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Prof. Mary Okwakol speech as UNEB releases 2020 PLE results

Honourable Ministers of State for Education

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports

The Executive Director, Uganda National Examinations Board

Senior Members of Staff of the Ministry and UNEB

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After a long period characterised by a lot of risks and uncertainties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uganda National Examinations Board is ready to present to you, Hon Minister, the results of the Primary Leaving Examination for the year 2020. The examination was taken on 30th and 31st March, 2021.

Hon Minister, the nature of examination administration is such that a lot of activities could not be done remotely or virtually. These activities ranged from candidates taking the examination to marking and processing the results. They necessitated nearly 750,000 candidates coming together in examination rooms across the country, over 30,000 examination supervisors and invigilators to conduct the examination, and about 6,000 examiners, checkers and adjudicators and other temporary staff at 12 examiners marking venues.

The Board, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Sports COVID-19 Taskforce, its own UNEB COVID-19 taskforce and guided by the Ministry of Health SOPs, put in place measures that ensured the wearing of masks, social distancing, use of sanitisers and taking temperatures, especially at marking venues.

We thank the Almighty God that the process of the field conduct of PLE, the marking and processing of the examination results went on smoothly, without any COVID-19 related incidents or fatality.

The Board is very grateful to you, Hon Minister, to Parliament and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for the supplementary funding which enabled it to meet the increased costs of administration of the examination.

Statistics on registration show that the number of registered candidates went up with a larger percentage than ever before. This was contrary to expectation and so the Board undertook a study to find out the reason for this increase. One of the findings is that in the districts of Kampala, Wakiso and some urban centres elsewhere, a number of headteachers admitted that they registered Primary Six pupils, mostly girls, to sit the PLE. The reason given was that parents were worried about girls’ fast growth, and the uncertainties surrounding their going back to school soon.

Details on candidate performance are contained in the Release Statement that will be presented by the Executive Director. We note with satisfaction that results are comparable to the previous year despite the closure of schools.

Hon Minister, cases of examination malpractice in this examination were reported and are being investigated. The Board notes with great concern that in some districts, those assigned to distribute examination materials to examination centres were caught trying to access the contents during transportation. The Board appeals to the local government authorities in all the districts to take keen interest in all the stages of examination management in their districts.

Hon Minister, the Board is grateful to you for steering the UNEB Bill through all the stages to enactment by Parliament and accent by H E the President. We now have the UNEB Act No 1 of 2021 which has given the Board more functions and powers. The sanctions are much more deterrent than in the repealed law.


The Board has planned to hold sensitisation workshops for all stakeholders across the country to discuss the implications of the new Act. This activity will be carried out as soon as conditions allow.

I thank you very sincerely, Hon. Minister, for the support that you have given to the Board to ensure that through this very difficult time we were able to deliver on our mandate.

I thank all the persons who participated and carried out various roles in the successful management of the 2020 PLE. I congratulate the successful candidates and the teachers who prepared them for the examination.

Finally, I am grateful to the Executive Director and Staff of the Secretariat for the commitment and hard work that ensured smooth conduct of the examination despite the challenges, and to my colleagues on the Board for the guidance provided

I now request the Executive Director to present the Statement of Release of the 2020 Primary Leaving Examination.

Professor Mary J N Okwakol



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