The National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) has developed Learners Textbooks and Teachers Guides for all subjects in the new Lower Secondary Curriculum which begins with Senior One 2020.
In the old curriculum, NCDC only developed the syllabus documents for each subject and then different authors went ahead to create textbooks and pamphlets which teachers and learners have been using as reference books in schools. However, lots of issues were realized which NCDC’s new approach seeks to solve.
‘The pamphlets problem’
In a 2018 study on the implementation of Subsidiary Subjects at A level, the research and evaluation department of National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) recommended that NCDC should develop instructional materials aligned to the syllabus, after study findings showed that the majority 74(80.4%) of the teachers indicated that textbooks were inadequate while only 18(19.6%) said were adequate. Likewise most students said they did not have any textbooks, instead pamphlets were being used.
Both teachers and students gave long lists of pamphlets they were using. This means that generally textbooks are inadequate in many schools. Therefore teachers are likely to find it hard while teaching the learners without reference books for teachers and students. This as a result may slow/obstruct learners from acquiring all the necessary skills and develop competences in relation to the designed curriculum. Therefore this gross inadequacy or lack of instructional materials experienced in schools is a limitation to effective learning. The researchers observed that in the syllabus document, no appropriate textbooks were recommended for study of some subjects. Hence schools which would wish to purchase are not guided.
NCDC Unveils the New Learners Textbooks and Teachers Guides to Master Trainers
During the just concluded training of over 1,600 Master Trainers (Trainers of Trainers who are going to help in the roll out of the new curriculum by training other teachers countrywide) which I was privileged to be part of, one of the sessions was about linkage between the syllabus and the Learners book. Refer to the the detailed program of the 10 day training and the rapporteur’s report. (hyperlinked).
During that session, NCDC Facilitators presented to us early versions / prototypes of learners books in various subjects. We were asked to read through and study the structure of the books and we noticed that they were arranged topic by topic as laid out on the syllabus. Companion Teachers Guides were also given to us and we noticed that they have additional information for the teacher on how to prepare for each activity in the book and how to go about the assessment. NB: NCDC has engaged several educationists to proofread and edit the books.
The learners books include a range of activities which will be conducted both within and outside the classroom setting. The leaner is expected to be able to work as an individual, in pairs and groups according to the nature of activities. The teacher as a facilitator will prepare what the learners are to learn and the learners books is one to the materials to be used to support the teaching learning process.
Scheming and Lesson Planning in the new curriculum.
A scheme of work is a professional document that highlights what the teacher intends to cover at a particular time bearing in mind that the content will be learnt at that specific time. In the new competence based and learner centered curriculum, the teacher has to plan activities which will engage the learners. The teacher should ensure that the principles of Triangulation are planned for. These include:
- Observation – watching learners working (good for assessing skills and values)
- Conversation – asking questions and talking to learners (good for assessing knowledge and understanding)
- Product – appraising the learner’s work (writing, report, translation, calculation, presentation, map, diagram, model, drawing, painting etc.). In this context, a “product” is seen as something physical and permanent that the teacher can keep and look at, not something that the learner says.When all three are used, the information from any one can be checked against the other two forms of assessment opportunity (e.g. evidence from “observation” can be checked against evidence from “conversation” and “product”). This is often referred to as “triangulation”.
It was noted that a scheme of work was important because it helps a teacher to identify Learning Outcomes, have coherence in teaching, monitor progress of teaching, guides flow of content, helps a teacher to write a Lesson Plan, helps a teacher seek for relevant material for effective implementation, among others.
During the Master Trainers Training, we were tasked to plan a mini lesson on any of the learning outcomes in the syllabus. Download below some of the sample Lesson Plans which were developed by the ICT Group and Mathematics Group.
How will schools access the books?
Mr. Christopher Muganga, the head of secondary school curriculum at NCDC told the New Vision that printing of revised textbooks is underway and all schools will be required to stock the new instructional materials.
He said continuing students will not be affected by the new arrangements.
“Students joining Senior One this year will be the pioneers of the new curriculum, and we are printing the Senior One textbooks first. Textbooks for the rest of the O’level classes will be printed gradually as the pioneers are promoted to the next classes,” he said.
For starters the education ministry will distribute free sample textbooks to both government-aided and registered private schools.
