We should  refocus curriculum to life skills - NCDC 

Officials from different organisations launch the report in Kampala yesterday. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • The study found that whereas most  adolescents (53 percent) are able to recognise existence of a problem, they are, however, unable to identify multiple approaches to solving a problem,” the study reads in part.

The director of National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) Grace Baguma has said government needs to refocus and review the curriculum because it puts less emphasis on life skills and values.

Speaking at the launch of a study by Assessment of Life Skills and Values, an initiative of the Regional Education Learning Initiative, which examined the ability of adolescents to solve life challenges and self awareness, Dr Baguma said the national curriculum must emphasise development of life skills and values to support early childhood development. 

“We need to refocus and review the curriculum because there has been less emphasis on life skills. Life skills need to be trickled down to early childhood development,” she said. 

The study, which targeted 11,074 adolescents aged between 13 and 17 years, from 7,815 households across 400 enumeration areas in 20 districts, found that only 2 percent of adolescents have the ability to solve life challenges.  

“Most adolescents [53 percent] are able to recognise existence of a problem from one perspective and act on that to identify a possible solution. They are, however, at the highest level of the skill, unable to identify multiple approaches to solving a problem,” the study reads in part.

Similar studies have been conducted in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Dr Mauro Giacomazzi, the Alive Uganda team lead, said there is a lot of learning that needs to be done to understand what can work in the study, noting that there is need to “conceptualise life skills into our systems”.

The study, in addition to problem-solving, targeted two other life skills of collaboration, self-awareness and respect, with findings indicating that overall, only 9 percent of Ugandan adolescents express respect for the others. 

“Whereas 48 percent of the adolescents were able to interpret bad behaviour as a lack of respect for others and may take conciliatory steps, only 9 percent were able to act respectfully in defense of others and self,” the report noted. 

Mr Filbert Bates Baguma, the Uganda National Teacher’s Union secretary general, said there was need to enhance continuous professional development for teachers in order to support early childhood development. 


The study provides interesting findings on self-awareness, emphasising children’s ability to appreciate their situation and that of their parents to understand why certain things can’t be provided when needed.

Sheema District in western Uganda demonstrated the highest level of self-awareness among adolescents while Kyegegwa posted the lowest rate.  

“50 percent of the adolescents surveyed were able to regulate their emotions but remain unaware of the multiple ways in which others perceive and react to situations,” notes the report. 

The assessment presents immerse learning opportunities from organisations working together and amplifies african voices so that action is taken against the status quo.