“If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way, often points to its own diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems”. Edward Hodnett. ‘Education is not all about the learning of facts, but rather the training of the mind to think’. Albert Einstein. ‘Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. George Bernard Shaw. ‘Education is the best weapon that can be used to change the world’. Nelson Mandela. Throughout the entire write-up, emphasis shall be put on the aforementioned messages, put across by renowned world scholars of change management and critical thinking, among other disciplines, necessary in molding a holistic learner.
However, before I delve deeper into the analysis–let us remind ourselves of the words written and pinned, at the main entrance of Pretoria University, in South Africa:
Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs, or long-range missiles … It only requires lowering the quality of education, and allowing cheating in the examinations, by the students. Patients die at the hands of such doctors …. … Buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers …. Money is lost at the hands of such economists and accountants …. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious leaders …. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges … The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.
Honestly speaking, the rate at which UNEB, of course, in the company, of all sister agencies, of which NCDC, is part–is destroying our country’s education, is just immeasurable. To whoever is going to read this, you need to be reminded that, if there is any ministerial agency destroying Uganda’s education, beyond measure, as already stated, is UNEB. Take it, or leave it, examination malpractice, to the largest extent begins with UNEB and ends with UNEB.
Having realized that to attain his/her core motive of profit maximization, the capitalist [private school proprietor] realized that he/she needed UNEB, since arriving at this goal requires glittering results. This way, the capitalist, has been compelled to infiltrate UNEB, and the entire, ministry, of course, to the bone marrow, and I strongly believe, even if I do not dig into this, further, you can already see the consequences.
UNEB exams are set, moderated, invigilated, scouted, and above all, marked, and where need be, even re-marked, by the capitalist him/herself, to the largest extent. Exams are designed with the aid of plagiarized and/or wrong literature either published by NCDC, itself, or published by different publishing houses and/or individuals, and approved by NCDC. You cannot imagine that, out of the forty (40) marking centres used by UNEB in marking the 2020 PLE, UCE, and UACE, twenty-eight (28) belonged to the capitalist. Precisely, 28 out of the 40 marking centres were all private schools.
Despite the fact that wrong exams have been administered, for the forty-one (41) years’ of UNEB’s existence, UNEB, has shamelessly, had them marked and graded–of course, to the detriment of, more so, the rural student, who, in most cases does the right thing, but is considered a failure by the Board–the reason, throughout all my correspondences, addressed to you Maama, I have appealed to you, to constitute a commission of inquiry to look into the conduct of business, in UNEB.
My dear reader, move on along with me, as I bring you a brief analysis of UNEB examinations–in reference to the 2020 PLE. However, unlike the usual write-ups, this will be a little detailed, because of the nature of its focal point. You are strongly encouraged to share, as usual, download, print it out, and then, read, read, and re-read. Please read it, at your pace–for it requires some time to comprehend–especially to those of us who are not used to reading documents of this magnitude. Without a doubt, by the time you are through with the reading, you will not have any doubt, whatsoever, as to why I am not part of the group celebrating the 2020 PLE results, and any other results released by UNEB, time immemorial.
Following my latest article, in which I dismissed the 2020 PLE (Primary Leaving Examinations) results released by UNEB, on July 16, 2020, a number of people–both within the country, and beyond, contacted me–with the biggest percentage appreciating the initiative taken; a handful–more so, those who feel their dominion, or that of their accomplices is being threatened, ignoring the content, and instead, deciding to attack the source, while many, sought more detail and/or clarification, about the same [article].
Key, among the issues that stood out, throughout the overwhelming feedback received, rotated around the style of marking and grading system relied upon by UNEB–while marking and grading students’ work, of course, at all the three levels of instruction, attended to by UNEB–with many wondering how UNEB could administer wrong exams, and then, go an extra mile, to have them marked–while others, wondered why, even in this information era, UNEB has decided to keep the public ignorant about its grading system.
Of course, needless to emphasize the fact that, hundreds of thousands of respondents, including the candidates who sat these exams themselves, have equally refused to accept these results, as well.
Let us take a look at the comment of this concerned parent, whose son, has since then, rejected his 2020 PLE results–
Thank you for your article. Actually, my son got 6, from Kabojja, and the boy shouted, in anger–‘No way; how come I scored 2 in SST and Science?’ He was crying because he was sure and confident, of 4 aggregates. He has been in the school, since P.1, and he has been performing, so well, since then. In fact, this boy has always been scoring 95%, and above in every subject. Arguably, even the school, itself was confident, it there was a number of their learners, including, my son, that could have scored 4, but, unfortunately, they did not.
So, is UNEB trying to tell us, no student got 4, in schools like Kabojja and Kampala Parents’? This is very disturbing. The boy reached the extent of telling me, let Kabojja request for our papers, and they remark them. … It means these kids know what they answered, and are always very confident. UNEB is really torturing our children, and, of course, we the parents, psychologically, physically, and emotionally.
‘Our children have been tortured enough. If these kids are going to be pillars of Uganda, in the years to come, then, immediate changes should be made in UNEB, since it appears that the people, presently handling these exams, in UNEB, have their interests, elsewhere”, says the parent.
‘UNEB should produce those schools’ papers, before a competent team of professionals, for review. These schools are afraid of standing up for their rights, for fear of being persecuted by UNEB, further’, this parent continues to say.
In fact, this parent is worried a number of their children are going to miss out on the schools of their first choice, just because they did not score aggregate 4, which is, usually considered as the cut-off point, for most of the top-notch schools, countrywide. ‘For goodness sake, why should a kid, be given a 2, after scoring 94%, or even, 80%, and above, simply because they are from Kabojja, Kampala Parents’? Asked the parent, in his final remarks
It is, therefore, against the aforementioned background, that I have found it imperative to heed the outcry of the majority, to still task UNEB, to this time round, clear the air–and make both the marking guides and grading system, public.
However, due to limited time and space, in this write-up, I shall dwell more on the quality of UNEB examinations, and then, work on the grading system, in a different write-up, altogether. Believe it, or not; take it, or not, the examinations administered by UNEB, at all the three levels of assessment, are WRONG, in all aspects.
For all the years UNEB has been in existence, it has NEVER presented to the public–authentic, valid, and credible results. Precisely, the results released to the public, for the forty-one (41) years of its existence, are DOCTORED, CONCOCTED, AND/OR TYPICALLY COOKED results. There is, absolutely no way, an unauthentically, or wrongly administered exam, can yield valid, authentic, and credible results, whatsoever.
Precisely, talking of the 2020 PLE results, and the rest of the results, yet to be released by UNEB, I made it clear to the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, and the President, as well, in all the correspondences addressed to them about UNEB exams, that because nothing had changed with UNEB exams, the minister was, without doubt, going to be issued with nothing, and nothing, absolutely, by UNEB, but DOCTORED, CONCOCTED AND/OR COOKED results. In principle, WRONG examinations, CANNOT (and please, kindly mark, the word ‘cannot’), yield any result(s), whatsoever, unless these [the results], are doctored, concocted, and/or cooked, as already stated.
‘Without doubt, only an uninformed person can accept the results from such a kind of wrong exams. By, and large, unless UNEB decides to doctor, concoct, and/or cook these results, these exams CANNOT, in any way, give us credible, genuine, authentic, and reliable results, whatsoever, for reasons, already cited, therein’ the brief to the minister, read, in part.
Indeed, the issue of UNEB administering TYPICALLY WRONG examinations, at all levels of instruction, as already stated, and having them marked and graded, thereafter, ought to be addressed with the urgency, it deserves. By and large, examination malpractice begins, here–the reason, I have even made it vividly and loudly clear, throughout all my online and conventional correspondences addressed to both–the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, together with the President, His Excellency, Yoweri Museveni, that examination malpractice, begins, and ends with UNEB, itself.
Remember, administering wrong examinations, and having them marked and graded, is just one way, among the many, through which UNEB CHEATS its own exams. Like I said, in my previous article, whoever God has given the opportunity to study up to Senior Four (S.4), and do not know yet, that the examinations UNEB is administering are TYPICALLY WRONG, is either ill-informed, or not informed, at all–the reason such a person, ought to be avoided, especially when it comes to issues related to education, in general, and assessment, in particular, regardless. In fact, throughout the entire write-up, the same words shall be maintained.
It ought to be categorically stated that UNEB examinations, of course, at the three levels of study, as already indicated, are TYPICALLY WRONG, and, in all aspects–a clear indication that, as teachers, we are, arguably, passing on, COUNTLESS VOLUMES OF WRONG CONTENT to the learners, of course, right from primary, throughout secondary school education, and higher institutions of learning, of which universities, are part. Thankfully, even UNEB, itself, through its annual reports, described as the National Assessment of Progress in Education (NAPE), acknowledges, this fact.
