By Andrew Irumba
The Ministry of Education is making changes that will see adjustments in the ‘O’ teaching approach, timetable, assessment and other notable elements of teaching and learning.
Like the saying, ‘doing the same thing and expect different results’ is counterproductive. #MoE is taking the right steps to discover what works for learners to be useful citizens.
It’s important that #MoE keeps the momentum of adjustments until we get it right. The challenge though, changes for the better aren’t cheap and yet the budget for education is not yet reflecting readiness to transform teaching and learning
(I) Curriculum DesignThe new curriculum is competence based, emphasising the learner to be at the centre of learning. It focuses on learning outcomes and aims at producing a holistic learner equipped with skills, knowledge, values and attitudes required for the 21st century. Generic skills emphasized are critical thinking, problem solving, mathematical computation, ICT proficiency and communication.
(ii) Subject Menu
The number of subjects on the new curriculum at 21 compared to the 43 in the current one. A school is expected to offer 12 subjects at Senior 1and 2 out of which 11 are compulsory while one is an elective. At Senior 3 and 4, a learner is expected to exit with a minimum of 8 and maximum of 9 subjects with 7 compulsory subjects.
Chinese language has been added to the menu of foreign languages while Kiswahili, Physical Education and Entrepreneurship Education are compulsory for learners in Senior 1 and 2.
(III) Subject Content
This has been reduced by getting rid of obsolete knowledge and integrating related knowledge based on relevance, societal needs and national goals. This will go a long way in avoiding cramming of concepts which is the current practice.
Cross cutting issues such as climate change, patriotism, human rights,gender, HIV/AIDS among others have been integrated into the various subjects.
The new curriculum has also paid attention to learners with special needs.
(iv) Approach / Methodology
In the new curriculum, the teacher is the facilitator of learning meaning that learners are expected to contribute to their learning with guidance from the teachers.
Classroom teaching has been reduced to 5 hours a day. Lessons start at 8:30am and end at 2:50pm which allows learners to engage in research, project work,clubs, games and sports and have time for self study / revision for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The school day will end at 4:30pm.
The current teaching and assessment is examination driven focusing on acquiring a high grade pass as opposed to reasoning critical analysis, understanding and acquisition of skills and knowledge.
In the new curriculum both formative and summative assessment will be done. These have been agreed at 20% for formative or school based assessment and 80% for the summative assessment of UNEB at the end of Senior 4 which will lead to the award of Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).
The new curriculum also allows students to have Compulsory and Elective subjects as follows;
SUBJECTS OF THE NEW LOWER SECONDARY ( ‘O’) LEVEL CURRICULUM
S1- S2 ( 11 Compulsory plus 1 Elective ) Compulsory subjects: English, Mathematics, History & Political Education, Geography, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Physical Education, Religious Education, Entrepreneurship, Kiswahili.
1 Elective from : Agriculture, Information communication Technology, French / German/Latin / Arabic/Chinese, Local language, Literature in English, Art and Design, Performing Arts, Technology and Design, Nutrition and Food Technology.
S3 – S4 ( 7 compulsory plus 2 Electives )Compulsory Subjects: English, Mathematics, History and Political Education, Geography, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
Practical (Pre-vocational elective) Subjects: Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, Art and Design, ICT, Nutrition and Food Technology, Performing Arts, Technology and Design and Physical Education.
Language Electives : Foreign Languages, Kiswahili, Literature, Local languages.
Religious Education Electives: Christian Religious Education and Islamic Religious Education.