Parliament orders Education Ministry to halt the new O’level curriculum

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Parliament has issued an order directing the Education Ministry to halt the new Uganda Certificate of Education curriculum halted with immediate effect.

The Education Ministry through the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) recently announced it had revised the curriculum scrapping off termly exams 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.

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.

On Tuesday, a motion was moved by Budadiri County West MP, Nandala Mafabi before being supported by the whole August House.

Later, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga directed the Education Ministry to carry out a nationwide consultation from all stakeholders on the new curriculum before enrolling it in schools.

“In that motion, there should be adequate consultations. It should not only be consultations but preparations for putting it down have not been made,”Kadaga noted.

Ministry tries to defend new curriculum

In her address to the August House, the State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde said the new curriculum for lower secondary was meant to replace the one which she said was designed in the 1960s and could not address new challenges in the country.

She noted the curriculum has changed a little for better to shift education from working for grades as it has been to one where there is a variety of subjects to widens students’ scope of thinking to be able to enable their intellectual ability to grow.

“The cognitive growth is enhanced through exposure among other things. At this level we are not yet going into career paths but exposed to what one can pick interest in or is about to do,”Sseninde told MPs.

The Minister said the concept is still the same but only the strategy of teaching has changed where the teacher’s role will be majorly to facilitate learning.

Members’ reaction

However, the Members of Parliament said it is wrong to implement a curriculum prepared for over 10 years in three days.

“How can you implement something you have been preparing for 12 years in three days? Because of the low pay, you find a teacher working in 10 schools. How do you expect a teacher to make the 20% assessment of the learners,” MP, Michael Mawanda wondered.

He noted that the curriculum review should be supported by an increase in the salaries of teachers.

Mukono Municipality legislator, Betty Nambooze asked government to explain the basis of making some subjects compulsory without making any consultations from stakeholders.

She noted that many crucial subjects were left out whereas many others that are not so relevant were made compulsory.

Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu said there is a crisis in the country’s education system but noted there is need to diagnose the problem before government comes up with a new curriculum.

“We should stop blaming the colonialists. We have been in power for over 52 years. How can you blame that system that it is responsible for our problems? We do things without thinking twice. We request you not to play with the future of our children,”Katuntu noted.

Parliament then passes a motion that directed that the new curriculum for lower secondary schools is halted until the Education Ministry tables a report about the concerns raised by MPs.

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