In February 2020, Uganda implemented a new direction in the educational system. It has rolled out of the ordinary old curriculum which emphasized knowledge acquisition from a theoretical approach. The learning process was known as teacher-centred. However, the revised curriculum would meet the learners’ needs and aspirations, skills acquisition, training, and personal and professional development of learners. In addition, the new curriculum will help learners develop critical thinking ability, creativity and collaboration, and the spirit of teamwork and communication skills, among many skills which are no different from Ghana’s current curriculum.
Benefits of the New Curriculum to the Learners
Many scholars now wondering whether the new curriculum would fill the gaps left which have been continuously pointed at in the Ugandan education sector. However, other scholars are of the view that, this will be a game-changer in the educational sector.
The new curriculum would reduce content overload and contact hours in the classroom. This will create time for research and project work, as well as talent development and creativity. With the reduction in the number of subjects from 43 to 21 in the new curriculum, students will get adequate time to concentrate on hands-on experience work and talent development under the close supervision of their respective teachers.
The new curriculum would pay attention to learners with special needs as they would offer general science if they are unable to study the science subjects. Sign language syllabus has also been developed as an alternative language.
Also, learners interested in vocational studies in Nutrition and Food, Entrepreneurship, and Agriculture are encouraged. This, will in turn enable a learner to go to another level of their education.
Dilemma on How to Implement the New Curriculum in Schools
With classroom time reduced to five hours contact hours and after 2:50 p.m., are slotted as time for learners to engage in research, project work, clubs and games and sports. Many stakeholders have come up to ask different questions on whether this skill development will be essential with inadequate materials in the Ugandan education sector to support the skill development. As noted, most schools do not have enough computers for learners to acquire skills in information communication technology (ICT). Again, issues on infrastructures like laboratories or even materials to carry out practicals on Nutrition and Food, and technology as integrated subjects in the new curriculum are questioned. This has left several schools in a dilemma on how to implement the new curriculum with few teachers, and not knowing how to deal with the problem.
However, some teachers have deemed the new curriculum as a good effort by the government since the old curriculum was more theoretical in approach and teacher-centred at the expense of learners’ capacity to develop their skills, but the new curriculum is promising, with a cutting edge experience as a product-oriented and not only result-oriented. This fact was demonstrated in a report by the state of youth in 2019 through the Centre for Policy Analysis indicating that the majority of the youth demanded more practical subjects and over 50% of them revealed that the education they had received had not prepared them for the available opportunities in the labour market. This has made many wonder how the government of Uganda can improve the new curriculum to prepare its citizens for the job market with the current challenges facing the education sector.