Minister of Education and Sports, First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni has on Thursday afternoon ‘comprehensively’ explained to parliament why government is desperate to implement new curriculum for lower secondary school.
Parliament on February 04, asked the Ministry to halt the new curriculum roll out until the Minister explains how government is prepared to do so.
In her presentation today, Janet Museveni said that her Ministry could not halt the implementation process as per Parliament’s directive without consulting cabinet- the Policy making organ of Government.
“We therefore, had to consult Cabinet first, and we were guided not to halt the roll out because it was too late to change plan,” Janet said adding, the Education ministry had planned to start the implementation and rollout of the reviewed lower secondary curriculum last Financial Year, but had to postpone it due to financial constraints. Mrs Museveni told Parliament that the current curriculum for lower secondary education has been in existence since colonial times and is therefore outdated and should be phased out.
“It is largely knowledge-based with little emphasis on skills and values and therefore, it is inadequate to address the issues faced by the learners of today and the social-economic needs of our country,” she said.
“These teaching methodologies do not promote effective learning and acquisition of skills. The existing curriculum does not address the needs of the majority of learners who join secondary education. It only focuses mainly on the academic elite who will go to the university and not those who prefer to join the TVET institutions and the world of work.”
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a curriculum should be reviewed every after 5years due to the rapid global changes.
What is in the New Curriculum?
Education minister Museveni told Parliament that implementation of the new Lower secondary curriculum will among others promote effective learning and acquisition of skills; reduce subject and content overload and address the social and economic needs of the country by meeting the educational needs of the learners aspiring for higher academic learning as well as those that wish to transit to the labour market.
“These skills allow young people to develop into life- long learners, who can adapt to change and cope with the challenges of life in a challenging world. Young people need to be able to think critically and solve problems, both at school and at work. They need to be creative and innovative in their approach to learning and life,” Janet said.
According to the new curriculum, new subjects have been included on the revised curriculum, while other subjects have been integrated and taken on new forms. For example, Chinese language has been added to the list of foreign language, Music which has now included dance and drama to become Performing Arts, Fine Art which has been redesigned to include elements of design is now called Art and Design, History has been integrated with Political Education, etc.
Mrs Museveni said that the Ministry of Education has already started the implementation of the new Lower Secondary Curriculum at the beginning of the new term of school year 2020 and have so far, distributed the curriculum framework and syllabuses to all schools, trained 21 lead trainers, 90 National Facilitators and 1600 Master Trainers who trained the 20,000 teachers in preparation for the roll out. The ministry has also developed prototypes and textbook specifications, which are being used by publishers to write textbooks. She added that the Ministry will continue in a phased approach to ensure that all teachers are trained using the Secondary, Science and Mathematics Teachers' (SESEMAT) Regional Training Centres during termly holidays.
Last Financial Year, Parliament appropriated about Shs3bn to the National Curriculum Development Centre to support the implementation of the preliminary activities for the roll out exercise.