What you need to know:
- Education ministry officials say the Finance ministry has not released the funds required to print the abridged curriculum textbooks.
The planned roll out of the new abridged curriculum hangs in the balance after officials in the Ministry of Finance failed to release the required funds for printing textbooks.
The National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) compressed the old curriculum, maintaining relevant content in the new abridged curriculum with the aim of helping learners cope under the automatic promotion arrangement.
However, Daily Monitor has learnt that the Ministry of Finance has not yet released the Shs12b needed to facilitate the printing of an estimated 1.2 million copies of the textbooks. For the last two weeks, teachers have been waiting for the revised curriculum.
The Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary, Ms Ketty Lamaro, yesterday said due to budget constraints, the ministry decided to cut the budget for printing the textbooks from Shs12 billion to Shs1.8 billion.
“NCDC revised the budget downwards to Shs1.8b because it decided to conduct in-house printing. I know we are running out of time but at the moment, we are looking for options of printing the books as we wait for money from Finance,” Ms Lamaro said.
The executive director of NCDC, Dr Grace Baguma, yesterday said they will need two weeks to print the required copies once the money is released.
Dr Baguma said they have started the process of procuring stationery as they wait for funds.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Jim Mugunga, on Tuesday said he had not seen the request from the Ministry of Education.
“If the ministry has justified the reason for the money, the accounting officers will handle them but this takes a process,” Mr Mugunga said.
Teachers, especially those in hard-to-reach areas, last week protested the call to download the abridged curriculum from the NCDC’s website, saying accessing data and Internet upcountry is a big challenge.
The teachers vowed to boycott the new curriculum if government does not print and deliver hard copies.
A secondary school teacher from Manafwa District, who spoke to Monitor yesterday on anonymity over fear of reprisal, said: “Some teachers in Senior Two are teaching their students Senior One work because they are confused on what to do. I myself haven’t seen that copy of the abridged curriculum. Someone shared it on my WhatsApp but it’s heavy and I haven’t been able to download it.”
Meanwhile, the secretary general of Uganda National Teachers Association (Unatu), Mr Filbert Baguma, said instead of the government printing textbooks that might take a year to be delivered to schools, they should tell teachers what has been deleted and what has been maintained in the new curriculum.
“These things that are putting teachers on tension that they are waiting for the new curriculum should be dropped. The teachers should use the old curriculum using the content that was retained in the new curriculum because nothing much changes,” Mr Baguma said.
Mr Paul Etianga, the chairperson of Private Teachers Association, said some schools with capacity have printed the abridged curriculum.
According to some of the content in the condensed curriculum, Primary Five pupils will cover various topics under integrated sciences.
For instance, under the world of living things topic, pupils will describe bacteria, where they are found and where they breed under the fungi bacteria topic.
The NCDC also indicated areas of concentration in various topics where teachers should give emphasis when teaching learners. Under Primary One English, pupils will be taken through things found at school (people, things and activities).