Despite the efforts by government to improve the performance of science subjects, core science subjects like Mathematics and Physics have continued to be a puzzle to many students according to the Uganda Certificate Exam results released last week.
The Uganda Certificate of Examinations (UCE) results released last week by the ministry of education indicate a poor performance registered in science subjects like Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
Passes and distinction in sciences have remained below 20%.
Status Quo states that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. But first, why have students consistently performed poorly in science subjects regardless of the government’s special attention to the courses?
“We do not demystify it. Chemistry concepts, some students think, are abstracts,” said Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
What is also revealing is that the majority cases of malpractices are reported in science subjects with Biology being the most affected, followed by Physics at 20, Chemistry at 10% and Mathematics at 6.7%.
Examination malpractices suggests that the subjects being affected are difficult to understand, hence opt for cheating. Is there a problem in the curriculum?
“They tend not to put a lot of effort because they think eventually they will opt for arts,” Kakooza said.
Some people have suggested that science subjects should not be compulsory at O-levels. This, Kakooza says, will not be wise.
“When we say we drop sciences, we will be disadvantaging these students because everyone will pull out thinking they are hard,” Kakooza said.
In 2003, the government made Chemistry, Biology and Physics non-optional for students at lower secondary but the performance at distinction level has remained very low.
Question remains: Is it about time government returns to the old curriculum?