By Sarah Mazirwe – Kampala, Uganda, Friday, January 31, 2020.
Uganda’s National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) under the Education Ministry has phased out termly examinations in the newly revised lower secondary curriculum. According to the new curriculum, learning will be learner-centered, not teacher-centered.
Under the former curriculum, the school calendar had three terms that run from January to early December and on each term, the students would do end of term examinations.
NCDC has instead introduced projects which the students will be doing ae every end of the topic while teachers instead of doing exams will be recording their achievements daily and support them where they have failed.
James Aisle Droti, the NCDC specialist said teachers can, however, administer end of year examinations for purposes of giving feedback to parents on how their children performed.
The feedback will be in the form of identifiers, which will be grouped between one to three. Children who appear in identifier one will mean they have acquired basic information and need support while those in groups two and three achieved to a greater extent.
“Those beginning of the term, midterm, and end of term tests are not necessary because a teacher will be doing classroom-based assessment. We expect a teacher to observe students during activity and engage them in a conversation through questioning. We expect learners to come up with an exercise, project or assignment and a teacher will evaluate how a child has progressed,” Droti said.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics report, the unemployment rate for young people in Uganda ages 15–24 is 83%. This rate is even higher for those who have formal degrees and live in urban areas. This is due to the disconnect between the degree achieved and the vocational skills needed for the jobs that are in demand for workers.
Over time, education experts have attributed the growing poverty and joblessness in the country to the outdated educational curriculum which is preparing Ugandans for nonexistent jobs.
Prof Jacques Zeelen, the UNESCO chairperson in 2017 said the marathon education system prepares Ugandans to study from pre-primary school to University without acquiring any skills in between the studies and those who drop out before reaching University, do not bother to acquire a skill for available jobs so that they can later go back to school.
What Has Been Changed?
Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) has also been changed to Uganda Certificate for Lower Secondary Education. The instruction time in school by teachers has been changed from 8 am to 4:30 pm to 8 am to 2.55 pm but the school day will run up to 4.30 pm each working day. Each lesson is 40 minutes which will add up to 40 periods per week.
Alex Kakooza, Permanent Secretary at the Education Ministry said they are training teachers who will begin with the pioneer Senior One students when they report on February 17. The government this week extended the reporting date for students at this level in some schools where teacher training is being conducted from February 3 to February 10 to allow them to conclude the training on the new curriculum.
Droti defended the rollout saying the new curriculum will use the environment as a laboratory for the students. In the new curriculum, subjects have been reduced from 43 to 21. Schools will be expected to offer 11 compulsory subjects at Senior One and Two in addition to one elective. At Senior three and Four, students will take seven compulsory subjects plus two electives.