By Alex Gahima
A section of educators in Kisoro district have said majority of learners are likely to perform poorly in their final exams, due to the new abridged curriculum.
In January this year, the Government released details of the new post Covid-19 curriculum, seeking to help learners cope under the automatic promotion arrangement.
Education minister Janet Museveni, clarified that the new curriculum is simply a modification of the old one, aimed at recovering the lost learning time with minimum learning loss.
Under the new curriculum, some content has either been deleted or pushed to the next class.
For instance, in the Primary Seven abridged curriculum, under sets concepts, fractions that were supposed to be taught in Primary Six, have been merged with those of Primary Seven as well as Data handling (statistics and pie-charts).
Chairperson of Primary Schools in Kisoro Wilberforce Mucunguzi says, the abridged curriculum took many teachers by storm.
Mucunguzi says, Government availed the curriculum in soft copy at no cost via the National Curriculum Development Centre Website however majority of the primary schools outside Kisoro Municipality have struggled to access the learning material.
“Many of our teachers in the faraway schools do not have access to internet, while others do not own smart phones, Mucunguzi explained
Mucunguzi says many teachers had prepared their schemes of work basing on the old curriculum only to be told, it was not going to be relevant this year.
He furthers says the delay in access to the abridged curriculum will mean many learners will have a difficult time in meeting the threshold of academic excellence.
“It is my opinion that performance of many schools this year will be below average, many of our learners will not be able to pass their exams”, Mucunguzi stressed.
The Kisoro district Inspector of Schools Emmanuel Mbonyebyombi says, the teachers were oriented for two days on how to utilize the new abridged curriculum.
Mbonyebyombi says, the district attempted to inquire from the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) for hard copies for hard to reach schools and they were told, priority was going towards training teachers first.
“The new curriculum was designed out of an emergency and we expect our teachers to treat it as such. We believe in the next two to three years, things will have normalized.
St Allen’s Pre and Primary School Director of Studies Innocent Chakali Nizeyimana says the new curriculum has its advantages however it will generally affect the quality of learning this year.
He noted that some key components were sidelined.
Chakali says Dictionary at Primary Seven was eliminated which is a huge disservice to learners.
“We are prepared to follow Government directives on the new abridged curriculum however once we complete it, we intend to include some of the eliminated topics to ensure our learners get a holistic learning experience”, Chakali said.
An educator and Service provider, Victor Mukiza of Rwajoro Printers says, he was trained on the new abridged curriculum.
Mukiza, who has various curriculums, printed and photocopied for sale says many schools, especially privately owned schools with low enrollment of pupils or students are struggling to buy the curriculums.
Mukiza says one of the most expensive abridged curriculum is for Primary two, having 256 pages.
“A single copy of these abridged curriculums are going for between 25,000-35,000 Ugandan shillings. Some schools have completely failed to buy some copies, Mukiza explained.
Kisoro Vision Head Teacher Hakizumwami Booker says the new abridged curriculum should be embraced as an eye opener to both teachers and learners.
He says the practicability of the topics allows learners to discover from their teachers, internet and the environment preparing them, one day to become job creators and not job seekers.
This development comes a time when Education Minister Janet Museveni has also cleared all learners in semi-candidate classes, who have the capability to sit for the forthcoming 2022 examinations, to be allowed to register.