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The Ministry of Education and Sports has appointed Prof. Celestino Obua as the new board chairperson for the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB).

The new board chairperson replaces Prof. Mary Okwakol, who has been at the helm of the examinations body for nine years.

Obua was handed the reigns during a handover ceremony officiated by the State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysestom Muyingo, at the examinations board headquarters in Ntinda on Friday, November 3, 2023.


The UNEB executive secretary, Dan Odongo, welcomed the new board chairperson, saying staff at the institute would dedicate themselves to working hard to achieve the board’s vision.

“To Professor Celestino Obua, on behalf of management and staff, I say a big welcome back home. On their behalf, I pledge our total support to you and the board that you will lead. We rededicate ourselves to working hard to realise the Board’s vision of being a recognised centre of globally competitive educational assessment and certification, guided by our core values of accountability, confidentiality, teamwork, innovativeness, and professionalism,” he said.

He added: “As Prof. Okwakol’s term of office wore down towards the end, there was trepidation at the secretariat. Who will the Minister appoint as the next Chairperson? What kind of baggage would the person come with? These and many other questions came to our minds. And we prayed about it and waited with bated breath. On October 12, 2023, I received the news from the office of the Minister of Education and Sports that the Minister had appointed a new chairperson of UNEB in the person of Celestino Obua. God had, indeed, answered our prayers because the new chairperson would not be a stranger to UNEB. He had served as a member of the 9th and 10th Boards of UNEB.”

Odongo lauded Okwakol for her strong and good stewardship of the institute, which he said helped the secretariat perform its duties without fail.

“Professor Okwakol’s management style brought in that “feel good” atmosphere at the secretariat and gave us the impetus to perform our duties to the best of our abilities. No wonder the developments that have taken place in areas of examination management, governance, ICT services, infrastructure, staff welfare, logistics, etc. under her watch have been the greatest in the history of UNEB. And this is not an idle boast.”

Prof. Celestino Obua is a Ugandan physician, pharmacologist, academician, and administrator. He currently serves as the Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Obua assumed the position in 2014, having served as the deputy principal of Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

He holds a degree in medicine obtained from Dar es Salam University. He also holds the degree of Master of Science in Pharmacology, obtained from Makerere University. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology obtained from Karolinska University in collaboration with Makerere University in January 2009.

(L-R) Obua, Okwakol, Muyingo and Odongo during the handle over ceremony

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