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UACE: Private Schools Excel Over Government Aided Schools


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The recently released 2023 Uganda Advanced Certificate Examinations (UACE) once again highlighted a persistent trend: private schools outperformed government-aided schools. Despite improvements in overall performance compared to previous years, institutions implementing the Universal Post O-Level Education and Training (UPOLET) program lagged behind their private counterparts.

According to data from the Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb), out of the 110,553 candidates who registered for the 2023 UACE, 109,488 sat for the final exams. Within this cohort, 24,679 students were enrolled under the UPOLET program, a slight increase from the previous year’s 17,321.

Uneb’s statistics revealed a stark contrast in performance between government-aided and private schools. While the best-performing UPOLET school achieved an average of 18 points, none attained average scores of 17 or 16. In contrast, private schools boasted higher average scores, with some achieving 17, 16, 15, and even 14 points.

The discrepancy was further underscored by the fact that the worst-performing UPOLET schools scored merely one average point, whereas the lowest-performing private institutions did not register any average points.

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Jennifer Kalule, Uneb’s principal public relations officer, expressed uncertainty regarding the persistent underperformance of government-aided schools. Meanwhile, John Chrysostom Muyingo, the junior Higher Education minister, attributed the issue to leadership challenges within these institutions.

Muyingo acknowledged that while some government-aided schools excel, others struggle due to inadequate supervision and infrastructure deficits such as library and laboratory facilities. He emphasized the crucial role of school leadership, including head teachers, school inspectors, and management committees, in ensuring educational quality.

The minister highlighted the correlation between parental involvement in school leadership and academic success, emphasizing the need for active participation from all stakeholders. Despite existing challenges, Muyingo assured continued government support for schools, subject to resource availability.

The disparity in academic performance between private and government aided schools underscores the need for comprehensive reforms to address systemic issues and ensure equitable access to quality education for all students in Uganda.

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