Evidence over wrong exams
Kivumbi’s revelations are not farfetched.
Studies available indicate that some teachers can hardly set reasonable tests.
The 2013 NAPE report, for example, shows that the majority of secondary school teachers lack the skills necessary for testing and constructing test scores, and some of them, are not even qualified to teach. According to the study, 17.8% of the teachers are not qualified to teach Mathematics, and 11.6% do not qualify to teach Biology. In fact, this largely explains why the majority of the students have continued to fail science-related disciplines in UNEB examinations.
Needless to emphasize the fact that, even those who pass these exams, do so, in error, for as already mentioned, UNEB exams are WRONG in all dimensions, and, obviously, in such a situation, nobody, whatsoever, can excel, or fail, in a flawed assessment arrangement, like that of UNEB.
The same report also demonstrates that 82.2% of the teachers CANNOT describe the attributes necessary for preparing a standard test/exam. When a sample was presented to those who claimed to have been trained in the assessment, only 5% were in a position to identify a blueprint, implying that, 95.5% of the teachers, whose services, are, of course, relied upon by UNEB, in executing its core duties of conducting and coordinating assessment, at the secondary school level of instruction, are INCOMPETENT, in the area of assessment–to say the least.
So, based on the aforementioned empirical evidence, moreover, from UNEB, itself, is there any rational person, with a sober mind, and exceptional reasoning skills, that can still rebuke Jonathan, when he asserts, that the examinations, administered by UNEB, at all levels of study, are WRONG, in all aspects, surely? ‘Whereas 83.4% of the teachers said they do give tests and exams, at the end of term, it is just done as a routine; the tests and exams given, neither inform teaching nor the learning process”, the report further asserts.
Besides, the 2013 NAPE report, Jonathan’s revelations are not far-fetched, for they are strongly supported by Fagil Mandy, a renowned educationist in Uganda, and beyond, and formerly Board chairperson. Mandy asserts that the majority of the teachers are grossly lacking in the qualities necessary for them to execute their roles effectively. He argues that this largely explains the high failure rate in the majority of the country’s schools.
According to Mandy, out of a sample of 30,000 teachers contacted, at both the primary and secondary school levels of instruction, only less than 1%, were passionate about their country, or even look for new knowledge to improve their quality of teaching. ‘And less than 2% of the teachers conduct research, while only 1.5% of the teachers neither apply innovative ways of teaching nor, understand their learners’, Mandy maintains.
For goodness sake, with such empirical evidence, can anyone, in their sober mood, still condemn Jonathan, for dismissing the 2020 PLE results, and, of course, the results released by UNEB, time immemorial, including his very results? If 98.5% of the teachers are NOT taking any initiative to enrich their knowledge, should we then, assume (or even believe), that the teachers teaching our children, and, of course, those relied upon by UNEB, in administering national exams, drop from heaven, like it were, for the case of many, that we read about, in the Bible?
And, should we believe that the biggest percentage of the 1.5% rate of teachers–is situated in only two, or three schools–Hillside Primary School, Naalya, Hormisdallen Primary School, Wakiso, and Seeta Junior School, Mbalala, surely? And, if so, where do these teachers disappear, in particular, years? Precisely, in 2019, for example, which type of teachers did the aforementioned schools, rely upon?
The 2015 NAPE report, on primary school education, reveals that, according to the UNEB assessment administered by UNEB, to teachers, themselves, 80% of the teachers who were passed out, in 2014, of course, by Kyambogo University, could neither read, nor solve the BASIC (please kindly, mark the word, ‘basic’) primary school level Mathematics questions.
In 2015, a total of 46,000 P.3 and P.6 pupils; 12,300 pre-and in-service teachers, and 64 tutors were tested for literacy and numeracy skills, during the July 2015, NAPE exams, but, interestingly, the results indicated that less than more than 80% of the tutors at primary teachers’ colleges (PTCs) COULD NOT interpret graphs, while only 8% of the in-service teachers were in able to interpret, similar graphs. The same report still indicates that only 21.8% and 38.8% of PTCs’ Year II students, were rated proficient in numeracy and literacy, in the English language, respectively.
UNEB boss Dan Odong admits administering wrong exams
Against the aforementioned findings, by UNEB, itself, UNEB’s executive director, Dan Odong, was compelled to stress the importance of teacher education, in as far as conducting authentic, valid, and reliable assessment, is concerned, saying, ‘these low grades should be cause for worry, because these students are now already teaching our children”.
Making reference to the NAPE’s very worrying findings, UNEB’s former chairperson, Professor Lutalo, Bbossa, argues, that, if teachers are lacking the knowledge of something, it [this kind of ignorance], shall definitely be transferred to the learners. ‘If the teacher has difficulties in a given subject, for example, they will definitely, not be in position, to teach it, as expected’, Bbossa, concludes.
So, according to UNEB, should we now assume that, only the 20%, or even less of the teachers passed out by Kyambogo University, as the overseer of PTCs, then, are in the teaching service, and the other more than 80%, are busy elsewhere, surely? And, if the 2014 ‘graduates’, were/are this INCOMPETENT, according to UNEB, should we then believe (not even assume), that the teachers who came before them, and those who came after, were/are, themselves, competent? With these very worrying findings, from where does UNEB, draw the human resource relied upon in executing its core duties of conducting and coordinating assessment, surely?
For goodness sake, based on the aforementioned, undisputable findings, moreover, by UNEB, itself, is there anybody with a sound mind, still, who can go ahead, and celebrate the 2020 PLE results, or even those results, released by UNEB, in the past 40 years of its existence, surely? Okay, for those still, in doubt, allow me to provide you, with more facts, of course, still based on empirical evidence.
Education Ministry grills UNEB for administering wrong exams
In a recent report about the education and sector review, published in 2013 by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoE&S)–it was reported that, only 16% of the teachers were still interested in maintaining their teaching profession in the next two years. According to Yusuf Nsubuga, formerly director-basic secondary education, only 16% of the teachers were willing to stay in the profession by 2015.
The figure indicated above, demonstrates that out of the 135,000 primary school teachers on the public service payroll, a total of 113,400 teachers were unwilling to bounce back to the teaching profession, after two years, representing a total of 84%. For heaven’s sake, how possible is it for us, as a country, to have in place high-quality teaching, and specifically, authentic assessment of our children, in a situation, where out of every 100 teachers, only 16, are currently passionate about the teaching profession?
Don’t you think this rate has even diminished, basing on how hard CoViD-19, has hit the education sector, teachers, in particular? The report further indicated that 57% of the teachers were dissatisfied with their job, while 78% believed their colleagues were not happy with the teaching profession. So, are these the people teaching our children, surely? For heaven’s sake, according to the people celebrating these UNEB results, how possible is it for one to be efficient, effective, and productive in the way they execute their duties, exclusive of passion?
English language disaster
According to the Saturday Vision, dated Saturday, July 24, 2018, English language experts, say, there is a need for examiners to study language skills. ‘These examiners are senior teachers picked from schools. Teachers need to know the principles of effective communication.
A question should be clear–and not subject to more than one interpretation, Ronah Birungi, a linguistics post-graduate scholar, and lecturer, at a teacher training college says.
James Amatre, a teacher of Literature in English and English Language, at Nabisunsa Girls’ School, says teachers should be re-tooled. Amatre recalls that in the 1980s, there were regular national English conferences, where educators met, to among other things, test themselves, and discuss the challenges–they face in the use of the English language. Today, that is no more.
‘The modern teachers are not taken through the rigor of grammar, and, therefore, they do not know the rules of grammar. ‘They are not communicating. They set questions, the way they speak’, Amatre asserts. ‘English language is a constant practice. Teachers must read to be informed, and get exposure to constructing proper sentences and spellings. This way, it helps a teacher to identify their weaknesses. The more they read, the better they become’, Amatre says.
Public weighs in
One of the respondents, a teacher by profession, who preferred anonymity, had this to say;–
Jonathan, seriously, you are now a topic of discussion in the education sector. Your impact is, beginning to be felt. … And the principle of GARBAGE-IN, GARBAGE-OUT, applies in all sectors of the socio-economy. All the educated people in their various professions–were nurtured by the INCOMPETENT teachers–that, we are. Like begets, like. Fake raw materials, will, obviously, produce fake products. Arguably, teachers will automatically produce fake accountants, fake lawyers, fake engineers, and fake everything, and the future policy-makers, will equally be fake, with fake policies, and the populace will suffer.
The most obvious way of getting out of this trap is undertaking a review of the entire education system. This is where comparative education becomes necessary. Countries, where educators are valued, attract young people to the profession and get to graduate intelligent teachers. But, here we are, with our highly unintelligent individuals–call them, teachers, meeting geniuses, with no idea, on how to handle them. This teacher’s revelations are not far-fetched, for as already stated, according to Fagil Mandy, only 1.5% of the teachers understand their learners, well.
