Changes in Uganda Curriculum

Students joining Senior One in the year 2015 should expect to learn seven instead of the 43 subjects, following a review of the lower secondary school curriculum by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC). Addressing journalists on the sidelines of a consultative meeting to gather views from the public on the proposed curriculum on Friday, NCDC’s deputy director, Grace Baguma, said the overhaul of the lower secondary school curriculum results from an analysis of the existing curriculum conducted by NCDC between November 2011 and May 2012.

The survey, she noted, indicated that the current O’level curriculum is overloaded, outdated and does not adequately address contemporary demands of the job market. For instance, she added, students during Physics lessons are taught about vacuum tubes, yet the technology has long been phased out in electronics. This was acknowledged by experts in the meeting. In Geography lessons, the students are still learning about the Tennessee Valley in its form in the 1980s.

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The new curriculum will do away with the term ‘subjects’, replacing it with ‘learning areas’ which have been identified as Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Languages, Technology, Life education and Creative Arts. The width and scope of the learning areas will also be significantly reduced to allow students to understand the concepts taught. The rolling out of the new curriculum is intended to ensure that students acquire practical skills in order to make them productive.

This follows a recent labour market survey conducted by NCDC which showed that over 60% of firms in Uganda perceive their workers to be inadequately skilled, making it a major hindrance to the growth of their businesses. “We are looking at a curriculum that provides holistic education that does not emphasise passing exams, but one that helps students to be useful to themselves and their society,” Baguma said. “The new curriculum shifts from the academic-based form of learning to life skills education. The move is to ensure students are self-reliant and productive,” she stated.

Baguma said the new curriculum would be aligned to the goals of the National Development Plan, the Education Sector Strategic Plan and the 1992 White Paper on Uganda’s education. Under the proposed curriculum, students will be examined through continuous assessment, evaluation of their practical projects and observation, according to Mulumba Mutema, the assistant co-ordinator of Curriculum, Assessment and Examination Programme at NCDC. Last year, the Government completed the rolling out of the Primary School curriculum.