UCU students to write final exams inside churches as reopening nears

BY: Eyalama In Business, News On
Education Minister Janet Museveni
Education Minister Janet Museveni

Uganda Christian University is to deliver examination papers to churches for students staying in hard to reach areas without internet access.

Since the government declared the lockdown following the outbreak of Covid-19, this is the second time UCU is attempting to give out examinations to its finalists.

The first attempt was cancelled by the government questioning its mode of setting, supervision and accessibility by students.

Now according to the deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic affairs Rev. Dr John Kitayimbwa, after consulting with students in different parts of the country with low internet connect, they suggested that the university deliver papers to churches under various dioceses for easier access.

Uganda

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Rev.Dr John Kitayimbwa, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academic affairs.
Rev.Dr John Kitayimbwa, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academic affairs.

He notes that the rest of the students with internet access shall receive examinations from the university official online platforms stressing that all papers shall be written as a take home instead of being written online.

About supervision of papers to avoid examination mal-practice, Dr Kitayimbwa reveals that they have set situational questions that do not calls for facts but require students to undertake practical activities.

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He explains that this will give them no chance of copying already written answers; the examination desk has also ensured installation of plagiarism detection programs to ensure proper assessment before awarding of marks.

The university is sure that by September 15 all students will have access to examinations that are expected to go on for a full month.

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Before the lockdown was relaxed in May, over 300 students from UCU had chosen to stay in various hostels to complete their final examinations before returning home but the program was cancelled  by the government. 

Ruth Akwir, a fourth-year student of agricultural sciences and entrepreneurship skills together with Fred Atuhera, a third-year business student among others who had stayed in the hostels noted that it would be very difficult for them to write examinations at home since they lack gadgets such as computers, smart phones and internet in their home areas.

Education Minister Janet Museveni
Education Minister Janet Museveni

The Education Ministry has drafted new guidelines to offer actionable guidance for safe reopening and running of education institutions and reduce the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning.   

Although the government is yet to officially announce dates for the reopening of schools, several sources have already reported that Education institutions shall reopen starting September 20, for candidate classes (P7, S4, and S6) and final year students in higher institutions of learning.   

To have a smooth reopening, authorities have held a series of meetings and developing possible working documents to guide the process with the latest offering guidance on several aspects ranging from school fees, reopening of international and special needs school, management of staff, and the effective utilization of schools’ facilities among others.   

Fresh ideas considered include among others the possible full capacity reopening of schools for learners with special needs and international schools provided they can adhere to the social distancing of at least two meters.  

“…given that these schools follow the school calendar of their international affiliates and their candidate classes do not correspond to the standard education cycles in Uganda, international schools in Uganda may reopen and operate at full capacity with effect from 21 Sept,” the document reads in part.

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