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Janet Museveni Addresses Question On Transition From Competence - Based To Existing A' Level Curriculum :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Janet Museveni Addresses Question On Transition From Competence - Based To Existing A' Level Curriculum

Minister Museveni says that they have been guided by technical teams in the education sector that having learners of the revised curriculum progress into the existing A’level curriculum doesn’t comprise their subject or jeopardize their academic ground expected of them upon joining higher education.
Janet Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports

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The Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni has addressed the country about the challenge of transitioning learners from the revised lower secondary curriculum to the unmodified A' Level curriculum, which has not been adapted to align with the competence-based model.

As the initial group of learners under the revised competence-based lower secondary curriculum approaches their final year, and with the ministry yet to conclude the review of the A' Level curriculum, a decision has been made. 

After their exams, current S.4 learners will proceed to A' Level and study under the existing curriculum. This announcement in Parliament on Wednesday evening came as a surprise, raising questions about the compatibility of the two models. 

However, minister Museveni says that they have been guided by technical teams in the education sector that having learners of the revised curriculum progress into the existing A’level curriculum doesn’t comprise their subject or jeopardize their academic ground expected of them upon joining higher education.

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The minister stated that initially, the ministry was actively reviewing the A' Level curriculum. However, they later decided to decelerate this process and redirect their attention, efforts, and resources towards consolidating the implementation of the revised lower curriculum.

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In her opinion, the minister sees no rationale for the ministry to disperse limited available funds to initiate a rollout of a new curriculum when the previously rolled-out one still encounters numerous challenges. She deems it unwise to embark on another extensive endeavor, such as a full review of the A' Level curriculum, in an environment of constrained resources across the government.

“And I must say that we still are in need of more resources to ensure that our schools are well acquainted with what it takes to implement the revised lower secondary curriculum the way it was designed to be implemented...We cannot afford at this time to withdraw resources from the implementation of the newly introduced revised lower secondary curriculum. Doing that shall completely mess up the entire sector,” the minister added.

Available information indicates that that since 2019, the government has invested over 130 billion shillings in the implementation of the lower secondary curriculum, excluding the funds allocated during previous phases.

The Auditor General's report for 2022/2023 revealed that the implementation of the lower secondary curriculum was facing significant challenges. These included an unharmonized legal framework, inadequate instructional materials, the absence of a National curriculum policy, insufficient capacity among curriculum implementers, resistance from stakeholders (unsensitized teachers and school owners), non-integration of ICT in the curriculum, lack of a National assessment policy, and unregulated access of educational materials into schools, among other issues. 

“57.1% of the sampled trained teachers in the selected 35 schools (Government and Private) across the central, east, west and northern regions in Uganda, indicated the teacher trainings conducted by NCDC were not effective,” the auditor general’s report reads in part. 

The report additionally stated that none of the visited schools had their school-based assessments verified for reliability and validity by UNEB, as mandated by the assessment framework. Many schools also lacked the necessary instructional materials, including textbooks.

In addition to the Auditor General's report, other assessments have pointed out that numerous schools are still adhering to the old curriculum due to a lack of awareness among teachers regarding the changes. 

Meanwhile, the Uganda National Examination Board is currently engaging with stakeholders, including schools, parents, and learners, to discuss anticipated changes in areas such as reporting of results and certification. 

Professor Celestino Obua, Chairperson of the Uganda Examinations Board (UNEB), stated that the board has outlined a roadmap for meetings with stakeholders in the education sector. Meetings with education officers and chief administrative officers have already taken place. The Chairperson added that the board has also finished preparing sample papers for examinations under the new curriculum, and arrangements are underway to distribute them to schools.

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Minister tackles the school fees question 

The minister also used the opportunity to tackle the persistent problem of increased school fees and related charges in both private and public schools. This issue has been a recurring concern, particularly when schools reopen for a new academic year. 

On Wednesday, Members of Parliament rejected a statement prepared by Education State Joyce Minister Kaducu on the matter, claiming that she had read a document previously presented by another minister in the same sector during previous sessions. The minister's statement was also criticized for lacking measures to penalize those unlawfully hiking fees. 

While addressing the issue, Mrs Museveni stated that the government is working on a comprehensive alternative to ensure an increase in public funding for Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) programs, aiming to eliminate charges imposed on parents in public schools. However, she clarified that the government will not cover fees for learners in boarding sections. //Cue in; “As a ministry... Cue out...in this country.”// 

According to the Ministry of Education and Sports, approximately 105 public secondary schools and 109 public primary schools, recipients of public funds, have not been implementing Universal Secondary Education (USE) and Universal Primary Education (UPE). The minister mentioned that discussions have commenced to ensure the implementation of these policies in these schools. 

Many of these schools are foundation-based, with a majority classified as traditional schools that many Ugandan parents prefer for their children's education. Notably, these schools are charging fees comparable to, or in some cases, even higher than private schools. 

Last year, there were rumors within the ministry that the government would withdraw funding from these schools if they refused to implement the tuition-free policy emphasized in publicly funded schools. 

Available information indicates that the implementation of the tuition-free policy is expected to be phased in, starting in the 2024/2025 financial year, which commences in June this year, beginning with Universal Primary Education (UPE). To execute this plan, the ministry requires an additional 309.6 billion shillings, in addition to the 1.3 trillion shillings currently allocated by the government for UPE.

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