The Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni,has highlighted the successful implementation of modular assessment, stating that it will improve access to demand-driven Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and promote employable skills.
Kataaha who the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, emphasised that modular assessment is a game changer, considering that a significant percentage of registered candidates are under this arrangement.
Introduced in 2022, this form of assessment allows individuals to study for a period ranging from three to six months.
They can then be assessed for competence in the offered module and enter the workforce.
The new assessment system also aims to reduce school dropout rates by allowing students to spend less time in school while attaining qualifications in various programs.
Her remarks were delivered by the State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysestom Muyingo, during the release of the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) results for the July-August 2023 examinations series.
According to the First Lady, Uganda has showcased the potential of its young people by participating in World Skills competitions and Africa Regional Skills Competitions in the past four years.
She encouraged everyone to embrace skilling initiatives and motivate youth to participate in such events.
“Uganda has the skills and potential to produce some of the best artisans and technicians in the world,”she said.
Regarding TVET, she mentioned that positive reforms have been implemented, including the decentralisation of admissions for TVET trainees to the regional level.
This initiative aims to increase accessibility and promote equity among youth in TVET.
Additionally, she said the government has provided affirmative action through scholarships for persons with special needs and girls, ensuring a conducive environment for effective assessment with qualified personnel.
The involvement of the industry in the assessment processes of the board was acknowledged by the Minister, emphasizing the need for an employer-led TVET system that produces skills fit for the 21st century.
She also acknowledged the board’s request to fast-track the TVET law aimed at streamlining TVET delivery and assessment.
She urged everyone to actively participate in ongoing consultations.
She noted that 3,051 trainees registered for the July-August 2023 examinations series, with 2,106 candidates acquiring all competencies in their respective trades, ready to join the workforce.
She also highlighted the positive trend of more females successfully completing their skills undertakings, with 513 females among the successful candidates.
The Secretary General of UBTEB, Onesmus Oyesigye, reported that out of the 3,051 registered candidates, 2,615 of them showed up for the exams, marking an 86% turnout.
This was a positive development compared to the previous series, where the absenteeism rate had been as high as 35%.
He attributed the reduction to various factors such as failure to meet tuition fee requirements, engagement in work, and occasional sicknesses.
Of the candidates who sat for the examinations, 81% successfully acquired all competencies in their respective trades, maintaining the same completion rate as the previous assessment series.
The performance in Physical and Biological Sciences Diploma Programmes was particularly outstanding, with an average of 97% of candidates achieving full competence.
However, there was a decline in the overall pass rate for candidates pursuing National Diploma in Technical and Vocational Programmes in certain subjects, such as Elementary Design of Structures and Engineering Mathematics.
Despite efforts to prevent examination malpractices, Oyesigye stated that some candidates had engaged in misconduct.
After a fair hearing, the board found 55 candidates guilty of malpractice, leading to the cancellation of their examination results for the entire semester.
UBTEB faced various challenges, including the high cost of conducting practical on-spot assessments, reluctance from organizations to offer industrial attachment places, disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, insufficient equipment and funding, and the need for more training and retooling of instructors/lecturers on TVET reforms.
To address these challenges and support the implementation of TVET reforms, Oyesigye requested an increased budget for UBTEB.
He emphasised the importance of aligning curricula with the demands of the workforce, completing training and assessment syllabi in a timely manner, and providing ICT equipment to training providers.
He also called upon stakeholders, including the industry and private sector, to contribute to the training of TVET graduates through industrial field attachments.