Senior One Selection Compromised
By Our Reporters
The ongoing selection exercise of “successful” candidates who sat PLE last year to join government secondary schools in Senior One has been discredited by observers, experts and parents in general.
Dr. Jane Egau, the new chairperson of the national selection and placement committee, has been quoted in the local press as admitting to “irregularities” in the selection process and confessing that everyone knows what is happening in the selection as it is a “public secret” and that something must be done soon as the mess compromised exercise should not be allowed to continue as it is.
The selection chairperson says schools tend to under-declare the available S1 places to the committee and keeping the rest to transact as they wish, which results in overcrowding of classrooms.
She also cited the tendency of schools to set very high cutoff points while using different criteria to dispose of the bulk of the places.
As more Ugandan parents lose faith in the once credible selection process, the tricks used by headteachers to profiteer are being revealed both by victims and beneficiaries of the selection racket. The commonest and safest trick is to thrust a long list of requirements in the face of a poor parent whose child has scored highly and qualified to be admitted, even given the admission letter. The slightest delay to meet the stiff bills ends in the place being sold to a rich parent for a minimum of ten million shillings and the poor child being classified as having “lost interest” in the school.
To cover their crime, the headteachers maintain a policy of discontinuing students who do not meet a high, set mark at the end of Senior One, hence the big discrepancy in the numbers enrolled and those that sit for O’level four years later. So in effect, those who buy the places in the schools end up buying for only one year, unless the child really works hard and makes the mark for promotion to S2.
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