As government prepares to introduce the new curriculum in 2020, NCDC is concerned about the quality of teachers at the implementation stage.
NCDC director Grace Baguma said while the curriculum body endeavors to develop worthy curriculums, they are let down by teachers.
“We orient teachers, we give them right things but they make us look like everything is wrong. The challenge ahead is changing the teacher’s mindset,” Baguma said.
When asked whether teachers are primarily responsible for failing curriculums, Dr Jane Egau Okou, the commissioner, Teacher/Tutor, Instructor Education and Training (TIET) depart at the ministry of Education, partly disagrees.
“When a curriculum is developed, teachers are supposed to understand the spirit behind the new idea but this is not the case,” Dr Egau said.
“In most cases, even the TIET department is kept off …As a teacher, I am concerned and it is not fair to introduce a new thing without involving teachers.”
NCDC plans to orient teachers but Egau said orientation alone is unsustainable without retooling teachers, tutors and lecturers to align their training with the new curriculum. Budgets for the curriculum have no aspects of training but, rather, orienting in-service teachers for the 20 subjects. Before the rollout in 2020, NCDC has costed six preliminary activities at Shs 2.6bn.
Of this, NCDC only secured Shs 700m in the financial year 2018/19 and currently needs 1.9bn. Consultancy services are budgeted at Shs 673m, development and editing of textbook prototypes (Shs 1.2bn), trialing of the textbooks (Shs 123.8m), fine tuning teacher training manuals and orientation (Shs 346m), editing and illustrations (Shs 153.6m) and quality assurance and approval process (Shs 55m).
Egau said they will engage NCDC on how to find resources in their budget to train teachers as ordered by the president. “Once we have the resources, we are ready to train our teachers. We are also reviewing our budget to include the component of teacher training for the new curriculum,” she said.
Web Ndyabahika, who was a member of the curriculum taskforce that led to the first curriculum but later rejected by the president, said it is absurd that the TIET department was ignored in developing the new curriculum.
“Teachers are not well trained, there are no instructional materials; how do you expect them to teach?” he asked.
“The moment we don’t train a teacher, they will use university and college notes to teach because that is what they know. You cannot give what you don’t know,” Ndyabahika said, referring to the new curriculum as “fairer” compared to the first one that had combined Physics, Chemistry and Biology to form one subject.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mwebe, a teacher at Kennedy SS Kisubi, said NCDC’s claim of teachers failing the curriculum is true to some extent.
“The education system is now results-driven. This has forced teachers into streaming learners to get first grades instead of looking at their skills as stipulated in the curriculum,” says the Geography and Economics teacher.
He later defers to blame NCDC for not consulting teachers but consistently invite head teachers. On the new curriculum, he said: “The merger of some subjects is okay but there is a lot to be desired. NCDC should come on ground and talk to teachers instead of making assumptions.”