Government to launch new O-Level curriculum next month

Friday September 20 2019

Senior Four candidates of Moroto High School do t

Senior Four candidates of Moroto High School do their Physics practical examination last year. Under the new O-level curriculum, subjects have been integrated depending on societal needs. PHOTO BY STEVEN ARIONG 

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

The government will launch the new lower secondary education curriculum in which teaching subjects have been reduced from 43 to 21.
The new curriculum will be launched next month but the date has not been set.

Under the new curriculum, teachers will compile the learners’ achievements under the formative assessment in the four-year cycle, find an average score and submit it to the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) to contribute at least 20 per cent in the final national examinations grading.

According to Ms Grace Baguma, the executive director of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), the subject content has been reduced by getting rid of obsolete knowledge and integrating related knowledge depending on relevance, societal needs and national goals.

“As a way of avoiding rote learning and cramming of concepts, which is the current practice, the new curriculum emphasises that the learner performs the activities while the teacher facilitates during the learning process,” Ms Baguma told Daily Monitor on Wednesday.

Sources close to NCDC, but who declined to be named, said the new lower secondary curriculum will be rolled out to schools in February 2020 although the Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, is expected to launch it next month.
The approved curriculum will see a school teach 12 subjects at Senior One and Two, of which 11 will be compulsory while one will be from an elective menu (optional).

Students at levels three and four (Senior 3 and 4) will exit with a minimum of eight or maximum of nine subjects, with seven of them compulsory.


Chinese language has been added to the menu of foreign languages while Kiswahili, Physical Education and Entrepreneurship will be compulsory for all students in Senior One and Two.

Cross cutting issues such as climate change, patriotism, human rights, peace, gender and HIV/Aids have been integrated into the various subjects. ICT will be used as both an instructional tool for learning and a subject.
Learners with special needs, who are unable to study science subjects, will offer General Science while a sign language syllabus has also been developed as an alternative language. A normal school day will be expected to end at 4:30pm.

“Classroom teaching has reduced to five hours a day. Lessons will start at 8:30am and end at 2:50pm, which allows leaners an experiential teacher-supervised learning by engaging in research, project work, clubs, games and sports and have time for self-study and reflection,” Ms Baguma explained. While assessing the learners, teachers will consider both the summative and formative assessment models to capture all learners’ developments over the course of study.

The formative assessment scores will contribute to the learner’s total scores at the end of the four-year education cycle. The formative assessment, which will be carried out at school level, will account for 20 per cent of the learner’s score while summative work will account for 80 per cent of the final score at the end of the cycle (O-Level national examinations).

“The teacher is expected to observe the learner for any signs of acquired values, skills and change in attitude and take record of this in addition to assessing knowledge, understanding and skills. All these will be considered by the teacher during the learning process and reflected at compilation of the total formative assessment scores. The marks will be captured throughout the four years averaged and computed into a score for each individual learner. Thereafter, the results will be submitted to Uneb for the overall grading of the learner,” the curriculum developers state.

Interested students will be allowed to be examined by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) in optional subjects such as Nutrition and Food Technology, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, ICT, Technology and Design, Performing Arts, Art and Design and Physical Education. This, according to Ms Baguma, will enable the student get competence-based certificate of Level One on the Uganda Vocational Qualifications Framework for the world of work.

“Summative assessment of Uneb will be administered at the end of Senior Four. The end-of-cycle Uneb results together with the results from the formative assessment will lead to the award of a Uganda Certificate of Education. For both certifications, the learner has a chance to progress to the next levels of education,” she said.

Subject changes

Optional subjects at Senior 1 & 2
Information Communication and Technology
Performing Arts (formerly music)
Nutrition & Food Tech (formerly food and nutrition)
Art and Design
Technology and Design
Literature in English
Local Languages
Foreign Languages (French, Germany, Latin, Arabic, Chinese

Compulsory subjects (S3 and S4)
English Language
History and Political education
General Science (only for special needs learners)

Optional subjects at S3 & 4
Foreign languages (5)
Local languages (10)
Information Communication Technology
Art and Design
Literature in English
Performing Arts (formerly music)
Religious Education (CRE and IRE)
Nutrition & Food Tech. (formerly Food and Nutrition)
Entrepreneurship (formerly Commerce & Accounts)
Physical Education
Technology & Design (combines woodwork, metal work, technical drawing and design)

Dropped subjects at O-Level
Office practice
Principles of accounts
Power and Energy
Electricity and Electronics
Wood work
Metal work
Building and construction
Home Management
Clothing and Textiles
Health Education
Additional Mathematics
Fasihi ya Kiswahili
Political Education
Technical Drawing

New curriculum at a glance

Total examinable subjects: 21
Classroom hours: 8:30am to 2:50pm; 2:50pm to 4:30pm (co-curricular activities and self-study)
Key learning outcomes: Self-assured individuals, responsible citizens, passion for lifelong learning and make a positive contribution to the nation.
Expected generic skills
Communication, social and interpersonal skills, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving and workplace behaviour, among others.