New curriculum caught in Shs48 billion shortfall 

Saturday April 17 2021
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Primary Seven candidates at Kyebambe Model Primary School in Fort Portal City observe Covid-19 standard operating procedures in October 2020. The new curriculum is trapped in a multi-billion financial shortfall. Photo/Alex Ashaba

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

There is uncertainty over implementation of the revised secondary curriculum after Ministry of Education top officials presented Shs48b shortfall yesterday to the Parliamentary committee on education, warning its continuity will be interrupted if the money is not released in the next financial year.

The money, according to Mr Alex Kakooza, the Ministry of Education permanent secretary, is supposed to facilitate retooling of Senior One, Two and Three teachers on the new methodologies required under the revised curriculum.

It is also to help  develop manuals and assessment tools for learners with special needs.

The curriculum was rolled out in February last year but was  interrupted with the abrupt closure of schools following coronavirus outbreak in a March.

Senior One students returned to school this week after a year in lockdown and are expected to complete the academic year in July before joining Senior Two in August.

“When these people move from Senior One, we will need materials for other classes. There is continuous training and other small things needed,” Mr Kakooza said while presenting the ministry’s ministerial statement for 2021/2022 financial year.

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However, the teachers under their umbrella, Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu), yesterday said they haven’t seen the textbooks for the revised curriculum except for the prototypes that the National Curriculum Development Centre posted on their website for the schools to use in teaching.

The Unatu general secretary, Mr Filbert Baguma, told Saturday Monitor in a separate interview that their teachers never received adequate training and required retooling before reporting after a year in lockdown.

According to Mr Baguma, inadequate preparation of both the teachers and learners will eventually affect the products.

“While schools were still figuring out how to begin the new syllabus, the schools closed. Training wasn’t enough for teachers to roll it out. There are issues they raised after that training that they needed to get acquitted with new curriculum. The textbooks are not there. They only sent online materials. They even sent prototypes,” Mr Baguma said.

He added: “The situation is complex. The Senior Ones will suffer the consequences throughout their cycle. The time has shortened and teachers are supposed to fit within the remaining time, the content has remained the same.”

Government has allocated Shs3.678.b for the next budget starting in July against the current Shs3.682 billion.

“There is a decline in budget of Shs3.91billion,” Mr Kakooza noted.

His statement shows that domestic development and external financing has dropped by Shs147.17billion. However, the wage increased by Shs135.96b to fill staffing gaps. The wages account for 58.2per cent of the sector’s budget while the unfunded activities account for Shs431.88b.

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