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Govt to Assess Neglected Practical Skills in Primary Schools

State Minister for Primary Education Rose Mary Nansubuga Sseninde observes that the neglected learning areas were integrated into the curriculum with an objective of arousing the pupils creativity and free expression and to equip them with skills that would enable them to survive in the world after school.
FILE PHOTO: CAPE arouse pupils’ creativity and free expression and to equip them with skills that would enable them survive in the world after school.

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The Education Ministry is planning to revive a skills-based assessment system for learners at the primary school level, focusing on the non-examinable subjects.

The methods focus mainly on the Integrated Practical Skills and Creative Art and Physical Education learning areas also known as CAPE, divided into three areas; CAPE-1 (Music, Dance and Drama), CAPE-2 (Physical Education), and CAPE-3 (Arts and Technology).

State Minister for Primary Education Rose Mary Nansubuga Sseninde says that the Ugandan curriculum has been abused by teachers whose mode of teaching puts more emphasis on passing final examinations, with excellent grades.

Sseninde observes that the neglected learning areas were integrated into the curriculum with an objective of arousing the pupils' creativity and free expression and to equip them with skills that would enable them to survive in the world after school.

She adds however that with time the education system has become predominantly exam-oriented, with parents and teachers more concerned about grades attained. She adds that as the trend changes, talents are eroded and key skills are ignored.

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Sseninde says that focusing on grades contradicts the intention of education, which is supposed to look at the three domains of development; psychomotor, cognitive and affective, which are as well captured through teaching IPS and CAPE.

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The commissioner for basic education Dr Tonny Mukasa Lusambu says the ministry is laying strategies to ensure that these neglected but very important learning areas are brought back in schools. He says they have realized that the only way is by assessing them and ensuring that they also contribute to the final result.

Dr Lusambu adds that the ministry is set to meet with the National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC and Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB to further discuss how the said learning areas can be assessed. Dr Lusambu says that a number of suggestions have already been tabled.

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The idea of assessing capes at lower primary was initially fronted after the introduction of the 2010 Primary Six teaching syllabus which incorporated Music, Dance and Drama, Physical Education, Visual Arts and Technology. The same proposal was also tabled by the Uganda National Examinations Board.