Another respondent, still a teacher by profession, and practice, as well, who also doubles as a school proprietor, says, ‘I am still wondering why courses (in reference to public universities, specifically), like medicine, engineering (civil, electric, software, telecom, etc.), law, and pharmacy, among others, have their cut-off points higher than the cut-off points of education. This gentleman is still wondering why the government is not considering admitting the best performers for the course of education, at all levels of study.
Consider a situation, where primary school teachers, for example, majority of whom join PTCs, after performing miserably (with many scoring, mainly third and fourth grades), or ‘failing’, their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examinations, joining the teaching profession; surely, can such a teacher deliver, as expected, asks, this gentleman. ‘This largely explains why primary school teachers, and of course, teachers, in general, teach basing mainly on cram work, and cannot appreciate the fact that the learners they are attending to, are very intelligent, than even, many of them”, he further asserts.
Education should be made a competitive course–only done by excellent performers and, above all, those that are passionate about the profession. This business of admitting failures, for education, at all levels of instruction–ought to be brought to an end. Why do you think some teachers believe in cheating for their learners during UNEB exams? Asked, this gentleman? And he is very quick to provide the answer–because they do not trust their heads’.
‘Charity begins at home; any teacher, who actually cheats for the learner, is teaching the learner, to be a cheat, as well, and such a teacher, is considered, unpatriotic’, adds this gentleman. ‘These are the people embezzling our money, mercilessly!!! … ‘Taught by a thief; cheated for him/her in PLE, then another IDIOT did/does the same in both UCE and UACE; and you expect the end-product [learner] to be a person of integrity, surely; wondered, this gentleman. Such a person will NEVER be a person of integrity”, he continues to say.
‘Are you aware that most schools–both primary and secondary, teach our children, to lie, before us, as their parents?’ He asked. UNEB exams sold by teachers; university lecturers selling exams for sex, or exchanging marks for sex; surely, are we building, or …? He concludes.
To remove doubt, allow me to give you a snapshot of the 2020 examinations. However, I will make a brief comment about UNEB’s name–Uganda National Examinations Board, and vision statement–‘A recognized Centre for Competitive Educational Assessment and Certification’.
Established in 1980, under such a wrong name, and nobody, apart from myself, including the countless number of graduates and post-graduates (doctors [Ph.D.] and professors, inclusive) in English Language and Linguistics, in general, has seen that the name UNEB, is wrong? Surely, what are we up to, as a nation? So, aware of the fact that, as a grammatical rule, a noun (Uganda), does not, under whatever circumstances, appear before an adjective (National), how do teachers of English Language, at all levels of instruction, including university, teach the two, that is, nouns and adjectives, surely? Does UNEB really have a fully functional English language department?
Without a doubt, UNEB’s, English language department, is VIRTUALLY DEAD. Actually, this department died the day UNEB was established, and the last funeral rites were organized on the same day. By and large, after the creation of other examining bodies, such as the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) and the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board (UNMEB), UNEB ceased being the overall examining body, implying that, its rightful of name should now read ‘Uganda Primary and Secondary Education Examinations Board (UPSEEB), and not, Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), per se.
However, if the government’s intention, like, I have always said, is to maintain the status quo (which is, arguably WRONG), then, they should eliminate the noise, and re-name the institution–Uganda Examinations Board (UEB), or National Examinations Board (NBA). This, in fact, should not end at UNEB but should cut across all agencies that have been named this way. Agencies such as the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), and Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI), among others, should all be bounced back to Parliament, and be re-named.
UNBS, for example, should read Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBS), or the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), but not, UNBS. Likewise, UNCC, should rightly read, Uganda Cultural Centre (UCC), or National Cultural Centre (NCC), but not, UNCC. And UNCCI should be called Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI), or the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), and not, UNCCI.
Precisely, whatever is national, in this case, is Uganda, and, whatever is Uganda, is equally national–the reason, the two CANNOT be used concurrently, whatsoever. Besides, in the absence of Uganda International Examinations Board (UIEB), we definitely, CANNOT have UNEB. You don’t have to be at the stage of defending your PhD thesis report in any Linguistics-related field, say, lexicography, pragmatics, or syntax, to understand, this.
So, if we are to correct the countless anomalies associated with UNEB examinations, particularly those related to the usage of language, the noise in the description/name–UNEB, should be eliminated, without fail. Students cannot sit wrong examinations, and we expect them, to excel/pass these exams, at the same time. Once the food is prepared from a dirty saucepan, it is crystal clear that you cannot have a delicious meal.
Operating with a TYPICALLY WRONG name for forty-one (41) years, with nobody, in UNEB, including the so-called scholars, consultants, and subject specialists, in the English Language, relied upon by UNEB, in conducting and coordinating assessment, being mindful of this anomaly, is enough evidence to prove to the authorities concerned, and the public, at large, that UNEB, cannot, in whichever way, administer authentic, valid, and reliable exams.
UNEB operates with no vision
The wrong description of UNEB’s vision, also lays a firm ground, for any competent person in Linguistics, with specific reference to the English language, to still, front for a vote of no confidence, not only in the Board’s English Language department but also, in the Board, as well. Besides it [the vision] abusing the rules of grammar, because of unnecessary capitalization, the statement was/is wrongly written.
As seen above, according to UNEB, what they call a vision–is far–from it. In fact, according to UNEB, they have already reached their destination, and hence, no longer have anything else to strive at–the reason, everything about UNEB is TYPICALLY WRONG. If UNEB does not know, it is operating without a vision, then, it is crystal clear, that the people charged with the responsibility of handling national exams–at the primary and secondary school level, as already stated, are NOT FIT for the job.
In the absence of a vision, it clearly implies, UNEB has no mission, goals, and objectives. This, automatically, implies, whatever UNEB is doing, is being done in the REVERSE way. Thankfully, all this detail is already with both the President and the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports.
Wrong description of the exams–Primary Leaving Examination
I strongly believe this description is equally wrong. For goodness sake, according to UNEB, and makes this an examination, and no examinations? So, does UNEB want to tell us, that once you combine the four subjects handled at this level–English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, and Social Studies with Religious Education, the end result is an examination, and not, examinations?
So, according to UNEB, does this, therefore, imply, that for the 41 years of its existence, it [UNEB] has been releasing results for an examination, and not, results for examinations? Can somebody in UNEB, help translate this in my mother tongue–Luganda, since, I have personally, failed to come up with a valid translation?
Analysis of the 2020 PLE exams–per subject
Because of time and space constraints, I might not be in a position to present you an analysis of each subject, as earlier promised–the reason, I will be so brief, here. The analysis, of each of the subjects, is given, in brief, below: is a
The 2020 English examination, of course, just like the rest of the English exams, administered by UNEB, time immemorial, was/is TYPICALLY WRONG in all aspects. Questions were/are designed, with countless levels of ambiguity and grammatical errors. Specifically, learners were/are also presented with questions whose answers range from 1 to infinity. Generally, the entire exam, was administered, in total contravention of the rules and regulations–that is–principles and practices governing assessment, rendering it [the exam], and, of course, the entire examination instrument (or, all the examinations, administered), null and void.
For questions 1 to 5, for example, UNEB, required the learner to come up with a suitable word, for each question given, something that, could not/cannot be done even by the most renowned scholar of English Language, world-over, since the word/adjective ‘suitable’, carries no definite meaning. This, definitely, implies UNEB is lacking in the knowledge of basic communication skills–the reason, its exams–at all the three levels of assessment–are TYPICALLY WRONG, as earlier stated.
Communication, more so, that which takes the shape of a formal/official arrangement, MUST, under whatever circumstances, be conducted in relation with the principles and practices that govern effective communication–more so, making specific reference to the 7Cs’ of effective communication–that is–clear, courtesy, correct, complete, concrete, considerate, and concise. This implies, when designing an assessment, the candidate, at whichever level of study, or subject/course unit, should be issued with a question that takes into account, all the 7Cs’, regardless. Short of this, the question is considered null and void–the reason, questions 1 to 5, were/are considered null and void.
To make matters worse, besides the ambiguity in the instruction, given to the learner, even the questions, themselves, were/are equally wrong. Ideally, emphasis, here, shall be put, on questions 1, 3, 4, and 5. Question 1, for example, attracted more than one correct answer–something that totally contravenes the universally accepted principles governing assessment, hence rendering it invalid.
Assessment–of whatever nature–at whichever level of instruction–and in whichever subject/course unit, CANNOT, begin from the unknown, under whatever circumstances. Arguably, you do not need to be a doctor (PhD), or professor in any education-related field, to know this–for this, is just as simple and obvious, as taking a nap.
Truth be told, you just cannot design a question, starting from the unknown. The answer must either appear in the middle, or at the end of the question AND NOT, at the beginning, of the question, whatsoever. This is the rule of thumb! So, this, automatically, rendered/renders question 3, null and void, too.
