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UNEB’s Overview of 2023 UACE Results: Understanding the Numbers

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2023 UACE Results
Screengrab — X/Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB)


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The Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), Dan Odongo, has disclosed the outcomes of the 2023 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examination. Historically, admission to degree programs has required a minimum of two Principal level passes. This year, 80,643 candidates, constituting 73.7% of the total, meet this criterion, marking an increase from 70.3% in 2022. The rise correlates with improved overall performance and a notable surge in examination participation in 2023. Additionally, 90.7% of candidates qualify for admission to tertiary institutions when considering one Principal and two Subsidiary passes, compared to 89.3% in 2022.

At Luzira Upper prison, 34 inmates (30 males and 4 females) undertook the examination, and all achieved the UACE certificate.

There is a progressive increase in candidates opting for Mathematics and the Sciences, particularly in Mathematics. Although male candidates outnumber females, proportionally, female candidates have showcased better performance. Over the past three years, female candidates have consistently exhibited higher percentage passes at upper levels (3P and 2P), with lower failure rates compared to males. However, female representation in these subjects remains below half of the total candidature, a trend attributed to low pass rates in Mathematics and Sciences at the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) level, affecting progression to UACE.

The 2023 UACE examination witnessed 110,553 candidates registering across 2,102 centers, a notable increase from 97,890 candidates in 2022. Of these, 47,226 (42.7%) were female and 63,339 (57.3%) were male. The number of candidates appearing for the examination also rose to 109,488, with 46,860 (42.8%) females and 62,628 (57.2%) males. Despite this surge, female representation remains consistently lower than males at this level.

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Professor Celestino Obua, UNEB Chairperson, highlighted the ongoing preference for Humanities over Sciences in UACE entries, albeit with a positive upward trend. Notably, candidates are achieving improved results, particularly at the upper level of obtaining 3 Principal passes. Female candidates continue to outperform males proportionally across all levels, showing lower failure rates and stronger performance in individual subjects. However, there persists a disparity in female representation in Mathematics and Science combinations, despite their commendable performance in these subjects.

In addressing this paradox, Professor Obua urged reflection on why female candidates shy away from STEM subjects despite demonstrating proficiency comparable to, if not better than, their male counterparts.

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