Student Teachers Ignorant of New Curriculum

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Several schools have raised complaints on the competencies of student teachers regarding the new lower secondary curriculum.     

Teacher trainees from different universities and other teacher training institutions have been deployed to undertake the mandatory school practice which exposes them to a real school environment before they are passed out.  

However, schools have discovered that the trainees are ignorant about the new curriculum yet most of them had been placed in Senior One where the curriculum is being implemented.  

Henry Ssekaggo, the headteacher Wampewo-Ntake SS, says that he received fifteen student teachers from different universities but none of them is familiar with the new curriculum.  

“The new curriculum has its own needs, for instance; the teaching is learner-centred and therefore the teaching method must also be learner-centred. The assessment has also changed- But these young men and women don’t know anything about the new curriculum,” says Ssekaggo.  

Rogers Kimbugwe, the headteacher at Comprehensive College Kitetikka, says that to his surprise the six teacher trainees attached to his school came along with schemes of work derived from the old curriculum.  

Kimbugwe adds that when student teachers face a challenge they are normally guided by in-service teachers who are unfamiliar with the new curriculum.  

Dr Jane Egau Okou, the Acting Director for Higher Technical Vocational Education and Training, says that as the ministry changed the curriculum, universities were expected to redesign their programmes and put in the aspect that prepares the trainee to handle the new curriculum.   

Dr Egau notes that the pedagogical requirements under the two curricula are totally different and therefore somebody who was trained with the old curriculum cannot effectively deliver on the new curriculum.  

“At least I understand that the Uganda Institute of Teacher Education-UNITE is developing programmes that match with the new curriculum. However, it is upon each university to redesign their programmes to fit into the needs of the new curriculum,” says Egau.  

Although universities had to integrate the needs of the new curriculum in their teacher education programmes, it seems many of them had not yet started on the process. 

Abel Byabagambi, a student-teacher from Kyambogo University posted at City High Secondary School in Wakiso says that it has been so challenging for them to adapt to the new curriculum given the fact that they did not receive any training.  

Prof Ahmed Umar Kasule, the Muteesa I Royal University Vice-Chancellor, notes that they have delayed school practice after observing that their students needed to be trained on the new curriculum.  

“The new curriculum came at the time when the students were already on the programme. Although we have not done a thorough review of the teacher education curriculum at the institution, we have ensured that all learners are given basic knowledge needed to teach under the new curriculum before they are sent to schools,” says Prof Kasule.   

Prof Fred Masagazi Masaazi, Principal College of Education and External Studies at Makerere University says that they have not yet fully reviewed their curriculum to cater for the new curriculum, he, however, notes that student teachers were trained on the new curriculum before they were sent to schools.    

“The students were exposed to the new curriculum. We also intend to provide them with continuous support while at their stations. However, we intend to integrate the new curriculum in our programmes in the long run,” Prof Masaazi.    

The new curriculum incorporates soft skills such as creativity, innovation and critical thinking and integrates ICT and other topics including climate change, animal welfare, reproductive health and financial literacy.    

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