Just like question 1, even question 4, attracted more than one correct answer–rendering it invalid, as well. Precisely, the questions, in question, are given below:
(1) My sister sat under/beside/behind/beneath/near a tree after taking medicine.
I believe, you can now see how UNEB is either knowingly, or unknowingly destroying the future, of not only, our children, but, even that of the entire country, as well–and, of course, the world, at large, since these exams were/are done by learners, from all walks of life. You just CANNOT present a student, at whichever level of study, with a question, more so, which calls for recall and reproduce (knowledge-related question), attracting more than one correct answer, and you believe, or even think, you have administered an authentic, valid, and credible question/exam. Of course–needless to emphasize the fact that, the question, was administered, under a vague instruction, too.
Besides, even if the question had been administered under clear instructions–attracting only one correct answer, as per the rule(s) and regulations, it would still be WRONG, since, it was equally designed in total contravention of the rules governing language usage–grammatical rules, in particular, as shown below:
(a) Having said, ‘My sister’, it was/is mandatory, for the examiner to include the personal pronoun her, before the word medicine, in the sentence–for it [the sentence] to make grammatical meaning. As a rule, used in this context, once a noun is used in sentence construction, the pronoun MUST (and please kindly mark the word ‘must’) be part of the sentence, as well. However, since this was not done, then the question can, definitely rendered invalid.
(b) Furthermore, the tree under/beside/behind/beneath/near, which the girl/lady, in question, sister’ sat, MUST, have been (very) clearly described, under whatever circumstances, including its location, for the question to stand the validity test. However, having ignored, this all-important aspect of language, or communication (concreteness of the message), the question, obviously becomes invalid. Notice that ‘sitting’ is an action; and, as a rule, no action takes place, in an unknown locality. There is no way, whatsoever, the girl/lady in question could have sat, under an unknown tree.
Without changing the examiner’s phrasing, therefore, the question should rightly, read–
(2) My sister sat under/beside/behind/beneath/near the mango tree, in the backyard, after taking her medicine.
In this case, the tree under which this girl/lady sat, after taking her medicine, is now clearly known to the recipient of the message, and still, the sender of the message has removed all doubt, that the receiver could have, by even telling him/her [receiver] the location of the tree. Automatically, this makes communication clear. However, the question would still be WRONG, since it attracted more than one correct answer.
(3) ………… John and Mary are good at solving mathematical problems.
Without changing the examiner’s wording, this question should rightly, read–
Both John and Mary are good at solving mathematical problems.
This implies, therefore, the examiner was/is required to present the student with a question looking for the answer, in the middle, and not, in the beginning, as initially indicated. The rule is clear–we do not assess learners, at whatever level, in whichever subject, from the unknown. You cannot, for example, ask the learner–…………. is the longest river in Africa. The right question should read–The longest river in Africa is called …………….
(4) The butcher/abattoir/supermarket/market in our trading centre did not sell meat, yesterday.
By and large, this question was/is invalid, because, as you can all see, it attracted more than one correct answer. Interestingly, because the persons–commonly described as subject specialists, best scholars, and consultants, by UNEB’s executive director, Dan Odong, are shallow in vocabulary, they designed this question, thinking that the answer was/is the only butcher–forgetting that, away from the butcher, meat can also be sold/bought in/from an abattoir, supermarket, or even market, among other places.
(5) How often/frequently do you visit your grandparents?
This question was/is still wrong, because it attracted more than one correct answer, as you can all see. Remember, as already indicated, each question presented to the learner, specifically, at Level 1, of Bloom’s taxonomy, MUST, as a rule, attract not more than one correct answer, regardless. While designing this question, the examiner’s mind was stuck only with the word ‘often’, forgetting that, this word (i.e., often) is collocation at ‘frequently’.
Precisely, the word ‘often’, is synonymous, used with the word ‘frequently’, but to UNEB, this appears to be news, a clear indication that UNEB’s trusted line-up of best scholars, consultants, (English Language) specialists, moreover, from the best schools, as argued by UNEB’s executive director, Dan Odong, is typically lacking in the knowledge of synonyms and antonyms. One then wonders, how a person becomes a consultant, in a field they are poor at. For goodness sake, how possible, is it for one to become a scholar of the English Language, when they do not even know simple things like synonyms, surely?
Questions 16 and 17 were/are both wrong since they attracted multiple answers–and as already noted, this is against the principles and practices governing assessment. The instruction, here, read: In questions 16 and 17, write the full form of the given abbreviations.
(16) Prof. So, according to UNEB/NCDC, ‘Prof’, only means ‘professor’, forgetting that this abbreviation [Prof], could as well mean ‘professional’, or ‘profession’. So, against this background, according to UNEB, which one of the three answers, given, here, was/is marked correct/wrong? And still, according to UNEB, what criteria were/are followed when arriving at the right answer to this question, surely?
(17) MC. According to UNEB/C, ‘MC’, only means ‘master of ceremonies’, yet this is not right. By and large, ‘MC’ can be described, or written in full, in COUNTLESS ways. Some of these include Makerere College; Makerere Central; Masaka City; Mbarara City; Mbale City; Manchester City; Military Council; Military Commander; Military Combatant; Military Command; Military Court; Makindye Court; Military Chambers; Military Case; Mount Camel; Marginal Cost; Marginal Costing; Marketing Communication; Mistress of Ceremony; Member of Congress.
MC–could as well as mean–Music Column; Music Class; Math Class; Mathematics Class; Musa Courts; Mukwano Centre; Market Centre; Marketing Centre; Massaging Centre; Marking Centre; Milk Centre; Martyrs’ Church; Media Centre; Methodist Church; Medical Centre; Magistrate’s Court; Magistrate’s Chambers; Muslim Community; Methodist Community; Municipal Council; Municipal Councilor; Medical Council; Minister’s Child; Minister’s Children; Member of Christ; Mother of Christ; Military Committee; Mombasa Coast; Mandela Cup; Managing Change
MC–still means–Mega Concert; Menstruation Cycle; Middle Class; Military Camp; Morning Class; Monday Class; My Class; My Child; My Children; McKay College; Mackay College; Missing Child; Missing Children; My Coach; Miracle Cathedral; Magic Concern; Members’ Concern; Marketing Chief; Milk Can; Milking Can; My Creator; Marking Coordinator; Music Concert; Missionary Centre; Median Class; Mince Chicken; Measuring Cylinder; Minister’s Car; Major Concern; Main Concern; Minor Concern; Music Consultant; Movie Centre; Miracle Centre; Medical Consultant; Mathematics Consultant; Medical College, Mental Challenge; Mentally Challenged.
And lastly, but not least, MC, can also relate to the initials of someone’s name. All persons, world-over, whose names take the on the alphabetical letters, MC, definitely, use ‘MC’, like their initials. Consider a learner, who sat this exam, whose mother is Muganga Christine, and father is Muganga Charles, and so decided to complete MC, using either of the parent’s name. Surely, what crime did this young boy/girl commit, to write his/her answer, using any of the parent’s name–after taking a careful study of the examiner’s ignorance? This is boy/girl is Muganga Conrad/Muganga Carolyn, and he/she is writing his/her answer, as such, and you are denying him/her the marks–surely, are you in your right senses?
Please be reminded that, nobody, world-over, has absolute rights/copyright, over an abbreviation, acronym. The United Nations, for example, CANNOT, stop–a person whose name is Uwinama Natasha, or Uzamukunda Noeline, from using ‘UN’, as their initials, just as, the International Labour Organization also CANNOT, in any way, stop a person whose name is Isabirye Louis Oliver, or Isingoma Lawrence Oscar, from using the abbreviation/acronym ‘ILO’, as their initials.
Also, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), has no mandate, whatsoever, of barring a person whose name is Nnajjemba Rachael Mercy, or Nnabbanja Robina Musafiri, from using ‘NRM’, as their initials, just as the Democratic Party (DP), CANNOT, stop a person whose name is Ddamba Patrick, or Ddamba Peter, from using ‘DP’, as their initials.
Against the aforementioned background, it is crystal clear that introducing learners to the so-called topic of abbreviations/acronyms, during the teaching-learning process, of which assessment, is part, is, not only a total waste of time and (other) resources, but also TYPICALLY WRONG–and for this reason, all questions administered this way, not only render a particular exam wrong, but, they, also, undoubtedly, of course, render the entire examination instrument, null and void, as well.
