On Monday, October 16, 2023, as the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations commenced, 13 candidates from Bukomansimbi District were unable to participate. This information was confirmed by Patrick Zziwa, the District Education Officer (DEO) of Bukomansimbi.
The affected students came from various schools, including Victor’s SS Kitaasa, St Joseph SS Butenga, and Misanvu SS. Zziwa reported that out of the 1,264 registered candidates in the district, 13 were absent due to different domestic issues.
One student from Kitaasa did not attend due to domestic violence at home, while three girls from Butenga ran away from their homes on the morning of the exam. Other students disappeared from school immediately after registration.
In addition to these challenges, Zziwa expressed concerns about the high prices of science equipment, such as chemicals and apparatuses, required for UCE exam practicals. He urged the government to assist in providing these essential items, particularly in rural areas like Bukomansimbi, where school administrators struggle to acquire them.
Gerevazio Ssenyonga, the head teacher of St. Victor’s SS Kitaasa, acknowledged the government’s provision of sufficient books for the new curriculum but highlighted the government’s failure to supply necessary equipment for students during national examinations. He suggested that the government should offer these items at subsidized prices to schools with limited budgets.
Ssenyonga also pointed out that schools in the area only conduct practicals during the final examination period, affecting the students’ performance in science subjects. The government used to provide schools in Bukomansimbi District with apparatus and chemicals, but this support ceased a few years ago. As a result, the cost of acquiring these items has increased significantly, putting a strain on school budgets. Mariam Nakaliisa, the head teacher of Bukomansimbi SS, echoed this concern, citing the considerable price hike of laboratory equipment.