Our learners need career guidance to excel in life
The Ministry of Education and Sports recently released Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (U.A.C.E) results.
This results marks the last set of 2022 national examinations to be released after Primary Leaving Examinations (P.L.E) and Uganda Certificate of Examinations (U.C.E) respectively that were released in early February.
Last year, some 96,557 candidates were registered for U.A.C.E from 1969 centres.
While releasing these results, Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) Executive Secretary, Mr. Daniel Odongo was not amused by candidates cracking jokes in an exercise as important as final exams that determine their future – hence leading to scoring of zero marks out of 100 per cent in many papers.
“Some zero scores were recorded in many papers. One of the candidates decided to just copy out all questions in one of the papers while the other wrote ‘Mr. examiner you are still wasting your valuable time on me when there are other serious candidates. I’m the stone that the builder refused,” Odongo quoted candidates’ jokes in Advanced level exams.
The State Minister for Higher Education Dr. J.C Muyingo wondered how a candidate can spend six years attending secondary education and completely fails to score a single mark in an exam.
“I wish to emphasise the importance of career guidance to our students. When a student scores zero at this moment, we have to get concerned about this problem. Is it the food they eat? Is it the teachers who failed these candidates? What does this mean to us? When a candidate scores zero at A ‘Level, there are many questions on our minds”, wondered Muyingo.
When you analyse the Ministry of Educations ‘officials’ comments, you realised that the there is great need of career guidance and counselling to shape our learners before sitting for national exams.
My Primary school, Lugazi East Day and Boarding P/S, always invites me to guide primary seven candidates before sitting for their final Primary Leaving Examination (P.L. E) mainly to inculcate confidence as well as sensitizing the learners.
However, during these UNEB examination release festivities, many questions come to my mind.
For example, apart from coaching for academic excellence, do these star performers get proper career guidance?
Is it necessary any way to publicise these brilliant candidates in newspapers? Is it not an invasion of their academic privacy?
Aren’t these publications not the major cause of the rampant increase in academic malpractices in search of good performance for publicity purposes to attract more students hence more fees?
Finally, what is the fate of these brilliant performers in real life after studies?
Every year, Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) publishes best candidates in Primary, Secondary (Ordinary and Advanced) levels respectively, but what actually happens to them in real life after studies.
For the case of Primary, a research should be made to access their performance in secondary, university and work place after studies in order to compare their class brilliance to work performance.
Without clear career guidance, most brilliant performers even fail to be admitted on government sponsorship due to poor university course selections.
Imagine a student who did arts applying for a science based course?
Also students who offer science courses may opt for very competitive courses that result into the institutions raising ever higher pass marks that leave many well-performing students miss out on government scholarship like Medicine and Pharmacy.
While still a student at Makerere University offering Bachelors of Mass Communication, I also interacted with students who rejected their government sponsored-courses which they considered inferior opting for costly sounding privately paid courses which they always fail to handle financially he missing on both government and private offers. All these are as a result of poor career guidance.
Hundreds of students in rural schools have continued to miss government sponsorship in tertiary institutions or public Universities due to poor career guidance while filling their Joint Admissions Board (JAB) forms.
According to some officials from the JAB department, the Ministry rarely funds career guidance programs allegedly due to lack of resources.
In A’ Level, each student is supposed to fill three forms, the computer forms (Form X) that indicates ones’ index number, names and subjects offered.
The two other forms, PUJAB and JAB are meant for Universities and other tertiary institutions admissions respectively.
However, most students are not guided especially on the courses that correspond with their combinations.
Let the Ministry of Education and Sports reinstate career guidance to sharp candidates in this completive world to avoid future zero scores in Uganda Advanced Certificate Education (U.A.C.E) exams.