The Uganda National Examinations Board has released the 2016 Uganda Certificate of Education results, indicating a slight drop in performance compared to 2015.
However, there was improved performance among non-Universal Secondary Education (USE) candidates.
Last year, 23,489 students passed in Division I, 44,307 passed in Division II, 63,072 passed in Division III, 142,479 passed in Division IV while 41,632 were ungraded.
In 2015, 25,750 passed in Division I, 74,392 (Division II), 144,805 (Division III), 274,863 (Division IV) while 304,456 candidates were ungraded.
The examinations body said 323,276 candidates registered but 316,624 showed up for the exams.
Despite a slight improvement in Biology, the percentage pass levels for science subjects remain low, according to Uneb.
Mr Daniel Odongo, the Uneb executive secretary said examiners realised that students find it difficult in the use of correct grammar, spelling, tenses and punctuations while writing English compositions.
He said some teachers make students cram passages from books, making learners to reproduce text book answers when responding to questions requiring imaginative composition.
He said despite efforts by the Ministry of Education to avail laboratory chemicals and equipment, there is still evidence of theoretical teaching of sciences in most schools.
“Students experienced problems in handling apparatus during practical tests and found difficulty with questions requiring explanation,” he said.
He said some Science teachers masquerade as laboratory technicians to help candidates to write answers.
Mr Odongo said the USE programme has enabled a number of disadvantaged children to attain UCE level. The breakdown indicates that 59 student were, low vision (75), deaf (62), dyslexics (15), physically handicapped (63) while 92 students with minor disability forms needed extra time.
Education Minister Janet Museveni said Uganda’s greatest challenge is improving the quality of education to empower learners with skills needed in the world of work.
“Regrettably, teaching is geared to passing exams. Teachers no longer assess their students,” she said.
She said it is disturbing to note that despite government’s investment to improve performance in sciences, the performance is still low.