Kampala. Luzira Prison inmates who sat for last year’s Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations have all qualified for Advanced level education.
According to the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) results released yesterday, 40 of the 44 inmates who sat for the examinations at Upper Prison Inmates Secondary School passed between Division One and Division Four.
Four candidates passed in Division one; five in Division Two; 10 in Division three while 21 passed in Division Four. Four did not attain any grade. Five of the candidates were female.
Morrish Ogema, a rape and murder convict, who is serving a 15-year sentence emerged the best with Agg 21.
The jubilant Ogema, 22, from Dokolo District, said he had dropped out of school in Senior Two. He, however, wants to join Advanced level and pursue his dream of becoming a teacher.
“The environment here is not good for one to read and in the night, lights are switched off at 10pm. So the best alternative for me was to read from toilet at night because that is where light is. I thank the prison authorities and the teachers for encouraging me to study,” Ogema said.
He appealed to the Ministry of Education to provide science laboratory to enable them do science subjects and compete with other schools
Others who scored first grade are Geoffrey Mawa (Agg 30), Hassan Musa Nganda ( Agg 32) and Patrick Aliga who scored Agg 28.
“I sat Senior Four before coming to prison and I got fourth grade but upon coming here, I got encouraged to resume studies and I am happy for making it. I sat with my two sisters and I am sure I challenged them,” said Mawa who is on remand pending trial before the High Court.
Mawa, 26, wants to join Advanced level to pursue his dream in political science.
Mr Dennis Mujuni, the inmate head teacher of the school, said the performance has improved despite the challenges of lack of facilitation and adequate materials for study.
“This is an encouraging performance because candidates of last year were very bright compared to the previous one. They were much focused and exhibited teamwork,” Mr Mujuni, a pioneer teacher in the prison narrated.
Mr Mujuni said despite the environment in prison, candidates excelled. “Aggregate 21 in prison is worthy celebrating. If these people have a chance to revise at night, they would perform better,” he said.
In 2015, there were 38 candidates of which four passed in Division One; nine in Division Two; 12 in Division Three while 13 passed in Division Four.
The school head teacher, Mr Gilbert Nuwamanya, commended the candidates for the discipline exhibited during the year and was optimistic that they would perform better in the next level.
“If we had better space, our performance would be better than this. Because, for instance, women have no space to study, they read under the trees,” he said.
Mr Frank Baine, the spokesperson of the Uganda Prison Service, described the performance as ‘an improvement’ in the young prison based school.
“Given the prison conditions, the performance of our candidates is an encouragement to other inmates to embrace education which is form rehabilitation,” Mr Baine said.
He said education in prisons seeks to increase the level of rehabilitation thereby reducing re-offending rates in the country.
“We believe that when people come to prison, they should use their time well because they have all it takes to study and transform their lives,” Mr Baine said.