Abbreviations/acronyms, as already noted, can be described/written in full–in as many ways, as you can think of; the only two vividly obvious limiting factors are–time and one’s ability to think (critically). Truth is, answers to questions calling for the description of abbreviations/acronyms, of whatever nature goes on, up to infinity, and, of course, as already discussed, once a question attracts more than one correct answer, it, arguably, becomes null and void. This is one, among the so many areas, where our children have been introduced to wrong content, but–of course–because of mainly, pride, executive arrogance, and complacency, all my energy and/or efforts to have the ‘topic’ written off the curriculum, by NCDC, has/have been rendered futile.
And you ought to be reminded that, for something to be called a topic, it must have a genesis (i.e., starting point) and a revelation (i.e., ending point). In-between, there MUST, in principle, be sub-topics. My question to NCDC, and, of course, their accomplice UNEB, while teaching and assessing a learner about this highly unjustifiable topic, where must a teacher/examiner start? And where must he/she stop?
For goodness sake, how does someone take on the responsibility of developing a curriculum, moreover, at a national level, when they are TOTALLY lacking in the basic knowledge, governing curriculum development? And still, according to the appointing authority, of course, how does one, become a conductor and coordinator of assessment, more so, at a national level, when they are also lacking in the basics that govern curriculum development, surely? Don’t you think, the biggest percentage of the problems, (of course, with the assessment) begins, here?
Believe it, or not; take it, or leave it; there is, absolutely no way, the countless anomalies evident in UNEB examinations, can be convincingly dealt with, without fixing the countless gaps that are vividly evident in the curriculum. As already indicated, learners right from pre-primary up to university, are introduced to countless volumes of wrong content. Obviously, this implies, once the content is wrong, even the assessment conducted, shall be wrong, as well–the reason, as earlier stated, UNEB, exams, at the three levels of instruction, are WRONG, in all aspects.
Precisely, how can one assess a learner, in a curriculum they [the assessor/examiner] themselves, do not, actually, know? And surely, after (critically) studying the analysis, presented here, what crime, would an observer, with an objective and independent eye/mind, have committed when they conclude that the persons, handling curriculum development and assessment–at both NCDC and UNEB, at all levels, are EXTREMELY INCOMPETENT, in all aspects related to education–of which curriculum development and assessment, are part; and so, an overhaul, in the two agencies, is all we need, if we are to deal with the problem, as expected?
In questions 25 and 26, the candidate was/is required to come up with correctly written sentences, from the words given. Worth noting, here, is that, apart from providing the learner with a wrong question–question 25, UNEB, also administered this section under a wrong instruction, rendering the entire section, and exam, as well, null and void. In the absence of the negative word ‘not’, this question, could not/cannot, in any way, stand/pass the validity test.
Let us briefly look at this question–
(25) how to know I ride a bicycle.
As already discussed, apart from the wrong instruction given, even the most renowned scholar of English Language, world-over, could not, under whatever circumstances, come up with a correct answer, to this question, because, in the absence of the negative word ‘not’, the question just could not/cannot be answered, in whichever way. Precisely, without changing anything, in the examiner’s wording, the right question should have been/should be–
(25) how to know I ride a bicycle not.
… Used in this context, feedback was/ is supposed to take the shape of the negative perspective, and not, the positive perspective, per se, for it to be considered constructive, as indicated in the answer given below–
Correct: (a) I do not know how to ride a bicycle.
Wrong: (b) I know how to ride a bicycle.
Perhaps, according to UNEB’s, scholars, consultants, and specialists of the English Language, isn’t there any difference between the two questions, given above? Precisely, according to UNEB, response (b) would be in line with which kind of message, exactly? But surely, according to UNEB, what is it, that, would compel you–provide feedback, as shown in (b), above?
I strongly believe everyone, can now see how lacking UNEB trusted line-up of best scholars, consultants, and subject specialists, are in observation, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning. One wonders how UNEB administers examinations that do portray even a ‘single’ drop of critical thinking and expects learners to attend to them, with the aid of critical thinking. Arguably, one does not need to be at the stage of writing their Ph.D. thesis report in any academic-related field of their choice, to know that this is not possible, for goodness sake.
But does UNEB, know the meaning of the term ‘sentence’? The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, defines a sentence (noun) as a set of words expressing a statement, question, or order, usually containing a subject and a verb. Based on this (indisputable) fact, therefore, can UNEB come out, and educate the public on the two types of sentences, it is fronting–the wrong and correct, sentences? Precisely, does UNEB want to tell us, that the information given, in question 25, can be considered a sentence? Hmmmmm!
In questions 31 to 50, UNEB required the learner to re-write the sentence (and please kindly mark the word ‘sentence’) given to him/her, following the instructions given (to him/her) in brackets, forgetting that, in questions 31, 34, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44, the same examining agency–that is, UNEB, had actually presented this girl/boy, with sentences, AND NOT, a sentence, as indicated in the instruction, given.
The one million pound question, here, therefore, addressed to UNEB, is: How did they expect this girl/boy, to go about the aforementioned listed questions, surely–aware of the fact that, these questions were administered, exclusive of instructions, to guide him/her [the candidate], in his/her writing, unlike, the other questions, in the same category?
But surely, how do you present a learner with such a WRONG instruction, moreover, in a national exam, where they do not/cannot, under whatever circumstances–(of course, according to the rules), have any room to question the authenticity of whatever detail, appears in the exam, and expect them to come up with correct answers unless you have a problem with your reasoning ability?
Even without wasting any more time and space, since the instruction given, only catered for a few selected questions, under this section, it automatically, implies, the entire section–questions 31 to 50, and of course, exam, was/is invalid. Of course, needless to emphasize the fact that, even when the instruction had been correctly written, the questions are given, therein–would still be wrong, since most (if not, all) of them, were wrongly designed.
In the interest of time and space, however, I will pick out only one question. And still, because of time and space constraints, I will not dig deeper into the analysis of this question; I shall only give you its correct version, and perhaps, a few remarks, about, the same.
(32) The beautiful pens belong to Musa. (Rewrite the sentence using: …….. owner ……….)
Without doubt, this question was/is WRONG, in all aspects. First and foremost, the question, itself, was/is wrongly designed. And secondly, it [the question] was/is also accompanied by a wrongly designed instruction. Actually, looked at closely, the instruction, contains, an element of examination malpractice, since it gives the candidate, an obvious clue, of how the answer should appear like, something that is contrary to the rules and regulations governing the construction of questions that call for a learner’s application of knowledge. Arguably, there was/is no way, even a university professor, of English Language, would, actually, come up with a correct answer, for such a wrongly designed question.
Unfortunately, UNEB’s team of trusted scholars, consultants, and specialists of English Language, is totally lacking in the knowledge of the usage of articles (particularly the definite article, in this case), as well as pronouns/determiners, the reason, they could not, come up with a correct question, here. There is no way, whatsoever, this question/sentence could have started with the definite article– ‘the’. Precisely, without making any change in the examiner’s phrasing, the aforementioned question should have been/should be rightly designed as–
(32) Those beautiful pens belong to Musa. (Re-write the sentence using the word ‘owner’).
Allow me, move away briefly from the 2020 examination, and I take you, through only one selected question of English, that appeared in 2019, before moving back to the 2020 examinations.
(45) There was no charcoal in the store. Mother managed to prepare supper. (Re-write as one sentence using: …….. much as …….)
Hmmmmmm! But surely, does UNEB think they are dealing with an illiterate society? Do they really think they are dealing with people of the Stone Age? Do they think they are dealing with fools? For goodness sake, how do you present a primary school-going child/adult, with a question that cannot be answered, in whichever way, by even the most renowned scholar of English Language, world-over, and expect them to provide you with a correct answer, in return?
Who are these best scholars, consultants, subject specialists, and best teachers, moreover, from the best schools, that do not know, that the nouns–mother, father, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece, grandfather, grandmother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and all those nouns that fall in this category, CANNOT, for whatever reasons, be used at the beginning of the sentence? According to UNEB, what kind of consultancy, do these people, engage themselves in, surely? For heaven’s sake, how does someone, become a scholar of English Language, when they do not even know that, used, in this context, any the aforementioned nouns, must, as a rule, be preceded by the pronouns–‘my’, or ‘our’, if the sentence, is to make grammatical sense, more so, before an informed reader, surely?
And please be reminded that, even if the grammatical anomaly in the question is ironed out, it [the question], would still be wrong, because, the option given to the learner, by the examiner, to write his/her answer, was/is also wrong.
(45) There was no charcoal in the store. My mother managed to prepare supper. (Re-write as one sentence using: …….. much as …….)
Look at UNEB’s answer–
There was no charcoal in the store, much as (my) mother managed to prepare supper.
Hmmmmm! Without doubt, everything, about this question, section, and, of course, exam, at large, was/is WRONG, in all aspects. Whatever results came out of this examination, and, of course, the entire examination set, were/are NULL AND VOID–the reason, they are not worthy the celebration!
