The Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB will accord an extra 45 minutes to pregnant and breastfeeding candidates during the Uganda Certificate of Education examinations due to start on Monday 1st March 2021 and end in April.
According to the commencement of examination statement issued by UNEB’s Executive Secretary, Dan Odongo, the said group of learners and others with circumstantial impairments like asthma and epilepsy will be given more time to complete the examination.
The UNEB guidelines stipulate that candidates with special needs are always given 45 extra minutes, but such learners’ condition is always documented on registration. These include the visually impaired, those with hearing impairment, the physically handicapped, and children suffering from dyslexia, among others. This is the first time that special consideration is given to pregnant, breastfeeding and asthmatic learners.
UNEB spokesperson Jennifer Kalule said, “ We’ve included the said group of learners under the special needs category under our new draft policy documents, given the fact that they need special treatment”.
With the effects of COVID-19 school closure, several learners reportedly got pregnant. Unlike before when pregnant learners were shunned from schools, the education ministry last year worked on popularizing learning for pregnant students by allowing them to continue learning.
Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Education Gender Unit’s preliminary investigations indicate that there are about 200 pregnant finalists that reported to education institutions upon reopening. However, there is a likelihood for the number to be higher as some private schools, didn’t report such cases to the unit. A total of 333,889 candidates from 3,935 centres are expected to sit for the UCE examinations this year. The candidate would have sat their examination last year around October, however, the school calendar was revised due to school closure rising from the COVID-19 pandemic.