|Posted on November 1, 2015 at 1:55 AM|
Every year during the months of October and November, Uganda facilitates 3 National Examinations for particular classes of students. From my experiences here in Uganda, I continue to maintain that education in Uganda is a privilege, not a right. The Uganda Education System is currently structured like a 3-tiered pyramid. After taking each of these highly revered National Examinations only the brightest are eligible to advance up the educational tier to the next level, as long as they can afford the hefty school fees associated with continued education.
The first or bottom tier occurs at the conclusion of Primary 7, which is the final year of Primary Education. Students sit for a 2-day examination called the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE). There is a single comprehensive examination of each Mathematics, English, Science and Social Students covering any topic studied in Primary School. These scores will determine a student’s eligibility to enroll in Secondary School. On average only about 45% of Primary 7 students will ever attend even a single lesson in Secondary School. Last year, there were 585,000 students completing the PLE. In 2015, PLE Exams are scheduled for November 2-3.
The next or middle tier occurs at the end of Senior 4, which is like 11th grade in America. Students in this grade will be taking 10 subjects. Those required subjects for all students are: Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, and Biology. Then students will take 3 other Elective subjects, like Foreign Language, Fine Art, Literature, Computer, Business, Agriculture, etc. Students usually take 2-3 individual examinations in each subject, where the average score of the individual exams calculates their Final Grade. When all is completed students take between 20-24 individual examinations. With so many subjects these examinations take about 1 month to complete. These National Examination scores will determine the eligibility for students to continue in the final 2 years of Secondary studies, as well as the class combination that they are allowed to study. Last year, there were 304,200 students completing Senior 4 Exams. In 2015, Senior 4 National Examinations are scheduled for October 12- November 13.
The final tire occurs at the conclusion of Senior 6, which is the final year of Secondary Education. At this level, students are taking 3 specialized classes, in addition to General Paper (topics that should be understood by any student of this level) and Mathematics/Computers. The individual class combinations will determine your future prospects in University. For example, only those students studying Biology and Chemistry could ever aspire to be a doctor here in Uganda. Only those students taking Physics and Mathematics could ever aspire to be an engineer here in Uganda. Similar to the Senior 4 examinations, there are 2-3 individual examinations in each subject where the average score is considered their Final Grade. When all is completed, students take between 10-14 individual examinations. These Senior 6 Examinations also take about 1 month to complete. These examination results will determine a student’s eligibility to admission at a University and which course they could pursue at enrollment. Last year, there were 107,100 students completing the Senior 6 Exams. In 2015, Senior 6 National Examinations are scheduled for November 9- December 4.
With these National Examinations, there is NO room for error, sickness, or fatigue. There are no retakes, and the results are non-negotiable. There is a lot riding for Ugandan youth on the outcome of these National Examinations… so let us all wish them the very best!!