The number of students sitting accountancy examinations has dropped due to what the Institute of Certified Public Accounts of Uganda, ICPAU, says are the effects of the COVID- 19 pandemic. The two-year disruption of personal, household, and company incomes for Ugandans ensured that more people were unlikely to access goods and services as before.
For education, learning institutions attempted to put in place alternatives, especially online learning, but many reports show that a good number of learners could not access the systems, either due to the high costs or the limited internet coverage in the country.
Experts feared that this resulted in an imbalance, with some learners missing up to two years of study. Derrick Nkajja, ICPAU Chief Executive Officer, says the main problem was the cost of materials especially as accountancy modules change frequently, which makes the course expensive.
Nkajja told Uganda Radio Network, that the number for the major diets (general settings) had risen to more than 6,000 each, while for minor diets (sittings of single course) were more than 4,000 students before the outbreak in early 2020.
This, however, changed with the advent of COVID-19 and the numbers are yet to recover. Nkajja, who is also Chief Examiner, says that the students most affected are those that never took advantage of the available resources at the institute.
He was speaking after the release of the September 2022 minor diet, which featured only Certified Public Accountant candidates. One of the main features of this diet was the decline in the number of candidates that passed the exams, with the pass rate falling to 35.8 percent, from the 39.6 percent registered in March.
Subjects like Financial Reporting, Management Decision and Control, Advanced Financial Reporting, Advanced Financial Management, Auditing, and other Assurance Services as well as Integration of Knowledge were worst done.
“Those who failed these subjects were lacking, among others, in preparation, computation, communication, and analytical skills. I, therefore, call upon the students, as well as tuition providers to address these issues for better performance in future examinations and especially the execution of assignments in the workplace,” said the Chairman of the Public Accountants Examinations Board, Geoffrey Byamugisha.
Constant Othieno Mayende, the Institute President said they are also concerned at the variations in the passing rates from diet to diet and are engaging the students and sponsors to find solutions but largely blamed it on inadequate preparation by the candidates.
This year will mark the end of the use of the current syllabus and in March 2023, there will be no diet as the institute prepares to fully embrace the new one. The review of the syllabus started in 2019 and has now been approved by the National Council for Higher Education, according to Mayende. He calls on those concerned to start early preparations to avoid hitches at examination time.
Asked why the review of the syllabus, Byamugisha, the PAEB Chairman says the changes are necessary to keep up to date with the developments in the accounting world.
A total of 3,555 candidates registered for the September 2022 examinations of which 94.7% (or 3,367) turned up for examinations. According to the top performer’s list, female candidates starred more than male ones, with the overall best being Doreen Kyomuhendo.
Eron Nabatanzi was the best in Financial Reporting, and Sharon Namaganda topped in Financial Accounting. Salome Atuhaire came top in Advanced Financial Reporting, while the best male student was Gerald Mbonimpa, also second overall.
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