Teachers in different schools are struggling to decide the content to prepare for learners in different classes with just a few days left to the resumption of teaching and learning activities across the country,
Teachers are expected to prepare schemes of work before every beginning of the term, detailing the content from the syllabus that will be taught. However, this year is special given the fact that learners have been automatically promoted before covering most of the content in their previous classes.
To enable teachers to prepare for teaching upon reopening, the Ministry of Education had promised an abridged curriculum to speed up the learning process by allowing learners to complete the work that they should have covered in the previous and current academic year in a shortened timeframe.
But several teachers are still confused on how to prepare the schemes of work this time around, since the abridged curriculum was never delivered, yet for many, the children did not have physical interaction with teachers for almost two years.
Hassan Gombe, the headteacher of Mulago High School in Kampala says that they have decided to start from where they stopped by the time schools were closed in 2020.
Thomas Kitandwe, the headteacher of Kampala Quality Primary School says that they can no longer wait for the abridged curriculum, and they have equally opted to start from where the learners had stopped in their previous classes, considering that the promotions were automatic for each of them.
Kitandwe adds that they are also aware that many parents put in some effort to offer continued learning during the lockdown but the school has a responsibility to ensure that all learners are on the same footing at the time of progressing to the next class in 2023.
At Yudesi Primary School in Kampala, teachers were also challenged on how to integrate content from the previous class. The school has plans of not teaching learners in the first two weeks which are dedicated to receiving learners and orientation.
However, Rogers Kakaire, the headteacher at Yudesi says that the teaching and learning process will be on in the third week. To ease the process, Kakaire says, they will teach content for the current class and have remedial teaching over the weekends.
Lawrence Kasibante Basajjasubi, a senior teacher and administrator at Nakasero Senior Secondary School says that they have resolved to teach two syllabi in the same class putting more emphasis on science subjects that have a lot of critical content that learners should not miss if they are to progress to other levels of learning.
Santo Opiro, the Head Teacher of Unifat Primary school in Gulu says that in the absence of the abridged curriculum, they have designed their teaching content by integrating the syllabus missed by learners in their previous classes with the current class.
District Education Officers are also telling headteachers to ensure that content from previous classes is covered, for learners to recover the lost learning time. Gulu District Education Officer Caesar Akena advised the school heads to ensure that their teachers cover the time lost during the COVID-19 lockdown by combining content from previous with current classes.
In Western Uganda, non-state Education Institutions are planning to hire education consultants and resourceful teachers to help their schools develop content that will be used by teachers to recover lost time. Laban Kanywa, the Chairperson of the Federation of non-state Education Institutions, says that this is the only way the situation can be handled other than waiting for an official arrangement from the education ministry.
Venasio Musinguzi Winner, the chairperson of Mbarara District Head Teachers Association says that many school leaders are still confused about how the situation can be handled given the fact teachers are green about how effective to merge content for the two years.
Sula Naminya, the Headteacher of Nambi Community Secondary and Vocational School says that the teachers are still challenged to integrate the content of the previous class during the scheming process.
Another teacher of a government-aided school in Luwero district who preferred anonymity said he was not aware of the content of the abridged curriculum and the teachers at their school have been advised to use the old curriculum to come up with lesson plans until they get more clarity on how to apply it.
Daniel Ssejjabi, the Chairperson of Luwero Private Schools Association, says many schools have postponed the preparation of teaching material. He says that apart from the fact that the abridged curriculum is nowhere to be seen, teachers who are supposed to prepare the schemes of work and lesson plans are yet to report back to schools.
With schools almost gambling with their means, the reports from the ministry of education indicate that the abridged curriculum is ready. Although it is not yet clear when it will be disseminated, sources indicated that training of master trainers who will then be used to teach others in different regions is soon kicking off.
Grace Baguma, the Executive Director of the National Curriculum Development Centre-NCDC, noted that when the curriculum is out, it will be published on different websites including that of the Ministry of Education and the Uganda National Examinations Board, among others for teachers to freely access it.
“The Abridged Curriculum slightly differs from teaching in the normal curriculum. In this situation, there is a deliberate effort to catch up for the lost time during the interruption. Teachers must try to assist learners in a way that will enable them to achieve the best. We have reorganized content leaving out less-critical topics or sub-topic. Those which don’t affect learners’ competence at a given level have been scrapped,” says Baguma.
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