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Education Ministry On Spot Over Curriculum Transition

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A decision by government to maintain the current Advanced level (A’level) curriculum for learners who have pioneered the new competence based Ordinary level (O’Level) curriculum has received a backlash from lawmakers.

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) commenced the implementation of the competence based curriculum in 2020, starting with Senior One. These learners will sit for their national examinations in November this year and later on join A’level in 2025.

The Minister of State of Education and Sports (Primary Education), Joyce Moriku, told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the learners will be taught using the old A’level curriculum because government is still consulting.

“In the meantime, the Ministry of Education and Sports has budgeted in the financial year 2024/2025 for continuation of the review of the A ‘level curriculum to make it competence based. MoES will ensure preparations in terms of training of teachers, instructional materials are all made prior and are adequate,” she said,” she said.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa however asked the Minister to explain how learners who used the competence based curriculum will select subjects to study in A’level using the old curriculum.

“I thought this was a seamless transition, I thought we had prepared for the transition. This is a very delicate issue and the whole country is confused,” Tayebwa said.

He added that the Minister’s statement ought to have addressed the steps the Ministry is taking to achieve a smooth transition.

“There is still a long way to go for learners to catch up. If you are still at stakeholder level, what are we going to do,” Tayebwa asked.

Hon. Faith Nakut (NRM, Napak District Woman MP) suggested that in the absence of a transition plan for the learners, certificates equivalent to A’level should be awarded.

“Our children’s mental health will be compromised as they move from new curriculum to old curriculum. Children have not gone through tough process at O’level, that is how much their mental health is going to be compromised,” said Nakut.

The Minister asked for time to consult government about the issue and report back to Parliament next week.

Tayebwa gave the Minister up to Tuesday, 20 February to report back, saying that parents need to be made aware of the fate of their children.

The MPs further faulted the Ministry for rolling out the lower secondary level competence based curriculum before making wider consultations.

Hon. Abed Bwanika (NUP, Kimaanya-Kabonera Division MP) called for review of the school calendar, to allow students spend more time to interact with communities.

“Competence based learning demands that children spend more time in society because society becomes a center of learning in competency based curriculum; so that learners pick skills from society,” he said.

The MPs also dismissed the Minister’s statement on measures taken by government to address exorbitant school fees.

In her statement, the Minister said that government has issued circulars, directing school owners from unnecessarily increasing school fees.

“No school, Private or Government, shall increase school fees for whatever reason without written authorization from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports/Chief Administrative Officer/Town Clerk as the case may be,” she said.

Tayebwa however said that the Minister’s statement was not explicit on the steps taken to reprimand those who have continued to violate the guidelines.

“Question was very simple, you put in place all measures. We know there are schools that are not adhering to these guidelines, what are doing to them. Do you have any sanctions against the schools that are not adhering to the guidelines,” Tayebwa asked.

Hon. Jonathan Odur (UPC, Erute County South MP) moved a motion that debate on the Minister’s statement be stood over and she reports back with measures taken against errant school proprietors.

Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Hon. John Twesigye asked that the Committee be allowed to include the Minister’s statement committee’s report which is due for presentation.

“The Minister is presenting the same information the committee had asked for but she did not give us. I beg that the committee reports back so that the matter is exhausted,” he said.

Tayebwa directed the Committee to present the report on Tuesday, 20 February.

“The Minister should appear before the Committee and give measures taken or can be taken against school owners who charge exorbitant fees,” he said.

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