164 schools miss textbooks for lower secondary curriculum 

Pupils pictured attending class recently. PHOTO/ FILE

At least 164 schools across the country, both private and government, will not receive textbooks for the new lower secondary curriculum this academic year because they were not budgeted for by the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education, in 2020, rolled out the new lower secondary curriculum, with the Senior One pioneer class now in Senior Two.
Addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Mr Denis Mugimba, said a total of 5,505 secondary schools that were in the Education Management System in 2017 are slated to receive textbooks.

The affected schools
The schools, including the 119 seed secondary schools and 45 private schools across the country that were constructed after 2017, will not receive the textbooks because they were not budgeted for.
The distribution of six million copies of the revised lower secondary school curriculum for Senior One and Senior Two is underway and is slated to be completed before the end of this month.

“These textbooks are being distributed as per the data in the education management information system of 2017. This explains why some secondary schools will not be able to get the textbooks during this cycle,” Mr Mugimba said.
He said the schools that will not receive the textbooks should write to the ministry’s Permanent Secretary to be considered for the next batch in January 2023.
 “The procurement of Senior Three and Senior Four textbooks for the cohort that shall be using the revised lower secondary curriculum in those levels is in the final stages. These books are expected in schools before the next school academic year commences. Hence the books will be ready by January next year,” Mr Mugimba said.

Mr Martin Okiria, the national chairperson of Secondary Schools’ Head Teachers’ Association, confirmed that schools have started receiving the textbooks.
He said those that failed to submit their data and enrolment in their schools are not receiving the textbooks because they are not on the distribution list. 
“I have asked these schools to always be careful whenever the government asks them to submit their data. I have asked them to appeal to the ministry and they will be given the books,” Mr Okiria said.
The chairperson of National Private Education Institutions Association, Mr Hasadu Kirabira, urged government to ensure that the books are delivered to individual schools.

Govt clears sports, maintains ban on visitation days
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has cleared schools to start conducting games and sporting activities in accordance with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
However, the ministry cautioned schools against conducting illegal visitation days.
Prior to reopening of schools on January 10, the ministry indefinitely banned visitation days to avoid transmission of Covid-19 from the community to schools.
Mr Mugimba yesterday said they have learnt that some schools are conducting visitation days in the guise of parents meetings. 
“The ban on visitation days in boarding schools stays until it’s deemed safe for learners and parents. 

About new lower secondary curriculum

The lower secondary curriculum was rolled out on February 3, 2020 before the closure of schools in March the same year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the new curriculum, subjects were reduced from 43 to 21, and schools are expected to offer 11 compulsory subjects at Senior One and Senior Two in addition to one elective subject.
The students make a choice of seven compulsory subjects at Senior Three, but must exit with a minimum of eight subjects and a maximum of nine if they are to be graded at Senior Four.

Kiswahili, Physical Education and Entrepreneurship Education have been made compulsory for Senior One and Senior Two students.
Government integrated into the curriculum various subjects, including HIV/Aids, climate change, gender, patriotism and human rights.
Classroom teaching was reduced to five hours a day, with lessons starting at 8.30am and ending at 2.50pm.