One week before hundreds of thousands are expected to sit their final Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) papers, reports are emerging to the effect that some of the papers have already leaked and that they are being shared with some school heads as a way of giving their candidates an edge over other education institutions.
Assessment body Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) began conducting national exams last month when the Senior Four (O-level) candidates started their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) papers. The second set of national exams will be PLE which begins next week.
A total of 832,839 candidates have registered to sit the end of Primary level examinations in thousands of centres across the country. This is higher that the 749,809 pupils who registered and sat for PLE in 2020.
Uneb has already issued a roadmap for the PLE examinations. The briefing of district monitors was conducted on October 31; the deployment of district monitors began on Tuesday, November 01; the briefing of security officers will be done on Wednesday, November 02; while the briefing of head teachers, district scouts, chief invigilators and invigilators at the district level began on November 01 and be completed on November 05.
The briefing of examination papers’ distributors will happen at the Uneb headquarters on November 03; the first phase of briefing of scouts will take place on November 04 while the second phase will happen on November 05 at the Uneb headquarters; while the final briefing for all scouts and other field officials will be conducted by the district monitors on the same day (November 05).
On November 07, head teachers will conduct the briefing of all candidates at their respective schools. The following day, November 08, pupils (candidates) will sit their first two papers: Mathematics in the morning and Social Studies and Religious Education in the afternoon. On November 09, the candidates will write their Day Two papers: Integrated Science in the morning, and English in the afternoon. You can see full PLE, UCE and UACE timetables for 2022 Uneb exams Here.
But even as preparations for the sitting of PLE examinations are in high gear, there are reports that some papers have already leaked. These reports, for which Uneb is yet to come out and issue a statement, are based on claims by sources interviewed by a trusted local news agency.
Uneb is said to be undertaking a probe into claims that there could have been some leakage of PLE papers that some unscrupulous people are reportedly exploiting to make money by selling these leaked papers to school bosses who desperately want good grades to sell their education institutions and to beat their competitors in the education business.
Reports indicate that at least two people are a subject of Uneb’s quiet investigation after a tip-off to the assessment body that these were distributing the examination papers in question to those who were willing to buy them so that they can go and discuss the questions therein with their candidates ahead of next week’s examination sittings.
The two key suspects are said to have been sharing the ‘leaked’ papers with those willing to pay good money via social media, including Whatsapp. Officers from the Uganda Police Force (UPF) have reportedly joined the Uneb probe.
It was not yet clear if the papers said to have been leaked are the exact and same ones that Uneb has approved for this year’s PLE. As part of its investigations, the examinations body seeks to find out if the papers really leaked or if some dishonest people just set some papers and are moving around conning school heads.
If it is discovered that the papers that have reportedly leaked are the real ones as set by Uneb, then the examinations body and police will also be interested in finding out who leaked the papers, what gaps did they exploit, and how such holes can be plugged to stop the re-occurrence of such leakages in the next sets of examinations in subsequent years.
Cases of examination papers’ leakages have been reported at Uneb over the years, with the vice said to be a chain that includes money-hungry officials at the national assessment body and rich school bosses willing to pay so that their education institutions can be seen to be ‘shining’ when the results are released. In the last Uneb PLE examination results, thousands of candidates’ results were withheld over cheating. (Read Stories Here and There).
The assessment body’s spokesperson Jennifer Kalule has been quoted as confirming to URN that there was an investigation into the matter, as revealing that forensic experts would follow up the manner in which the papers were shared, and that Uneb would release a report from findings of its joint investigation with police.