Several private secondary schools in Soroti district are struggling to implement the new curriculum without books and other important instructional materials. The Education and Sports Ministry rolled out the new lower secondary school curriculum in February amidst protest from Member of Parliament.
Parliament halted the implementation of the new curriculum on grounds that the government needed to address a number of issues before rolling it out. Most of the issues rotate around the availability of instructional materials like textbooks, teacher’s guides, learner’s manual and the readiness of teachers to the new curriculum.
The National Curriculum Development Center-NCDC argues that the new curriculum is competent- based and aims at exposing learners to creativity and innovativeness to emphasize self- reliance. NCDC also notes that the new curriculum promotes effective learning and acquisition of skills; addresses the needs of all students and lays the foundation for improved pedagogy and assessment procedures, which allows learners to more effectively realize their full potential.
The new curriculum is also envisaged to allow flexibility to absorb emerging fields of knowledge in a rapidly-changing world. In Soroti, some private schools are finding difficulties to implement the curriculum because of their inability to access and acquire textbooks for learners that would aid their learning process.
Bertha Asekenye, the Head Teacher Jeressar High School, a privately owned academic giant in Teso, says they don’t have sufficient textbooks for learners. She observes that while they have started teaching the new curriculum, it demands a lot for both teachers and learners.
Simon Peter Obila, the deputy headteacher of PAG Secondary School in Soroti, says while the new curriculum is a good move by the government, they have failed to get teachers for some of the subjects required in the new curriculum.
John Ebelu, a teacher at Soroti Municipal Secondary School, says some subjects like Fine Art have no information in the curriculum making its implementation very hard.
Martin Okiria Obore, the Chairperson Secondary Head Teachers Association of Uganda, says the implementation of the new curriculum is constrained by financial hiccups especially in private schools. He notes that private schools differ in capacity and urges the government to give affirmative action especially to some upcountry schools that are struggling financially.