Recently, the newly drafted secondary curriculum was suspended by the minister of ministry of education owing to the fact that many people did not understand it.
Over the past 30 years, the Uganda’s lower secondary Curriculum has been changed by adding content which is insufficient and could hardly solve the current challenges in the country.
As the presidential election 2016 campaign gained tempo, Monitor Publications Ltd invited Ugandans to tell readers what they would do in the first 100 days, if they were to be elected president.
My opinion came in form a presidential speech, marking the 100th day in office and among the key achievements was the suspension and eventual rejection of the new secondary school curriculum. And this last week, Parliament did Ugandans proud by suspending the implementation of the curriculum.
As rightly argued, one of the biggest flaws of this new curriculum was the amorphous generic nomenclature of the subjects, notably the natural sciences. That Biology, Chemistry, Physics, would no longer be studied and referred to by their specific appellation but rather the amorphous name: ‘Science Learning’ area.
True, where as we appreciate we are in the era of ‘dilution’ where everything has become casual, but we need limits to this.The curriculum has a million flaws, including producing Ugandan scientists who would belong ‘everywhere and nowhere’ in the world of science and technology. Therefore this means that the re-conceptualized curriculum could still not provide solutions to the current unemployment challenges in the country.
Scientific studies and advancements are so specific that virtually what would otherwise be components or modules of larger field, become specializations, especially at post-graduate levels. In applied technology, this is what drives innovations and inventions, as we witness in molecular biology, nuclear physics, organic chemistry, Nano technology, and the entire spectrum of technological advancement.
Where would Ugandans of the ‘Science Learning’ area fit in here? Thus, any undertaking requiring specialised knowledge in Uganda would depend on foreign expertise, even for the mundane duties.
The new curriculum was to affect local public and the majority of local private schools, the effect would be a few Ugandans enrolling their children in international schools and local private schools offering foreign curricula, entrenching inequalities through education.!
We need to root total rejection or else, what will happen to those students who will be ‘guinea-pigged’ when the whole thing is rejected? We are currently witnessing demonstrations by students at Makerere University, protesting the scrapping of courses in which they are soon graduating with degrees. It is no nice an idea for one to hold a degree in a course that was scrapped!
Once the suspension of this new curriculum, we must have a protracted rethinking and refocusing of our entire education system. Since many hold that the future of Uganda is in industrialization, and so if we envisage Uganda being a South Korea 30 years from today, what type of education will give us the skill-mix that we will need?
And we cannot delegate the answers to these questions to someone else, as we are wont to do, only to turn around and blame ‘colonial education’. It was designed to serve the needs of those who designed it. The onus now is upon us to design the education that serves our present interests, and positions Uganda to claim her place among nations, today and forever.
For starters, let us merge Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training with National Youth Service, to be implemented at two key levels, namely lower post-primary and high school. All we need is re-allocating resources scattered in several ‘youth programs’.
MrMatsiko is a management and development consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org