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Minister cautions schools against compressing teaching syllabus

The minister of Education and First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni

Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataaha Museveni has cautioned schools and teachers against compacting contents of the syllabus. She says that the practice is hurting the performance of students at several levels of learning.   

The minister was reacting to the observation made by Uganda National Examinations Board Executive Secretary Dan Odongo during the release of the Uganda certificate of education results for 2019, early today. 

Odongo observed that there is enough evidence to indicate that in many schools, teachers are made to cover the syllabus by the end of senior three or latest term one of senior four. This is done to supposedly create time for revision.

Mrs Museveni says the result of the practices is that some topics are skipped or lightly dealt with and in the end, learners miss out the basic principles adding that revision is ineffective when learners have not understood the subject matter.

The Education Minister also notes that in addition to Compressing the Syllabus, learners are kept in class from 6 a.m. until late, loaded with extraordinary assessments which all together keep the learners with limited time for rest.

However, education specialist Fagil Mandy blames the vice to the Ministry’s failure to supervise schools, especially in the private sector, in addition to the commercialization of education which means that quality is measured on first grades obtained at the end of the year. 

Rhitah Namukasa, a secondary school teacher in Masaka District, attests that in candidate classes, learners are often put under pressure, taught for hours without rest and given numerous pre-tests all focusing on yielding better results in national examinations.

“This is a serious issue and much experienced hitherto first-class schools. Actually, they don’t even admit learners in senior four because of the same reasons, they have nothing to teach during that time,” Namukasa says.

The education minister is rather convinced that the newly rolled out lower secondary curriculum will address the challenges due to its learner-centred and competence-based approaches.  

However, Mandy insists that without proper inspection mechanism, the new curriculum will also be abused.

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