With less than a month to the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has made a request for 10.4 billion shillings to facilitate exam preparations under the prevailing Covid-19 situation and help it cope with encumbrances posed by the pandemic.
This appeal was made by the UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo during a meeting with Parliament’s Budget Committee on Wednesday February 3, 2021.
Addressing legislators on the appendage today, Odongo disclosed that a chunk of this money will go towards ensuring observance of the set Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Given the fatality of the Virus, he explained that the body has made arrangements to adequately space the 1,181,940 candidates who will be sitting their final exams.
“The distance has been 1.2 meters between one candidate and the next one. But in order to observe the SOPs, this distance will now increase from 1.2 to 2 meters. And therefore, each room or examination hall will now hold fewer candidates than previous,” Odongo disclosed.
However, he added, this undertaking will require more supervisors hence the need for additional funds.
“This is going to result in an average of 40% increase in the cost of supervision and invigilation since we have to hire more supervisors and invigilators. Hon. Chair, we will require an additional 33,360 invigilators,” Odongo stated further.
He also noted that UNEB has resolved to decongest its residential marking centers, a move that will also require funding.
“We have markers; about 19,000 of them for the three examinations and we have been putting them in 30 marking centers. To observe the social distancing measure, particularly, we will need to use an additional 10 marking centers,” he elaborated.
“Items for hand washing, temperature guns, sanitizers, need for extra personnel and for these items the total is Shs 322,200,000 making the entire budget 10.14 billion as requested,” Odongo concluded.
During the meeting, it also emerged that several entities which include the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Ministry of Education and Sports among many others have also tendered in requests.
The State Minister for Finance, David Bahati, specifically revealed that the Education Ministry is in dire need of 8.43 Billion shillings; part of which shall foot the bill of the Mandela National Stadium costs.
“1.451 Billion is required to cater for outstanding recurrent administrative costs under Mandela National Stadium given its designation as a Covid-19 isolation treatment facility,” Bahati retorted.
Members of Parliament were, however, taken aback to learn that the EC had also requested for 43.76 Billion Shillings to cater for the Biometric Verification System which was used in the recent polls.