Uganda’s Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, who is also the First Lady is proposing a jail sentence of 10years or fine of Shs20M for people found guilty of engaging in examination malpractice.
Janet’s proposal is contained in the Uganda National Examination Amendment (UNEB) Bill 2020 that is under scrutiny by Parliament’s Education Committee and awaiting final decision by Parliament.
Tabled in May 2020, the UNEB Amendment Bill in section 26 spells out punishment for examination malpractice stipulating, (1) A person who-
(a) without lawful authority, before or during an examination, gives an examination paper, information or examination material or any other material to a candidate or to any other person;
(b) with intent to fail or pass a candidate, alters the work, data, information, score or marks of a candidate; (c) without lawful authority, makes a change in the original answer script of a candidate; (d) substitutes the original answer script of a candidate;
(e) alters the examination number, photograph or other identification of a candidate; without lawful authority, alters the records of the Examinations Board with regard to an examination or examination results or a particular candidate; or (g) while engaged as a supervisor, invigilator, scout, monitor or special needs education support personnel negligently allows or fails to stop unauthorised assistance from being given to a candidate.
Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points (Shs20Million) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both.
According to the Minister of Education, the UNEB Amendment Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Uganda National Examinations Board Act. Cap 137 which was enacted in 1983, noting that since 1983, Uganda’s education system has undergone a number of reforms ranging from legal, institutional and policy framework coupled with the socio- economic changes which have affected the operations of the Examinations Board and implementation of the Act.
She also argued that the penalties in the Act are weak and therefore need enhancement to make them more meaningful and deterrent to match the objectives of the regulatory framework.
In section 28 of the bill, Government is proposing to criminalise damaging or destruction of examination material, any other material or information with a jail term of 10years or Shs20Mliion fine.
The bill highlights; A person who willfully or maliciously damages an examination paper, examination material, any other material, or information, or any evidence that may lead to conviction under this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand currency points (Shs20M) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both.