By Innocent Anguyo
The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has finalised the new O’ level curriculum which will be launched in 2017.
The just concluded overhaul of the curriculum condenses the 43 subjects taught in lower secondary into eight core learning areas. The new curriculum has replaced the term ‘subjects’ with ‘learning areas’
Learning areas include Creative Arts, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Social Studies, Technology and Enterprise, Life education, and Languages. Kiswahili and English have been made compulsory.
Recently speaking to journalists at NCDC offices in Kampala, Mathias Mulumba, the coordinator of the lower secondary reform programme said Kiswahili will make Ugandans competitive in the fast integrating East Africa.
Students will also choose an additional language out of the approved foreign and local dialects. The optional languages include Luganda, Lugbara, Acholi, Langi, Lusoga, Runyankole-Rukiga, Ateso, Latin, Arabic, French and German.
Henry Adramunguni, the language specialist at NCDC said the other local languages could not be brought on board due to lack of teaching material.
Since the new curriculum is intended to ensure that students acquire practical skills in order to make them productive for the dynamic market, computer studies has been included in all learning areas, according to Gilbert Siima, the specialist for Technology and Enterprise.
The new curriculum is intended to provide a holistic education which can promote critical thinking, creativity, numeracy, interpersonal skills, professional mannerism and innovation among students.
Meanwhile, NCDC has revealed that all the in-service teachers will be retooled in 2016 in a bid to prepare them for the implementation of the new curriculum.
The in-service teachers will be trained every holiday, until their colleagues schooled on the new curriculum are graduated by universities and teacher colleges. Higher institutions of learning have been directed to restructure their curriculum to meet the reform.
Under the new curriculum, summative assessment often manifested in form of examinations has been downplayed in favour of continuous evaluation of learners’ performance.
“The reformed, outcomes-based curriculum requires a revised, competence based approach to assessment that will support learning and reward achievement at all levels,” said Mulumba.
Under the new curriculum, classes will end at 2:40pm as opposed to the current 4:30pm. This, Joseph Kintu (the expert on Science at NCDC) said would give students enough time to reflect on their own learning, carryout self-assessment and experiment with the skills learnt in class.
The overhaul of the curriculum results from a study by NCDC which indicated that the current O’level curriculum is overloaded, outdated and does not adequately address contemporary demands of the job market.