KAMPALA: The latest budget cuts have taken a huge toll on the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), affecting the preparation for the national assessments.
According to the approved budget figures, UBTEB was expected to receive Shillings 8.9 billion. Of this, Shillings 5.9 billion was budgeted for conducting the competence-based assessment, and another 2.6 billion was earmarked for the newly introduced modularized assessments.
Information obtained by our reporter shows that the money was expected to come in the first release given the fact that the assessments had been scheduled to commence on August 1, 2022. However, Onesmus Oyesigye, the UBTEB executive secretary, says that to their surprise, they only received Sh 360 million, which is only about four percent of the money required to conduct the assessments smoothly.
Most of the funds are required during the time when candidates are conducting their examinations. We thought that this was well known to authorities in the ministry of finance,” Oyesigye told URN. Narasi Kambaho, the spokesperson of the examination body, noted while releasing funds, the ministry of finance only sent them money for wages and pensions, yet they badly need money for examination management.
“The budget cuts are making things difficult. Part of this money is expected to pay for the transportation of the examinations and the deployment of observers, scouts, and verifiers. “All of them might be disrupted if we don’t have the money, yet they are essential to the integrity of these assessments,” Kambaho noted.
Oyesigye says that the situation has already created a crisis at the examination body, affecting their efficacy. He adds that despite the delayed release of the funds, they could not call off the examinations. They have instead persuaded service providers to work on the assumption that the government will soon release the funds.
This is not the first time UBTEB has suffered budget cuts. In the previous financial year, the finance ministry cut UBTEB’s budget by almost half, leaving them with a funding gap of 13.134 billion. This prompted the board to halt several planned activities due to funding shortfalls.
Information obtained from the board shows that 30,369 candidates from 405 institutions enrolled for the first modularized assessment. The modular method, introduced this year, is adaptable and allows students to study one module of a particular curriculum, which lasts around three months, as opposed to the complete programme for three years.
In the same development, 53,765 candidates from 506 examination centres across the country will be sitting their normal TVET exams.