My view and experience with the New Lower secondary curriculum in Uganda
By Ogwal Isaac
Master of Education Planning and Curriculum Studies
With the rolling out of the new lower secondary education curriculum in February 2020 by the government of Uganda through its ministry of education and sports, we have had a lot of experiences as implementers of this great curriculum. I call it a great curriculum because of its aims of meeting the learners’ needs by equipping them with practical skills to meet the demands in the labor market. This curriculum emphasizes various outcomes of any teaching and learning process that takes place in a learning environment such as KUSVA (Knowledge, Understanding, Skills, Values, and Attitudes). The curriculum is learner-centered with very less but important teacher intervention in moderating and guiding the learning process.
Tasks for the teachers
Implementers of this new curriculum have a big task ahead of them to accomplish. Comparing this new lower secondary curriculum and the traditional one, you realize that without prior preparation, a teacher definitely cannot handle exactly what is expected of him/her. As a curriculum implementer, during preparation, there are three important tools a teacher is expected to use and these are the subject curriculum, teacher guide, and learner book. Gone are the days when the teacher could jump from “bodaboda” to the classroom for lessons. However, with this new lower secondary curriculum, it should be noted that proper lesson delivery calls for proper lesson preparation putting into consideration the three tools highlighted above.
Assessment of the learner
The continuous or regular assessment of learners (through the various lesson activities as indicated in the teachers' guides and learners' books) is demanding to the side of the teachers but very vital in this compentency based curriculum. These assessments have always helped me find out the abilities of my learners in the classroom, played a great role in evaluating their knowledge and skill acquisition and creative thinking during the teaching and learning process.
Allowing learners to discuss in small groups has a great impact on learners when it comes to self-expression, participation, and boosting confidence and presentation to the rest of the classroom members. I have always found challenges in choosing who to present group work (Activity) as all learners love standing before their fellows to present!
My personal opinion
As implementers of this new lower secondary curriculum, we need to be prepared to learn from our learners; these learners have a lot of exposure, and of which we should adjust our mindset towards their opinions. The curriculum demands us to make enough research which may also call for use of technology in our learning environment.
We have a challenge of providing a learning environment that is inviting to the learners and that encourages our learners to be engaged during the learning process. This has to be done the first time the learners get into the classroom
During the teaching and learning process, we need to encourage learners to ask questions and at the same time avoid dismissing any questions as irrelevant but find a way to accommodate them and show appreciation to learners
We have to continue grouping learners and assessing their progress in the different activities we give them. It’s from these activities that we can track their progress in terms of skills and knowledge acquisition. When performance is high, then we shall be sure of high achievement in the future.
It is also important to hold all our learners in the learning environment accountable for participating in the teaching and learning process to encourage active participation.
The only way this new lower secondary curriculum can equip learners with practical skills for labor is when we the curriculum implementers take on our responsibilities and teach subjects practically.
In conclusion: This curriculum could be a blessing to our children and help our learning institutions produce graduates with skills needed for the job market. Ovation to the ministry of education and sports for standing firm as far as implementation of the new lower secondary curriculum is concerned. This is the right curriculum for this 21st century.