MBALE – The current senior three students never covered senior two syllabus due to Covid 19 disturbances. And instead in their senior two, teachers covered senior one work under the new curriculum.
And now they are in senior tree, our government has not yet got the text books for senior tree, the ministry of education has instructed teachers to teach only S3 work using MK text books.
A letter to all schools seen by this reporter says Teachers of current senior tree should follow the S3 syllabus as it is in the program planner right away. We appreciate that the books for S3 are not available now but teaching and learning should continue but strictly following the S3 syllabus……… reads the letter in part to the attention of all teachers and administrators.
One prominent teacher told me that the ministry of Education has advised them to use MK books that are meant for the old curriculum, it is sad.
This tells you how Uganda’s CBC is a caricature of isomorphic mimicry. Teachers are not ready. The students are not ready. Parents are not ready. The government is not ready. It all sounds like a sophomore project gone amiss.
This comes at a time teachers are teaching S2 work to complete the syllabus for S2 under the new curriculum before starting to teach S3 work using text books for the new curriculum.
The teachers like ministry of education officials are all confused but pretend to be implementing the New Curriculum. Our children/ students therefore have become specimen for implementing the new curriculum
Government rolled out the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) in 2020 in senior one, the students then now in S3 did not stay in school long enough to study the new curriculum due to Covid disruptions; our children who were at home studied without proper instructional materials.
The total number of days studied for senior One only adds up to four weeks in two years-less than a month under the new curriculum; Competence-Based Curriculum [CBC] and most school teaching stagnated around 12% due to Covid 19 restrictions.
In S 3 now, the children are complaining that CBC is hitting them hard because they have not studied the entire syllabus under CBC, some learners say they find themselves forced to learn new things under a new curriculum in a new class without proper instructional materials and textbooks.
Our ministry of Education should know that the curriculum can never work in isolation with the textbooks and a complementing assessment procedure and one of the very important hinges of education is the availability of relevant textbooks.
It is important to note that teachers are confused and are pretending to be teaching.
You can imagine what harm our future economic developers are facing in classes without proper guiding principles.
Curriculum as a medium through which education is provided has a crucial role to play in the transformation of our society and that must never be undermined but in Uganda our Education ministry has not come out with new text books besides assessment plan even when they are aware that the first term is about to end.
Honestly, Uganda is now in a checkered situation in the implementation of the CBC, seeming out our dear ministry of Education wasn’t much ready to issue the implementation but hurriedly implemented it while sweating on the nose.
Yes, it’s been about two years since the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum which is expected to lift Uganda’s education system to compete with international standards of education and help reduce on unemployment rates in the country.
And with the implementation, one would expect the Ministry of Education, the Education Service commission and the National Curriculum Development Centre to adhere to all rudiments binding curriculum development accompanied by relevant textbooks and standardized assessment framework. But this is not so in our case as Uganda.
The few textbooks [abridged for Senior One and Senior two] that have found their way into the books market have been found derogatory and unacceptable to equip our students mentally, physically and emotionally to propel the agenda of development after two solid years of implementation of CBC.
To ensure that the CBC meets its requirements the government and the National Curriculum Development Centre with its supervisory Ministry of Education must; provide relevant text books for continuation of CBC teaching, organise series of capacity building workshops to keep teachers abreast of the frame of the CBC and provide a standardized assessment procedure for use in our schools.
The new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) understands that learners have varying strengths; some are good in sports, music while others excel in mathematics and other disciplines. It is a curriculum that caters to every child’s abilities.
Questions about the efficiency and success of the new curriculum being implemented in the education system have been rife in the past one month ever since the students who started the new CBC reached senior three.
But the government and its ministry of Education have remained devoted to the curriculum despite the challenges being pinpointed by naysayers very often reiterating the rich education diet it provides to learners.
Although the promoters of the new curriculum have emphasized repeatedly that its success is pegged on the collaboration among teachers, parents, and the learners, a parent has never been sensitised on what his/her role is and remains like a quasi partner in business.
But to date parents bear misplaced fears because they lack sufficient knowledge on the CBC for example, they should refrain from doing assignments no matter the perceived difficulty. The parent is only allowed to offer guidance.
Although in some schools the teachers have been adjusting to imparting knowledge using digital devices, analyzing learning outcomes using novel mechanisms, the learners have been caught up in a state of confusion.
Unlike the old system which assigned positions according to examination outcomes, the new curriculum utilizes more in-depth approaches in analyzing assessments, effectively eliminating examination ranking which many a student has not understood.
It true that text books are often considered expressions of the intended curriculum (what students are expected to learn) and are used to mediate the intended curriculum and the implemented curriculum and there is significant consensus across school effectiveness literature regarding the importance of resources in the teaching and learning process which our ministry of education must take seriously.
And the resources considered include textbooks, laboratory, equipment, playgrounds, sports facility, workshops (Mobegi et al., 2010.
But note must be made that the importance of these resources in the teaching and learning process is influenced by factors such as quality, availability, efficiency, conditions of resources, accessibility, participation and also resource; pupil ratio.
It is nearly a month after the reopening of school for the first term but it is emerging that a section of teachers and learners in senior three are still struggling to select their preferred subjects, why? Because they dont understand anything.
And lastly, we could be excited about CBC but I don’t see where our CBC curriculum introduces additional core subjects such as emotional intelligence, ethics and digital literacy to already existing subjects and how it is able in the nearest future to embed the content of the pertinent and contemporary issues in the curriculum: drugs and substance abuse, use and misuse of ICT, environmental conservation, HIV and AIDS, religion, gender issues, violence and family, health and education, sexuality and insecurity, citizenship, health education, life skills, education for sustainable development, non-formal programmes, service learning and parental engagement that are crucial in making a person today.
Besides the new CBC, our children also need to be taught about the values that are embedded in Education otherwise our Education system with the new CBC might produce clever devils like one Thinker Mr Lewis said and I quote, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil”
It is important to note that ministry of Education considers universities, institutions of higher learning especially those inclined to teacher Education engage in curriculum reform as well as understanding the current changes in the education system by; re-designing the learning context to suit the new curriculum, offering short courses to refresh teachers’/lecturer’s skills, have pre-service teacher preparation,, get involved in integrating technology, teaching, and learning and understanding the pillars which Guide Competency-Based Education.
Yes, our children are in Senior three without learning what is in Senior two, they know something but my late Grand Mum used to tell us that “There is no shame in not knowing. The shame lies in not finding out.
Our dear ministry of Education should understand, the aim of making Uganda a just, free and prosperous nation requires a conscious attempt by the curriculum to inculcate very good ideals in our pupils, if this is not understood then, Uganda’s quest to develop will remain an illusion.
Even if a new education curriculum was needed, the “incompetent hungry hyenas at the ministry” striving for allowances to amass wealth should have never been nowhere near such a delicate and sensitive process.
The current curriculum reforms, while being well-intentioned and adequately researched, have actually revealed issues that curriculum change cannot effectively address.
In what seems like a repeat of problems that plagued the implementation of the 7-4-2 curriculum, the government is attempting to implement these reforms without considering the deeper systemic challenges that need to be faced – from teacher training and ineffective policy to infrastructural barriers.
Sadly, it is our children and the young genearation that will suffer the most from these hasty and ill-considered decisions.
The writer, David Mafabi is a veteran journalist and PML Daily senior writer
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