2020 analysis of Section B
All the five questions administered by UNEB, in Section B, were/are TYPICALLY WRONG, since, none of them–was designed in relation–with principles and practices governing assessment. Besides, UNEB, also grossly abused the rules and regulations governing language usage, in communication, of any nature, while designing questions 51 to 55. Precisely, all the five questions, including the question items, therein, were/are designed using wrong English, throughout, and this, obviously rendered/renders the entire exam, and, of course, the rest of the exams, null and void.
UNEB, for example, does not know the difference between the Wh- question words–‘Who’ and ‘What’–the reason, all question items designed this way, across all the four subjects, were/are wrong. To UNEB, the questions–Who is the President of Uganda? And–What is the name of the President of Uganda, similar, and so, call for the same answers. Hmmmmm!
Like Alvin Tofler, a renowned scholar of change management, argues, ‘The illiterate of the twenty-first (21st) century, are not those who cannot read and write, but, rather, those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn’, teachers ought to be open to learning, if the anomalies evident with UNEB exams are to be dealt with, as expected. Truth be told, the examinations administered by UNEB, at all the three levels of instruction (PLE, UCE, and UACE), are TYPICALLY WRONG, and, as already stated, in all aspects–the reason, all those responsible for this mess, need to be dealt with, with the urgency, it deserves–of course, in accordance, with the law.
An independent audit, in the way UNEB administers, TYPICALLY WRONG examinations–and goes ahead to mark and grade, them, is long overdue. For heaven’s sake, according to UNEB, who are these best scholars, consultants, subject experts, and teachers, moreover, from the best schools, with whom, UNEB has collided, to mess-up, this country, surely? Precisely, what are their names, qualifications, location, etc.? In which tertiary institutions/universities, are these best scholars and consultants, surely? And from which best schools, are the best teachers, being referred to, by UNEB’s executive director, obtained, surely?
The principles governing effective communication, moreover, which principles, must be adhered to, as a rule, when designing assessment, of whatever nature, were also left unattended to, by UNEB, while designing all the five questions, and independent question items of this section, rendering, not only, the section invalid, but also, the entire examination set, as well. For example, while writing and/or reading of any sort, is guided by a theme (call it, topic), under whatever circumstances, it is common practice for UNEB, to provide with ‘passages’, ‘extracts’, and ‘poems’, among others, exclusive of a title, or theme, and, thereafter, task the candidate, with the responsibility of coming up with their own title, commonly described as ‘suitable’.
Truth is–not even the most renowned writer, world-over, can kick-start the writing process, without a (guiding) theme. So, if writing cannot happen in the absence of a theme, it is crystal clear, that the reader, shall, obviously, have nothing to read, implying that, reading, cannot happen, whatsoever. It is not reader who gives the writer/author a suitable title, as insinuated by UNEB, for, as already indicated, you just CANNOT, embark on the writing process, before zero-down on a particular topic, you wish to write about.
So, since, this all-important–rule–was abused by UNEB, in designing all the five questions of Section B, the entire section, and, of course, exam, at large, were rendered null and void. Notice that, this is the same thing happening, even at the two levels of secondary school education – the reason, I, without fear, or favour, confidently and comfortably, conclude that all examinations administered by UNEB, at whichever level of instruction, are NULL AND VOID! You just cannot present a student with a so-called passage, extract, or poem, in the absence of a theme, and expect them to even move an inch–in as far as answering the question is concerned. There is always, ONLY one title–to a given piece of written information.
Even though we all know that there exists no half, quarter, or any kind of sentence that takes this shape, UNEB, has continually tasked our children, to write their answers with the aid of ‘full’ sentences. I wish to also task UNEB, to adduce evidence demonstrating how a half, quarter, or an eighth of a sentence, looks like. This business of teachers passing onto our children the same wrong information–that was passed unto them, ought to stop–forthwith. Arguably, our children deserve better–the reason, teachers, should not continue superimposing on them things that cannot be supported, in whichever way, simply because they [teachers] themselves, also studied the same things.
Mathematics, Integrated Science, and Social Studies with Religious Education
Time and space available, cannot allow me room analyze these three subjects, in whichever way. However, in the interest of creating awareness, I will only talk about two, or three things about the subjects, in question.
First and foremost, there is no subject–world-over, whose description can take the shape of ‘Integrated Science’, since, science of whatever nature, cannot, in be integrated, in whichever way. You just cannot integrate science.
While the different science disciplines, can, and, of course, do complement one another, each one of them, is handled, as an independent science. We do not integrate science. Besides, can UNEB, or NCDC, tell the public, which sciences are being integrated here? And can they help the public also understand, what the outcome is, after performing this integration? Unless these questions are answered, one cannot be condemned, whatsoever, when they conclude that, the subject called ‘Integrated Science’, or even ‘Science’, itself, is inexistent–and, therefore, it is being taught and assessed, in error.
Perhaps, UNEB and NCDC, can help the public understand what a person who studies ‘Integrated Science’ becomes, thereafter, aware of the fact that, a person who studies biological science, is described as a biological scientist, while one who studies chemical science (or simply, Chemistry), is referred to as a chemical scientist. UNEB also ought to be reminded that a person who studies computer science is described as a natural scientist, and one who studies communication science is called a communication scientist.
And when someone studies political science, we refer to him/her as a political scientist, yet one who studies social sciences, is known as a social scientist. Therefore, based on this convincingly presented analysis, according to UNEB, and, of course, NCDC, a person who studies integrated science, is known as who, exactly?
Take it, or leave it; believe it, or not, there is no subject called ‘Integrated Science’, world-over; whoever, is fronting this highly WRONG description, ought to find themselves, for, without doubt, they are lost sheep. You just CANNOT assess learners, under a wrong subject, and believe, or even, think, your assessment–can be considered valid, genuine, credible, and authentic, especially before an informed audience. For this reason, therefore, even without going into the details of the exam, it is evident that, everything about this exam was/is NULL AND VOID.
Social Studies with Religious Education
Just like the case for ‘Integrated Science’, even the subject called ‘Social Studies with Religious Education’, is inexistent. There is no subject, world-over, that carries the preposition ‘with’ in between the two variables, being combined, whatsoever. This description does not carry any lexical meaning, at all, implying that, everything about this subject/exam–in regard–to teaching and assessment is considered NULL AND VOID.
While a course, of whatever nature, can take the shape of the so-called subject ‘Social Studies with Religious Education’, a subject, as already indicated, just CANNOT. At undergraduate, for example, I pursued a course called–Bachelor of Arts with Education, and among the course units covered, was ‘Psychology of Assessment and Evaluation’, NOT, ‘Psychology of Assessment, with Evaluation’. Whoever, came up with this very meaningless, irrelevant, and, of course, wrong name, or description of this subject–‘Social Studies with Religious Education’, ought to re-visit their notes of Linguistics, with specific reference to lexicography–that is, if they have the will to learn, unlearn, and re-learn.
Surprisingly, even though, learners are required, to, as a MUST, attend to the same examination, or questions, in particular, when being assessed about the first level of the Bloom’s taxonomy, that is, knowledge (recall and reproduce), in this very controversial subject, this all-important rule is, as it is, with other rules, also abused by UNEB. Learners, here, are allowed the provision of ‘either’, ‘or’, where–those who opt for ‘either’ do questions relating to Christianity, while those that opt for ‘or’, attend to questions that relate to Islam.
Automatically, by creating room for choice, the entire exam, is considered null and void, since, by so doing, , it implies, the learner has been provided with a ‘two-in-one’ exam, something which is unacceptable when it comes to administration of an exam that is focusing at testing knowledge. This is the rule of thumb, and it cuts across, all subjects, and, of course, all levels of instruction. You do not need to be an expert in assessment, or critical thinking, to arrive at this conclusion. In a knowledge-seeking exam, every candidate, as a rule, MUST attend to the same questions. Short of this, the exam is considered null and void.
One also wonders, how a scholar, of Christian Theology (CT), or Islamic Theology (IT), such as Dr. Stephen Kazimba Mugalu, the Arch-bishop–Church of Uganda, or Dr. Khassim Nnakibinge, the patron of the Muslim Community in Uganda, respectively, fails, to have the mastery of the two faiths, but, a mere Grade III, teacher, can be in possession, of this knowledge. Nobody, world-over, can have the mastery of knowledge of more than one religion, regardless –the reason, even wrong questions are administered.
In fact, even when you look at the way these questions (i.e., questions on both Christianity and Islam), are designed, you, CANNOT, fail to see a group that is just doing a gamble–to arrive at its intended goal. Assessment items are NEVER arrived at, through practicing a gamble; assessment, as a rule, must be planned–lest you gamble, as is the case, here.
In question 40, for example, the learner, was tasked, with the responsibility of describing–who the mother of Ismael was according to the Bible. Hmmmmm! Precisely, the question read–
(40) Either: Who was the mother of Ismael according to the Holy Bible?
