12,000 candidates missed PLE

By URN

A total of 12,819 registered candidates did not sit for the 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations(P.L.E) .

According to UNEB, a total of 749,942 candidates registered for examinations but only 736,942 candidates showed up for the examinations.


Dan Odongo, the UNEB Executive Secretary says there were various reasons why there were absentee candidates.

Data from UENB shows that the highest number of absentee candidates were recorded in rural districts that include Isingiro district with 451 candidates out of  8,924 registered followed by Gomba district where over 9 percent representing 416 learners out of the registered 4,618 candidates did not sit for the examinations.

Kalaki district recorded the lowest number of absentee candidates. Only four out of the registered 1,962 candidates did not show up for the exams.

Previously, schools in urban areas like Kampala have blamed double registration for the occurrence of absentee candidates. Some candidates have been in the practice of registering in rural schools yet they study in urban schools.

However, this year, UNEB officials attribute the high number of absentee candidates to learners dropping out of school to engage in farming activities during the lockdown.

The Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni says a follow up is needed to figure out what happens to learners who register but do not write the exams. She says the education sector needs to account for this category of learners.


In 2019, UNEB records show that 12,502 candidates did not show up for exams. The previous year, the figure stood at 12,293.

As far as the performance of candidates is concerned, Odongo said that more learners last year passed in Division one and two compared to the previous years. Data released by the examination body shows that 81,864 candidates passed in division one and 416,575 in division two compared to 69,243 and 387,398 in 2019 respectively.

Girls performed better than their male counterparts in English but did not fare as well in Mathematics, Social Studies and Sciences.

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