Thursday May 29 2014

New school curriculum includes skills devt in all learning areas

By Rose Namayanja Nsereko

The government has changed from an old model secondary education, to a broader, more inclusive system, designed to serve a wide range of leaner abilities.

The curriculum has been re-designed and shifted from a strictly academic list of subjects to a framework of competences. The curriculum has taken on a Learning Area approach that brings together subjects with related content through merger and integration.

The Learning Area approach promotes cross curricular learning and teaching enables learners to recognise and apply the relationships between different traditional subjects, within the same learning area and across the different learning areas.

The proposed curriculum framework comprises eight learning areas namely; Languages, Mathematics, Social Studies, Life Education, Religious Education, science, Technology and Enterprise, and Creative Arts. The reform aims at achieving the following objectives:

To promote effective learning and acquisition of skills by developing a curriculum that builds abilities and skills so that individuals are better placed to adapt to their evolving roles in society and the dynamic workplace, to reduce content overload.

To address the needs of all students and lay foundation for improved assessment procedures that allow learners effectively realise their full potential.

To address the social and economic needs of the country by meeting the educational needs of those aspiring for higher learning as well as those who wish to transit to the labour market; and to allow flexibility to absorb emerging fields of knowledge into the new curriculum.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has conducted consultations with key stakeholders such as language activists and religious leaders, mainly on contentious learning areas of Languages and Life Education. The consultations brought on board local languages under the language Learning Area and Life Education Learning Area was split to create Religious Education.

A field survey was conducted to identify the challenges faced by the communities in rural areas that could be addressed by the Technology and Enterprise Learning Area. A decision was taken to design the Technology and Enterprise Learning Areas in a modular approach in a bid to dovetail the secondary curriculum with the Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes for those who may wish to go to such institutions.

The syllabus documents for the eight learning areas have been taken through the approval process.

The new curriculum has been designed in such a way that each Learning Area has a component of skills development. Development of such skills will be part of the school timetable so as to give learners the opportunity for hands on experience.

Technology and Enterprise Learning Area in particular is a special skills development area focusing on the application of knowledge and skills to extend human capabilities. The learning area is built around the value chains arising out of agriculture.
Learners will be expected to apply knowledge and skills from the other seven learning areas to solve society problems.

Learners, in addition to learning how to grow crops and rear animals, will process agricultural products and bi-products using appropriate low cost materials, technology and resources available in their surroundings.

For example, a Senior One student will produce maize seeds, in Senior Two will process the maize into flour and process the flour into cakes, in Senior Three will use the maize brand to make animal feeds and using the science knowledge utilities, the maize husks to manufacture herbicides in Senior Four.

Ms Namayanja is the Minister of Information and National Guidance.