Hmmmmm! Where in the Bible do we find a person called Ismael? Besides, why did the examiner, zero-down on a particular type of Bible, which, by the way, also carries a wrong description. By and large, a Bible, just as a Qu’ ran, is a holy book, and so, it just, CANNOT again, be classified as ‘holy’, meaning–both descriptions–‘Holy Bible’ and ‘Holy Qu’ ran’, that have been in use, time immemorial, are inexistent.
Precisely, in the absence of an ‘Unholy Bible’, we cannot have a ‘Holy Bible’. Similarly, a ‘Holy Qu’ ran’, cannot also exist in the absence of an ‘Unholy Qu’ ran’. And as already noted, the Wh- question word ‘Who’ does not attract one single correct response, as required, in principle, once used in assessment–the reason–all questions that take this shape–are considered null and void.
Also worth noting is that, time immemorial, UNEB, has administered questions on Christianity and Islam, twice, something that can NEVER happen, even with a kindergarten quiz. You just cannot assess the learner about the same thing, more than once, in an authentically form of administered assessment, whatsoever. But, wrong as this is, UNEB has, shamelessly, decided to maintain it, as a routine–year-in-year-out. Precisely, questions 36-40 and questions 51-55, all focus at exactly the same thing.
No exam, world-over, can be designed this way, and still be considered valid, credible, reliable, and authentic–the reason, I stick to my guns, and say, whatever results, we have been getting from UNEB, over the years, were/are simply doctored, concocted, or cooked results, and so, are worthy being celebrated by any upright thinking person, because they are a product of WRONGLY administered examinations.
Mathematics is a subject that deals, with numbers–implying that, by its nature, it [Mathematics] is considered a problem-solving subject, regardless of the level of instruction in question. Precisely, in Mathematics we solve; simplify; find; draw; construct; change; write; calculate; determine; work out; compute. Never do we design Mathematical-related questions, or questions in a typical Mathematics exam, at whichever level of study, with the aid of Wh- words, because, as already indicated, by its nature, the subject calls for problem-solving, and not, simply memory.
This, therefore, means that, while designing a typical Mathematics exam, the examiner must be very conversant with three, out of the six levels of the Bloom’s taxonomy–namely–comprehension application, and synthesis. Arguably, whichever question is designed in a Mathematics examination with the aid of Wh- question words, is considered NULL AND VOID, because, as already stated, in Mathematics, we deal with STRICTLY problem solving, and not, merely memory (or recall and reproduce).
To arrive at the final answer, at whatever level, the candidate is, as a rule, required, to go through a series of steps, what has commonly, been described as ‘working’. Interestingly, this all-important, requirement has been ignored by UNEB, time immemorial, more so, at the primary school level. Arguably–this problem–is also evident, at the secondary school level, as well, but, at least, at this level, it is not, as pronounced, as it is, at the primary school level. In fact, presenting a student with a Level 1 question of the Bloom’s taxonomy, in whichever subject, and at whatever level of instruction, and expecting them, to give you, any detail, is TOTAL MADNESS–to say, the least!
For goodness sake, based on this HIGHLY, UNDISPUTABLE analysis, could there be anybody, who can still continue celebrating the 2020 PLE UNEB results, and, of course, all those other results that UNEB has been giving us, since 1980, unless he/she has a problem with his/her mental state of mind–to say the least? And surely, would anybody be wrong, if they task UNEB, to share its marking guides, with all beneficiaries, so that each, and everyone one of us, is made aware of how these questions/exams, WRONG, as they are, are actually marked, and graded, thereafter?
Take it, or leave it; believe it-or not; the team handling examinations in UNEB, is TOO, TOO, INCOMPETENT, to even handle a kindergarten quiz. Like earlier stated, if God has granted you the opportunity, to study up to S.4, and you have not, known yet, that our children–right from primary, throughout secondary school, and actually, even at university, are being subjected to exams, which are TYPICALLY WRONG in all aspects, then, you had better find yourself–because, without doubt, as already stated, you are lost sheep, among the many/few.
There is no doubt, the examinations administered by UNEB, at all the three levels of study (PLE, UCE, and UACE), as already, discussed, are TPICALLY WRONG, and, in all aspects. And since, this has been the trend, since the Board’s inception–in 1980, it automatically implies, that, whatever resources, more so, financial resources that government has been spending on UNEB, for the 41 years of its existence, for whatever reasons, have been put to waste.
Honestly speaking, all the money given to UNEB, to handle, for example, the 2020 three sets of examinations–PLE, UCE, and UACE, at whichever stage, was money, just PUT TO WASTE, for, as already noted, these exams were/are WRONG, in all aspects, of course, just like all the previous examinations, administered by UNEB. Thankfully, evidence of this, is already with, not only the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Kataaha Museveni, but also with the President, himself, as well.
Truth be told, whenever I look at UNEB exams, at all the three levels of instruction, I usually, ask myself, whether there is anybody, in this country, worth being called a scholar, or even teacher–to say the least. Our children, moreover, including those of scholars–doctors (PhD) and professors, are being introduced to COUNTLESS VOLUMES OF TYPICALLY WRONG CONTENT, at all levels of instruction, and instead of rising-up, and taking on the perpetrators, each one of us, is simply looking on–clapping and praising those destroying their future.
NCDC in the spotlight
The situation is not any different from UNEB’s accomplices at Kyambogo–National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC). Coming up with a comprehensive analysis in the loopholes of the curriculum requires ample time and space. But the good news is, a seemingly comprehensive analysis on the same [the curriculum], including the new curriculum for lower secondary school education, has already been done–and detail of this, has already been submitted to the minister–Maama Janet Museveni.
Publishing houses, including NCDC, are all busy, publishing and distributing, TYPICALLY WRONG literature, and instead of, standing-up, on our feet, and say, no, to such literature, we are instead, supporting the perpetrators by buying their publications, in insurmountable volumes. For heaven’s sake, where are we taking this country? Who is going to come to the rescue of these innocent youngsters, who have been introduced to a school system–that trains them, to only be obedient, rather than think, for themselves, surely, if we all sit back?
NCDC has TOTALLY, failed to assess the authenticity of the literature published by publishing houses–the reasons, the country, is grappling with countless volumes of WRONG literature, on market/shelf. Arguably, there is hardly, any publishing house (that is, if there is, any, anyway) in Uganda, producing authentic, genuine, and credible academic literature. But, in any case, if NCDC, a body meant to review, whatever literature, is meant for study purposes–in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, is producing its work from Google, moreover, in copy and paste form, how then, would one expect these publishing houses, whose core objective, is profit maximization, to give us credible literature?
Most disheartening, is that, even with all the funding obtained by NCDC, from both government, and international (donor) agencies, this has not stopped the Centre, from publishing COUNTLESS VOLUMES OF PLAGIARISED literature. Believe it, or not; take it, or leave it, a good number of books published by NCDC, contain countless volumes of plagiarized literature, as earlier noted, making them WRONG, as a result. Interestingly, these are the very books, relied upon, by UNEB in assessing our children, at the three levels of instruction. God have mercy!
No wonder, the very people, that are messing up NCDC, are still the very ones, relied upon by UNEB in performing its core duties of conducting and co-ordinating assessment–a clear indication that the LOOT obtained by NCDC, from both government and donor agencies, is actually shared between NCDC and UNEB. You cannot imagine, the biggest percentage of the home-schooling materials, that NCDC, is disseminating, in whichever form, is simply googled, and the best we have done, is to clap, the Centre, for the well-done.
Oh God, save my country, Uganda–for it is has been attacked, and the enemy, is deeply rooted in the education sector. In Jesus’ name I pray. How do you praise a person, or an agency, who/that has specialized in squandering resources, meant to benefit the majority, more so, the people whose chances, other factors constant, of having the opportunity, to see, the twenty-second (22nd) century?
Resources meant for training teachers, whenever a curriculum review is rolled out, are always squandered in broad-day light, and because, the offenders have their ‘God-fathers’ deeply rooted at Embassy House, even when you wish to amicably engage them, they will not accord you the opportunity, as they will simply hang-up, once they notice you are the one line. Your Excellency, this matter, is already with you, at your desk; please kindly, do us good, as a country, and make use of the powers vested in you, by the Constitution, and take appropriate action, against these people, who are determined, to take back Uganda, to where, you got it from, thirty-five (35) years, ago.
To make matters worse, Your Excellency, even when you write to the authorities–their [NCDC’s] response–is–you can write; write, and write, until you cannot, write anymore! No wonder, even petitioning the IGG–Inspector General of Government, cannot, in anyway, be of help to the petitioner, provided, the matter involves UNEB, or NCDC. This is the extent to which the ‘demi-gods’ in both UNEB and NCDC, are determined to protect their dominions, regardless, of course, at the expense of my motherland–Uganda.
