UCE Candidates in Gulu Bothered by Failure to Complete Syllabus

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Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE)  candidates in Gulu District are bothered by the failure to complete the O’level syllabus before the start of their final examinations this week.

The learners were disrupted when schools were closed in March 2020, as coronavirus disease paralysed the world sending close to 15 million learners home. They stayed home until September 2020, when the schools were reopened, but only for the candidate classes, after spending six months at home.

From September, they studied until December 2020 and took a month’s break until January 18, 2021, when they returned for the final term before exams.

However, the learners say that the time after the reopening was not enough to cover the syllabus before the final examinations which started on Monday.

Bibiana Paulino, 20, a candidate at Gulu College School, a private aided school explains that the prolonged interruption by the outbreak of the pandemic altered their normal school routine and consequently affected the concentration by both students and teachers.

Another candidate, Emmanuel Mwaka, of the same school, says he is confident of facing the exams basing on the extensive revision he has done but expressed fear that several topics like Locomotion, Ecology and Reproduction were not taught because of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Susan Laker, a candidate at Gulu Senior Secondary School, a government-aided institution says most topics were covered by the teachers but a field visit in Geography was disbanded and some questions that may come from it will be difficult to answer.

According to Benson Ayella, another candidate at Gulu Central High School says topics such as Vector in Mathematics was not adequately covered which may pose a challenge once examiners set questions around it.

Brenda Namatovu, a teacher at Layibi High School contends that the school covered all the topics but asserted that any uncovered topic may pause a challenge to a candidate unless an individual student extensively revised it or shared the topic in a group discussion.

Irene Mwaka, the Headteacher of Gulu Senior Secondary School acknowledges that the period after the reopening of schools couldn’t allow for completion of the O’level syllabus but maintains that teachers did their best to prepare the finalists amidst the COVID-19 uncertainties.

The UCE Chief Invigilator, Walter Otti Nyeko says there are up to 29 Schools under his area of supervision, adding that exams have been calm in Gulu City without significant challenges.

Up to 333,889 candidates from across 3,935 centres in Uganda commenced writing the month-long national exams with Physics Practical and Fine Art Still Papers on Monday. The pandemic changed the UCE exam cycle from October to March.

Ever since the government announced the phased reopening for all learners, educationists, teachers and parents have questioned how the one-year learning content and activities especially for other classes would be delivered to learners in the time availed.

Last week, the Ministry of Education and Sports announced that it is preparing a condensed version of the class syllabus that will guide teachers on how to manage the teaching-learning process in the shortened learning period.

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