malpractice may also face disciplinary action in accordance with teaching profession regulations, including potential disqualification.

Additionally, students from an undisclosed school in Kagadi were found in possession of answer sheets filled with practical paper responses, even though they had not completed the practical sessions. This issue involves teachers providing students with advanced knowledge of practical paper content and has been a persistent problem.

Two of the arrested headteachers, one from Paul Mukasa S.S. in Kalagi, Mukono district, and the other from Kanyabwanga Secondary School in Bushenyi district, were caught sharing and receiving what appeared to be examination papers electronically. The suspects will face legal charges for aiding and abetting malpractice.

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Social media misuse has led to an increase in the sharing of materials claiming to be UNEB examinations. Even before the official start of the exams, counterfeit papers were identified on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram, leading to the arrest of nine individuals, including headteachers.

UNEB’s Executive Director, Dan Odongo, warned against the fraudulent nature of many of the circulated papers. Possessing examination papers or materials, whether genuine or counterfeit, can now lead to legal consequences under the new UNEB Act, including a fine not exceeding 40 million Shillings, a prison term not exceeding five years, or both.

In Kwania District, the head teacher of Inomo SS was arrested for alleged tampering with an envelope containing mathematics Paper 1 examination papers, suspected to have been tampered with between the storage center and the school.

Police in Kagadi are investigating two students of St. Michael S., Nyakoma, who swapped index numbers during the Geography exams, possibly involving impersonation.

The new UNEB Act and increased resources demonstrate UNEB’s dedication to combating exam malpractice. Stricter penalties and effective enforcement are expected to curb this issue, although some critics argue for alternative assessment methods to reduce pressure on students and deter malpractice.

As the UCE exams continue, candidates are scheduled to take the Biology (Practical) paper in the morning, followed by the Commerce paper in the afternoon on Day 4. A total of 364,421 candidates have been registered for the exams, which will run until November 17, 2023.

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