Maama Janet, I strongly believe, like I have always told you, throughout all my correspondences, the President, sent you to this ministry, to help him, cleanse it up, and I have no doubt, you are yet, to act, in favour of Uganda, and NOT, the dogs, that are out of their cage, and more than determined, to destroy this country, beyond recognition.
Maama, you just, cannot imagine, that, nowadays, instead of UNEB, waiting for NCDC’s plagiarized content, they [UNEB], have resorted to downloading exams from Google’s Wikipedia. Hmmmm! Surely, must we look on, while UNEB is turning to Google, moreover, from one of the most untrusted search engines, Wikipedia, to assess, our children? Over my body!
Maama, the reports you are getting from UNEB, concerning examinations, are TYPICALLY WRONG! These people are simply, FOOLING you, the President, and the country, at large! There is not anything correct about their examinations! UNEB exams, at all the three levels of instruction, as already mentioned, are WRONG; WRONG; WRONG, AND TYPICALLY WRONG, in each, and every assessment-related aspect.
These exams do not portray any form of critical thinking, as argued by UNEB. Examinations are set, with the aid of TYPICALLY WRONG ENGLISH, worst of all, including exams of English Language and Literature in English, at all levels of study. The elements of language/linguistics–lexicography, pragmatics, syntax, semantics, orthography, phonetics, and many more, are all not known to UNEB. The Bloom’s taxonomy, on which the teaching-learning process, of which, assessment, is part, largely depends, is not known, to UNEB – the reason, UNEB has specialized in administering TYPICALLY WRONG examinations.
You cannot imagine, that even after receiving/’reading’, my latest article of the 2020 PLE results, which article, has, without doubt, reached every corner of this world, the officials from NCDC, including the director, Grace Baguma, chose to block me on WhatsApp, of course, with some, doing so, after intimidating me, instead of engaging me, of course, on academic grounds, like many have done. Arguably, unless the appointing authority–notably the President, of course, with advice from the minister–Maama Janet Museveni, takes appropriate action, against officials within the Education Ministry, of course starting with UNEB and NCDC, the problems affecting our education, (of which assessment, is part), as a country, are here to stay.
Teaching is based on cram work–rote learning
Once again, I wish to remind you, dear fellow parents; ladies and gentlemen, that our children, as earlier noted, are being introduced to COUNTLESS VOLUMES OF WRONG CONTENT, at all levels of instruction, almost in every subject. You do not need to be an expert in the education field, to arrive at this conclusion. While working on this write-up, I came across, a Primary Two (P.2) question paper, of Literacy B, of one of the prominent primary schools in Wakiso district–that had a question, which read–
(3) Where is money kept safely?
I engaged the parent, and proudly gave the obvious answer, as bank. Thankfully, this lady was very willing to listen to me; to cut the long story short, we part after agreeing with me that the question was not only WRONG, grammatically, but was, also WRONG, because of the ambiguity, it carried/carries. Just see how, a person whose is EXTREMELY POOR at observation, reasoning, and thinking, among other things, is destroying a 6, 7, or 8 year old! Must one be at the stage of writing their PhD thesis report to know that money can be kept safely, in as many places, as one can think of, surely?
To whoever is going to read this article, do you see how people–commonly referred to as teachers are brainwashing our children, moreover, at such a tender age? For goodness sake, how does someone graduate as a teacher, from college, when they do not know, how to design, assessment? Is there any teaching taking place in our colleges (PTCs) and university, surely, basing on what is practically happening in school?
Someone graduates from college, or even university, when they do not know that the Wh- question word ‘Where’, just like that of ‘Who’, is ambiguous, and so, CANNOT, for whatever reasons, be used in assessment, and they also, proudly, refer to themselves, as teachers? Surely, are we being true to ourselves?
Actually, this question prompted me, to conduct a telephone interview, and, out of the 41 persons contacted, 19 of whom–were primary school teachers, while 9–were secondary school teachers, and only 2, who were, moreover, not anywhere near, the elite class, provided me with alternative answers. Among the answers received from these two, included–under the carpet; in a safe; in a drawer; in a piggy bank; on an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card; on a mobile phone; in a house; in a pot; in a tin; in books; under the mattress; in a pillow.
Interestingly, of the primary school teachers contacted, 11, made it clear to me, that, they actually knew nothing about the appearance of a credit, or visa card, after asking them, about the same. One wonders then, how a person who has never seen a credit card (CC), for the years they have lived and/or taught, begins, asking a child, who might even be in possession of his/her own card, at the age of 6, 7, or 8, such a kind of question.
Without doubt, the rate at which teachers are brainwashing our children–at all levels of study, even at post-graduate, is just immeasurable, and if appropriate action, is not taken, we might end up with a generation that is, not only poor at critical thinking, but also greatly lacking in self-esteem–the reason, I am calling upon all stakeholders, to rise-up, and assist in putting the wrong right.
Remember, since self-assertion involves standing-up, for one’s rights, and, of course, the rights of others, by speaking out, on your own, and also on people’s behalf, it is believed that–Every human, has three basic rights, and these include, the–
(1) Right to refuse;
(2) Right to request, and
(3) Right to correct the wrong.
I am sure, you have all come across the question, of–Where do you live? Surely, by the time you subject a learner, to such a kind of vague, question (under a formal arrangement, of course), as a teacher, what is it, exactly–that you want to exactly achieve, or measure?
I personally live in Uganda, among other places, for example. I live in East Africa. I also live in Africa. I live in Wakiso. I live in Kampala metropolitan region. I live in Kyadondo East. I live in Kawanda. I live in Namirembe diocese. I live in Kampala Muslim district. I live in Buganda. I live in the central part of Uganda. So, can the teacher, misleading our children, tell me, which one, two, or three, of the aforementioned answers, is wrong? And Can this person also tell me, why the answer(s), singled out, are wrong?
I will bring this write-up to an end with the aid of Napoleon I’s words–‘The world is suffering not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people’. It is actually, this adage–that compelled me to rise up, and embark on a campaign, dubbed–‘Restore sanity in the education of my motherland–Uganda’, on completion of my undergraduate studies in Makerere. Reading about the Toyota Production System (TPS), at my post-graduate studies, specifically, the principle of–‘Improve quality by exposing the wrong’, energized me even the more, compelling me to soldier on.
Fellow countrymen, of course, including women, regardless of how wealthy and/or propertied you might be, we need to fight on–until such a time when sanity, is restored in our education, as a country–for, without doubt, our children’s future is only guaranteed when every school-going child/adult, attains the education they deserve, regardless. Please be reminded that, once we do not act now–our inactions and blunders, will automatically, become the burdens of our children.
Like Martin Luther King (Jr), once said, ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but rather comes through continuous struggle’; I we all reflect on King’s words–for it is change that we need to revolutionize our country’s education. To my lovely President–whatever is written in here, and much more, is already at your desk, I pray you come out, steady-fast – and assist us, as a population, that is so patriotic about our country–kill the elephant in the room.
It is this elephant [conflict of interest], as put before you, in my write-up dated June 13, 2021, submitted and received on June 16, 2021, that is destroying Uganda’s education to the bliss. It is because of conflict of interest that even examination malpractice, has become a norm. Your Excellency, everything wrong about education is deeply rooted in Embassy House – the reason you need to rise-up now, and take appropriate action. To our mother–Maama Janet Museveni, all our eyes are on you–of course, as a mother of the nation, and more so, as the chief of education in the country. Maama, please kindly come to our rescue–because ‘we cannot breathe’; ‘education cannot breathe’, any more.
With all due respect, Maama Janet, we just cannot continue celebrating WRONG results, as a routine, while the offenders, are continually messing up the future of the next generation, moreover, with impunity. Please kindly, let 2020, be the last year, our children are doing WRONG exams. Believe it, or not; take it, or leave, UNEB has NEVER given you, correct results, for the five years, you have spent at Embassy House. Like I have told you, throughout all my correspondences, in July 2021, you shall be releasing your 5th set of TYPICALLY FALSE results, and oh yeah, this is already ongoing.
Without doubt, Maama, and the public, at large, the people [candidates] described as FAILURES, by UNEB, are actually the ones, who pass these exams, since, I strongly believe, it is these candidates, referred to, as failures, by UNEB, who, most likely, attend to these exams, the way they are set, AND NOT, those candidates, myself inclusive, whose performance we are, celebrating. Maama, as earlier mentioned, I have no doubt, the decision you are bound to take–will be taken in favour of the oppressed, and not these few selfish, individuals, destroying our country, mercilessly. It will be a decision taken in favour of Uganda, for without doubt, Uganda, is beyond, each one, of us. I beg to submit! For God and My Country!
Educationist–communication and language skills analyst
0770880185 (WhatsApp 0702303190)
EDITORIAL NOTE: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect our editorial stance.