It’s Time For Exams!
It is the end of the third and final term of the school year at our school in Uganda! The whole year has been leading up to these last few weeks, and for many students, their whole academic lives have been leading up to this very important time. During this term there are no distractions from academics; no sports, no clubs, no extracurriculars. The education system in Uganda is designed around these national standardized exams that happen at the end of each school year, and they are very important measures of both individual and school-wide success.
Our Students’ Time To Shine!
Though exam times can be busy and tense, we try to use this time to check in and make sure that we are caring for our students the best we can. From encouragement and support by our staff, to special meals and field trips to get off campus and be outside. Our staff encourages students to take the approach that these exams are an amazing opportunity for them to show off just how bright and determined they are. Additionally, it serves as a great measuring tool for our teachers and staff of if we are achieving the academic standards that we set out to achieve, and continue to uphold our rank as one of the top schools in Northern Uganda.
We know that no matter what the scores are, these students will continue making us proud. They are intelligent and driven, loving and kind. They are becoming amazing leaders, and we know that their time at Restore will open up opportunities for them to pursue their dreams and live into their potential.
The Structure Of The Exams
The first big test comes after students complete Primary School (at the end of Primary 7) and sit for their Primary Leaving Examination (PLE). The goal for each student is to be promoted to the next level, for Primary 7 kids this is to be eligible to proceed to Secondary School. Once the students get their scores back, they can then take them to apply to Secondary School. This is the first year that Restore Leadership Primary School had students in Primary 7 who took the PLE; and we feel confident that their scores will help them to move on to Secondary School!
What If Students Don’t Pass?
If students do not achieve high enough scores to be promoted to Secondary School, they can choose to repeat their Primary 7 year, look into a school with lower entrance requirements, or help their families at home with farming or other business ventures.
Secondary School Structure
Secondary school is comprised of two levels, Ordinary Level (“O” Level) and Advanced Level (“A” Level). O Level classes are Senior 1 – Senior 4, and A Level classes are Senior 5 – Senior 6. At the end of each year, the school measures each students work and determines if they can be promoted to the next grade level. Once students make it to Senior 4, they must take their first set of exams set out by the Uganda National Exam Board (UNEB). The goal at the end of Senior 4 for some is to achieve high marks so that they can pursue dreams of being Primary or Nursery School teachers or of joining vocational schools. Other students are aiming to achieve high enough marks to move on to A Level classes. If they continue on with A level, they will then take their next and final standardized exams at the end of Senior 6. The scores on this final exam will help determine what University they can get into to continue on with their education.
Examination time is a very unique time on our school campus, everything is heavily monitored. The main hall (our biggest building on campus) is roped off with caution tape and a sign in front that reads ‘Out of Bounds, Examinations in Progress.’ Each day of exams, the Head Teacher must go to town to pick up the morning exam papers, which are promptly completed by the students and then returned by the Head Teacher. After this round trip into town, he returns to school for lunch and then goes to pick up the afternoon examination papers. The examination papers are held in town by the military police in a secure location, and police are also stationed at schools to make sure there is no cheating or manipulation.