The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga and several legislators mainly from the opposition have disagreed with the statement presented by the Education and Sports Minister, Janet Museveni on the revised lower secondary curriculum. On Thursday afternoon, the Education Minister delivered a statement in parliament explaining why the Ministry of Education went ahead to roll out the new curriculum in disregard of the parliamentary resolution halting its implementation.
Parliament halted implementation of the curriculum starting with Senior One students this year on grounds that it was rushed and required more consultation of stakeholders. Developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), the curriculum replaces termly exams with projects that students will undertake every end of topic.
Teachers will then be required to note the student’s progress before any other topic is introduced. Teachers will be administering end of year exams in order to give feedback to parents and guardians. In her statement to parliament, Education Minister Janet Museveni noted that when Parliament asked her Ministry to halt the roll out of the curriculum on February 4th, 2020 the Ministry couldn’t change the plan with without a Cabinet decision, which is the policy making organ of Government.
She explained that following consultations with Cabinet, the Education Ministry was guided not to halt the roll out of the new curriculum because it was too late to change plan. She also said it was Cabinet’s view to continue discussing the curriculum with Parliament until an agreement is reached.
“Honorable members, the current curriculum for lower secondary education has been in existence since colonial times. It is largely knowledge-based with little emphasis on skills and values and therefore, it is inadequate to address the issues faced by the learners of today and the social-economic needs of our country,” she said.
Janet Museveni told MPs that an effective curriculum is supposed to prepare a leaner to be a global citizen both in his or her community and globally. She also revealed that they made adequate consultations on the new lower Secondary Curriculum between 2016 and 2018 and earlier.
She named some of those consulted as President Yoweri Museveni, MPs on the Committee of Education, regional Chairpersons of Secondary Schools, Head teachers’ Association (ASSHU), Vice Chancellors from both public and private universities, members of the Vice Chancellors Forum, representatives from the National Teachers’ Colleges, Deans of the schools for Education from both public and private universities, some Parents and learners, representatives of religious institutions and representatives of Cultural leaders among others.
She said that the revised lower secondary curriculum will promote effective learning and acquisition of skills, reduce subject and content overload and address the needs of all students.
Her statement didn’t go well with mainly Opposition legislators. Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda didn’t to take the floor, saying parliament had demanded a statement on why the Minister defied its resolution and not a statement briefing them on steps taken to defy the parliamentary resolution.
Ssemujju argued that the Minister’s statement was not provided for under the Rules of Procedure. He said that the content presented by the Minister had earlier been provided by the State Minister for Primary Education, Rose Mary Sseninde.
However, Speaker requested that the Statement is received as is.
Kadaga insisted amid applause from the ruling government side that the Minister’s statement had responded to issues earlier raised by Parliament.
However, the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba said that the earlier decision of parliament to halt the implementation of the curriculum had not been addressed by the Minister’s statement.
He suggested that the statement by the Minister is expunged from the record of parliament since its details had earlier been provided and that parliament’s directive was on a statement giving reasons why its resolution was not respected.
Kadaga said that the decision of Parliament was not being reconsidered.
The Shadow Education Minister, Mathias Mpuuga said the statement gives highlights of some of the issues raised by parliament but falls short of details why parliament decided to halt its roll out.
Erute South MP, Jonathan Odur also wondered what would happen to an earlier resolution of parliament to halt the curriculum, saying the statement by the Minister doesn’t respond to it. Kadaga then said that it was true parliament made a resolution but she hastened to add that before that resolution, issues had been raised by the MPs and that these have been answered by the Minister’s statement.
The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda explained that Cabinet decided to roll out the curriculum since there was readiness by the Minister to start.
Kadaga cut the debate short saying parliament had requested for information and that it had been given. The fresh disagreement follows an earlier meeting between President, Yoweri Museveni and Speaker Rebecca, ahead of the discussion on the curriculum.