The Education Minister Janet Kataaha Museveni has defended the suspended Uganda Certificate of Education curriculum saying it formulated to replace the archaic one which had been introduced over 50 years ago.
Parliament early this week ordered government to suspend the new curriculum until queries raised by Members of Parliament are addressed.
However, speaking during the release of the 2019 Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) results on Friday, Mrs. Museveni said claims that the new curriculum was rushed are baseless noting that consultations were carried out.
“The process of amending the lower secondary curriculum started in 2008. This curriculum had never been reviewed since independence. The new curriculum was finally approved by cabinet in 2019 and since that time the ministry has been preparing for its rollout,” the Education Minister said.
During the debate in parliament on Tuesday, MPs accused government of rushing the new curriculum saying stakeholders have not been consulted before it is implemented.
“How can you implement something you have been preparing for 12 years in three days? Because of the low pay, you find a teacher working in 10 schools. How do you expect a teacher to make the 20% assessment of the learners,” MP, Michael Mawanda wondered.
Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu said there is a crisis in the country’s education system but noted there is need to diagnose the problem before government comes up with a new curriculum.
“We should stop blaming the colonialists. We have been in power for over 52 years. How can you blame that system that it is responsible for our problems? We do things without thinking twice. We request you not to play with the future of our children,”Katuntu noted.
Cabinet to decide fate
However, the Education Minister said enough consultations were made with all stakeholders before deciding to implement the new curriculum.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Museveni said the debate on the new curriculum will be taken to cabinet in order to agree on a way forward.
“Cabinet will guide the Ministry of Education on what to do but we will work with parliament also. We want to ensure we get parliament to agree with us but also cabinet to support us,” she said.
“We are hoping it won’t be on halt for too long.”
According to Grace Baguma, the National Curriculum Development Centre director, there is always room for adjustment and improvement adding that if necessary, this will be done.
“It is not cast in stone in the sense that when you have done it, it is final. When you go to implement, you can adjust the challenges,”Baguma said.
The Education Ministry through the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) recently announced it had revised the curriculum scrapping off termly exams to replace them with projects that students will do at every end of the topic whereas teachers will be required to take note of students’ progress before new topics are introduced.
The new curriculum also saw a number of subjects including History, Political Science, Kiswahili and Physical Education made compulsory for senior one and two students whereas for senior three and four students, History and Political Science are also compulsory.