It is a bad idea for government to roll out the lower secondary school revised curriculum without funds and trained teachers. Finance minister Matia Kasaija’s inability to provide adequate funds for the implementation of the curriculum shows how fundamentally unserious government is about the education sector.
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.
The subject content has also been reduced by getting rid of obsolete knowledge and integrating related knowledge depending on relevance, societal needs and national goals, but some teachers as well as students and parents are not aware of the changes.
Surprisingly, Education officials say there is no adequate funds in the budget to roll out the new curriculum and the teachers are not prepared.
Although some teachers have been selected for training, this random approach to serious matters of State must stop. If government fails to find the required funds, the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) should consult the Education minister and immediately suspend the new curriculum. Head teachers have already questioned the credibility of the continuous assessment, and how it will be conducted since it is an accumulation of the students’ scores over the years.
Students, as well as parents, should not be left behind since the new curriculum affects them in many ways. For instance, 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.
The Budget for the Financial Year 2020/2021 has a provision of Shs10b out of Shs143b required. After discussion with Finance officials, NDC team was reportedly asked to cut the budget for rolling out the new revised curriculum to Shs40b.
In the revised curriculum, the government had reduced subjects from 43 to 21 but teachers as well as students and parents don’t know how to proceed, yet the school calendar opens next week. Clearly, it’s too late and it appears there is no unblemished plan to fix the mess.
Let’s defer the planned implementation of the new curriculum and follow the right path. Provide all the required funds, engage all stakeholders. Retool teachers and head teachers, prepare parents and students, and put in places all the required facilities.