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Thursday,August 06,2020 18:04 PM

Students' body wants new curriculum halted

By Michael Odeng

Added 13th February 2020 05:35 PM

UNSA said teachers currently lack the capability to implement the new curriculum.

Students' body wants new curriculum halted

Ezra Byakutangaza president Uganda National Students Association (left) addressing journalists as Moses Kidega secretary look on during a press conference at their offices in Nakasero on Wednesday. Photo by Nancy Nanyonga

UNSA said teachers currently lack the capability to implement the new curriculum.

The students' umbrella body, Uganda National Students Association (UNSA), has requested Government to halt the new lower secondary school curriculum, saying it is premature.

Addressing journalists at National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) Secretariat yesterday, the students argued that most schools have inadequate facilities.

UNSA  said teachers currently lack the capability to implement the new curriculum.

"We appreciate the introduction of the new curriculum because it is going to be more practical but we are requesting that all teachers first undergo training on how this will be applied," UNSA president Ezra Byakutangaza said.

Citing general science offered to People with Disabilities (PWDs), Byakutangaza said this needs to be embraced and learnt before it is implemented.

He said this year's senior one students will face many challenges and their capacity will be put to debate if they start with the new curriculum.

Byakutangaza said the association wrote to President Yoweri Museveni, Minister of Education, Mrs. Janet Museveni and the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga expressing their dismay about the new curriculum, in vain.

He said the distribution of textbooks is not enough, adding that inspection of school laboratories should be done to ensure they cater for the new changes.  

The National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) director, Grace Baguma, on Wednesday revealed that they had so far printed 335,000 textbooks and teacher's guides, which will be dispatched next week.

Baguma said the implementation of the new curriculum will require sh143b for a period of five years. Government has already invested sh10.3b in the first phase of implementation of the curriculum.

Parliament last week passed a resolution to halt its implementation, but Cabinet on Monday resolved not to backtrack on the execution.

The First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports,  Mrs. Janet Museveni, last week defended Government's move, saying consultations about the new curriculum were adequate and that the intentions of Government in implementing the curriculum are what majority of Ugandans want.

She said rather than stopping the curriculum, further consultations with parliamentarians would instead be pursued.

Under the new curriculum, teachers will compile the learners' achievements under the formative assessment in the four-year cycle, find an average score and submit it to the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB).

The score will contribute at least 20% in UNEB's final national examinations grading.

Cross-cutting issues, such as climate change, patriotism, human rights, peace, gender and HIV/AIDS have been integrated into the various subjects.  ICT will be used as both an instructional tool for learning and as a subject.

Classes under the new curriculum will begin at 8:30 am and end at 2:50 pm in what the ministry described as a learner-centered syllabus.

Benefits of curriculum

According to the education ministry, the new curriculum will promote effective learning and acquisition of skills, reduce subject and content overload, address the needs of all students and improve assessment procedures.

The curriculum will also allow learners to realise their full potential, address the social and economic needs of the country, allow flexibility to absorb emerging fields of knowledge in the areas of science and technology, address the 21st-century skills required in the world of work and address issues of wastage with regard to utilisation of resources.  

Coronavirus

UNSA Information and Publicity officer, Abbas Kizito appealed to Government to evacuate Ugandan students living in China like what United States, Canada, and United Kingdom are doing to their citizens, because of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that is ravaging the city of Wuhan in China's central Hubei Province.

"Ugandan students went to China to study so that they can attain a greater future but they are quarantined and they are not receiving the proper care they need," he said.

According to the latest figures, the deadly virus has killed over 491 people with 24,363 others confirmed as having contracted the virus.

China has also placed a total lockdown on Wuhan city preventing anyone from leaving or entering in order to control the spread of the virus.

Bank charges

The students have also requested Government to scrap bank charges that are levied on tuition because they are becoming a problem to the students who sometimes miss exams.

"We have petitioned Parliament over bank charges for tuition but nothing has been done. This is compromising the education of the students," Kizito said.

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