Public universities are likely to raise cutoff points following an improved performance in last year’s Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE). Mr Charles Sentongo, the Makerere University deputy academic registrar, said any improvement in performance means entry to university becomes more competitive.
“There will be a small change in cutoffs as long as Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) reports improved performance. The problem is that the points may go up but we still take the same number of 4, 000 government sponsors,” he said.
According to Mr Mathew Bukenya, Uneb executive secretary, more candidates who appeared for the papers passed with at least 2 principal passes totalling to 76, 158 compared to 65,417 who were eligible to joining tertiary institutions in 2011.
There was a sharp competition for science and business courses in 2012/13 academic year.
Admission for over 80 per cent of all science courses went up. This has been attributed to government’s deliberate policy of promoting science subjects. For instance, cutoffs for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Mbarara University of Science and Technology have steadily been increasing in the past four years.
In 2009/10 academic year, the university admitted candidates with 44 weights and this has subsequently improved to 48.5. This was not any different at Gulu University for the same course where it has increased from 42.2 to last year’s 48.2.
A student, for example, needed 51 points to pursue Pharmacy at Mbarara University, up from 45.2 points in 2011/2012 academic year. At Makerere, Pharmacy course was at 51.3 points, up from 48.3 points in 2010.
However, some courses like Law have introduced, in addition, pre-entry exams for one to join instead of considering only the traditional cutoff points scored from the national examinations.
Cut-off points for admission into a particular programme are determined by the lowest score of the last person accepted into that programme. They also depend on the number of applicants per course and the capacity of the faculties.
The government sponsors 4, 000 students in public universities every year. Of these, 2, 000 are taken by Makerere University while the rest are shared among Mbarara, Kyambogo, Busitema and Gulu. Of these, 3, 000 are selected on academic merit, with 75 per cent of the places allotted to science courses and 25 per cent reserved for humanities.