For private schools, he said, the ministry will only cater for compulsory subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology, geography, history and political education. After that, the schools will be expected to buy the textbooks.
Private schools will also be required to buy Kiswahili textbooks since it is compulsory in both Senior One and Two.
“We will ensure that all government-aided schools and registered private schools get copies of the sample textbooks,” Muganga said.
Is it end of the road for pamphlet authors who have been cashing-in during the old curriculum era?
I am one of the people affected by the new development of ‘official books’ by NCDC. I have 5 books on market, including Computer Studies for Uganda, which is based on the old curriculum. Clearly, this book is now no longer in line with the demands of the new curriculum. Sadly, it is the end of the road for the book! However, as an author, I have to rise to the occasion to make another book with lots of competence based activities to facilitate learner centered lessons. Teachers have been discouraged from dictating notes to students and so compiling a book full of notes like how Computer Studies for Uganda has been is no longer necessary.
Before going for the NCDC training, I was hurriedly compiling notes basing on the topics in the new ICT curriculum aiming at quickly publishing a book before the term starts, but when I got an opportunity to attend the NCDC training, I reflected and decided not to rush. I realized that It is business unusual, teachers are just facilitators of learning and not necessarily a source of knowledge as it has been. Therefore, making a good book requires a bigger effort and may also require input from other educators. NCDC has not ruled out teachers using other books as supplemental references so long as they can be used to support teaching and learning in a learner centered lesson.
On a personal consolation note however, the new curriculum approach has not yet been introduced at Alevel and therefore my Subsidiary ICT for Uganda book is still marketable.
Other Important Issues to note during the roll out of the new curriculum
During the closing ceremony of our training, the commissioner for secondary education at the Ministry of education and sports, Mr. Sam Kuloba was our chief guest. He has urged all teachers to start delivering learner-centered lessons and embrace the new trends for 21st Century Education.
The name for the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) has also been changed to Uganda Certificate for Lower Secondary Education.
School instructional time is from 8am to 2.55pm but the school day will run up to 4.30pm each working day. Each lesson is 40 minutes which will add up to 40 periods per week.
Government this week extended the reporting date for students in some schools (regional SESEMAT centers) where teacher training is being conducted from February 3 to February 10 to allow them conclude the training on the new curriculum. These include:
- Kampala region at Kibuli S. S
- Wakiso/Kalangala at Trinity College Nabbingo
- Mityana at Mityana S. S
- Mpigi at Maria Goretti Katende
- Luwero at Ndejje S. S
- Kalungu at Bukulula Girls
- Masaka at Masaka S. S
- Mbarara at Ntare school
- Rakai at Kiteredde S. S
- Bushenyi at Sacred Heart Mushanga
- Ntungama at Muntuyera H. S kitunga
- Kigezi at St. Mary’s rushoroza
- Kasese at Nsenyi girls on bwera road
- Rwenzori at Nyakasura school
- Bunyoro at duhaga S. S
- Arua/Nebbi at Mvara S s
- Moyoat Moyo S. S
- Guluat Sacred Heart
- LANGO IS AT LANGO COLLEGE
- Teso at Teso college Aloet
- Karamoja at Moroto High school
- Mbale at Kamonkoli college
- Jinja at Jinja college
- Tororo /BUTALEJA at tororo girls
- Iganga at Iganga S. S
- Mukono at Mt. St. Mary’s. College namagunga
Watch the interview in the video below for Madam Clemensia Akuwa, the deputy head teacher at Trinity College Nabbingo, one of the schools where the training taking place.
The new curriculum also allows interested learners to be subjected to the DIT examinations which are skilled based for subjects like Nutrition and Food Technology, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, ICT etc.
This will allow them acquire a competence certification of level 1 of the Uganda Vocational Qualification Framework (IVQF) for the world of work.
Such learners will exit O level with two certificates. Both formative and summative assessment will be done.
These have been agreed at 20% for formative or school based assessment and 80% for the summative assessment of UNEB at the end of S4 which will lead to the award of UCE.
Other Resource Downloads
DISCLAIMER: Many of the documents below are in prototype stage, shared for purposes of giving you an idea on what to expect. The final curriculum documents including learners guides and teachers books are to be officially distributed to schools by GOVERNMENT OF UGANDA NOT FOR SALE.