A-level scholarships dilemma

Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (A-level) is the gateway to further and higher education. This year every Humanist school student in Uganda who entered for the exam achieved the minimum of two principal passes required by universities. However, only the following three top-performing students gained the cherished 15 points required for a government scholarship:

Mike Crispus Lwasampijja: Mathematics A, Physics A, Chemistry B (Isaac Newton)

Bruno Muwulya: Mathematics A, Chemistry B, Biology C (Isaac Newton)

Christopher Kikomaga: Entrepreneurship A, Geography B, Mathematics C (Mustard Seed)

Scholarships cover university fees, but students are expected to cover subsistence and lodging from their own resources. Many other students will receive offers of places on university degree and diploma courses, but few will be able to cover the cost of fees, accommodation, subsistence and other incidentals, which can, depending on the course, amount to hundreds or even a few thousand pounds each year. Fortunately for those students who choose to train as teachers or for nursing and ancillary health jobs, there are government grants, which cover most of the costs. Students with lower grades and even a single A-level will find there are many jobs that allow part-time study to gain vocational qualifications. A few very able students are offered teaching posts at the Humanist Schools. This enables them to pay their way through degree courses while the school benefits from their knowledge and commitment as novice teachers.

A-level Chemistry class at Isaac Newton High School

The schools would like to expand their A-level sections. Staff like to have the challenge of A-level teaching and schools want to offer their bright students from UCE O-level the opportunity to progress. However, in the absence of scholarships for A-level study, only students whose families can raise money for fees can continue. High performing scholarship students from poor homes have no alternative but to drop out of education after O-level. 

Humanist Schools want to prioritise the provision of Senior 1 scholarships for children who have done well in the Primary Leaving Examination. For this reason, it has been the practice for UHST supporters to be asked to support a new Senior 1 student once their current child has reached O-level. 

It is a dilemma. Should new scholarships be reserved for:

  1. Children who have done well in the Primary Leaving Examination and who wish to move on to secondary educations, or
  2. Children who have done well at O-level in Senior 4 and who wish to progress to A-level courses, the gateway to further and higher education courses if they can secure the funding required. 

There is a further consideration. If we routinely use UHST scholarships to cover 6 years of secondary schooling instead of 4 then one-third fewer students will receive scholarships. 

On the other hand, supporting high achieving students from poor homes to take A-level would not only help those individuals it would also raise the overall performance of all A-level students. 

The schools are wondering if they could draw money from overall fee income to offer reduced A-level fees to these deserving students. UHST wishes to help by attracting more money for scholarships. If you would like to help, then please visit our donate page.

2023 A-LEVEL EXAMINATION RESULTS, published March 2024

A-Level passes123Students
ALL UGANDA17%26%48% 
Isaac Newton20%42%38%60
Mustard Seed00100%15
Students gaining
= or better than
Isaac Newton37%23%3%83%
Mustard Seed67%20%6%100%