The ministry of education and sports is urging private schools to take part in the secondary school selection process so that learners have a wide range of choices and also to decrease on possibilities of placing students who later fail to turn up where they are placed.
The call was made during the Senior Five selection exercise that begun today at the Uganda Manufacturers Association conference hall in Kampala. The exercise is going to place students who sat for either the Uganda Certificate of Education examinations or their equivalent.
The exercise will also place learners in Primary Teachers Colleges and Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training- BTVET students at the Uganda manufacturers association – UMA conference center
Benson Kule Babitazare, the chairperson selection committee who also doubles as the commissioner in charge of secondary education under the directorate of basic education notes that more than half of the private schools in the country don’t take part in the selection process.
The commissioner notes since the ministry wishes to ensure that all students who passed UCE go to the next level of education, at times they are left in a fix as they struggle to place all the children in a few registered schools and in many cases end up not turning up at the schools where they have been placed.
Data from the education ministry shows that there are over 4,000 private schools in the country. Kule says that with such high numbers, it’s important for all private schools to be added onto the list of schools. He says the practice of private schools keeping away from the exercise leaves many learners at a disadvantage.
According the commissioner in charge of Guidance and Counselling, Mary Harriet Ajilong says the process of schooling being added onto the selection list is easy. According to her, schools do not pay any money. However, only registered schools can be added onto the list.
“This is a free process. Once they are registered they just have to apply t the at our office so that we generate for them a placement code which learner’s will use while filling form X,” said Ajilong.
Kule notes that this year they have already placed 207,649 Students. 100,580 have been posted to Universal Post O-Level Education and Training and Universal Secondary School institutions.4,100 students have been placed at Business Technical Vocational and Education Training institutions-BTVET while 8319 were placed in Primary Teachers Colleges. A total of 74,049 were placed in private schools.
Kule however notes that at the end of the excited the number might increase as they are a number which have not placed after failing to meet cut off points for the schools of their first choice or minimum entry requirements for several institutions.
Meanwhile, schools this year have decided to either decrease or maintain last year’s cutoff points. Schools like Makerere College School maintained their cutoff points with boys at 17 and girls at 19. St Henry’s Kitovu also maintained their cut off points at 17.
John Baptist Tumusiime, the director of studies at St Henry’s Kitovu says they decided to maintained their cut off points because students performed poorly at UCE.
Nabisunsa Girls School reduced it’s cut off points from 17 in 2018 to 18 in 2019. Hajji Badru Kimera, the deputy headteacher says they were forced to lower their cut off points because the performance at UCE last year was poor.
“The 2019 performance was lower than that of 2018. So many of our old and new students want to come to the school but will not do so if we increase out cut-off points,” said Tumusiime.