Parliament has finally cleared the new O-level curriculum after weeks after squabbles between the august house and Education Ministry officials over the same.
Early this month, Parliament issued an order directing the Education Ministry to halt the new Uganda Certificate of Education curriculum halted until concerns raised over it are addressed.
On Thursday, Parliament rescinded its decision after an explanation by the Education Minister, Janet Museveni over the new curriculum.
The Education Minister told parliament that rolling out of the curriculum is long overdue, explaining that according to the United Nations Education and Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), a curriculum should be reviewed every after five years yet Uganda’s has not been changed since independence.
“The current curriculum was designed in the 1960s to address mainly producing the human resource for white-collar jobs. The government currently has a different development agenda to address the country’s transformation. We note that lower secondary level is still basic education. Learners are exposed to a variety of subjects to widen their scope of thinking and enable their intellectual ability to grow,”Mrs. Museveni told Parliament.
“The new curriculum is competence-based aimed at exposing the learners to issues of creativity and innovativeness and emphasises values which have been a challenge. The teaching has been developing only the cognitive domain (just about grades) without developing the entire child, with development of affective and psychomotor domains.”
The new curriculum also saw a number of subjects including History, Political Science, Kiswahili and Physical Education made compulsory for senior one and two students whereas for senior three and four students, History and Political Science are also compulsory, a move that baffled several Members of Parliament.
Making a case for the new curriculum, the Education Minister said some subject like Kiswahili have ben emphasized because of declarations like the East African integration calling for the teaching of the language.
“Kiswahili has been introduced at primary and it should continue at secondary since it is even the second official language. There has been a lot of outcry on the overloaded curriculum with a menu of 43 which have now been reduced to two, of which 11 subjects are compulsory. Many of the subjects on the menu currently have too much content that in some, like chemistry, teachers were not completing the syllabus.”
“Some of the content in subjects like physics was obsolete in the areas of electronics. Geography has had topics like the Rhine lands, Tennessee Valley, these and many others had to be removed to keep relevant with the expectations of our society and the world today. The competence-based curriculum emphasizes the acquisition of skills, in this case the ministry has provided for assessment for skills acquisition at level one.”
She said Senior four leavers will leave with two certificates including the ‘O’ level certificate and that of the world of work under Directorate of lndustrial Training (DIT).
The new curriculum will see termly exams scrapped off, to replace them with projects that students will do at every end of the topic whereas teachers will be required to take note of students’ progress before new topics are introduced