In Kasese district, students preparing to take the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations set by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) have expressed confidence and optimism due to the increased presence of police and army personnel.
These students believe that the enhanced security presence ensures their safety as they begin their UCE exams. Their sentiments were shared on Monday when New Vision Online interviewed several students from various schools in the region just before they took the first examination.
This positive response from the students comes in the wake of three recent attacks by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels along the Uganda-DR Congo border, with the most recent attack occurring on October 13, 2023. During this ambush, a moving trailer was destroyed, resulting in two fatalities and two injured individuals who were later treated at Bwera General Hospital.
These attacks had a particularly traumatic impact on S4 candidates, as the first attack on June 16, 2023, resulted in the loss of over 42 lives, many of whom were students from Mpondwe Lhubiria Senior Secondary School.
In response to these security concerns, the government has taken measures to bolster security in schools and other government institutions, with a specific focus on healthcare facilities to ensure the safety of all.
- Augustine Lobe, a 19-year-old candidate from Hillside High School in Mpondwe Lhubiriha town council, initially considered leaving school due to fear caused by the ADF attacks. However, the reassurance from the school’s headteacher about UPDF protection has instilled confidence in him.
- Jovilet Biira, a student at King Jesus College Mubuku, expressed how the ADF attack on Mpondwe Lhubiriha SSS on June 16, 2023, left her traumatized and anxious about her final exams. She has since regained hope and confidence in her ability to excel, thanks to UPDF patrols around their school.
- Catherine Atukwase, a student at Standard High School in Nyamwamba division, commended the government for ensuring the security of students during this crucial time in their education.
School Authorities’ Perspective:
- Herbert Muhindo, a deputy headteacher, urged the government to establish surveillance in border areas to prevent potential attacks on schools and other facilities. This would alleviate the trauma and fear experienced by students, teachers, and parents.
- Robert Baliyo called on the government to comprehensively strengthen security throughout the district, as rebels might attempt to target schools during final examinations to gain global attention.
- Godfrey Kabbyang, the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance, assured students, teachers, and parents of increased security in schools and government facilities. He encouraged S4 candidates to maintain a positive mindset to succeed in their examinations.