In a world where education systems constantly evolve, Uganda is not an exception. The proposed review of the Advanced Level (A-Level) curriculum is a significant step towards aligning the country’s educational framework with global trends and national needs, particularly in light of Vision 2040 and other key development agendas. The A-Level curriculum is more than just an academic syllabus; it’s a crucial tool for economic and social development.
Needs Assessment Study for A’ Level
In 2021/22, a thorough needs assessment was conducted by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC). This study revealed critical gaps: the current curriculum’s failure to equip students with practical skills for the job market, its misalignment with international curriculum trends, and the lack of inclusion of vital contemporary issues like digital literacy and climate change. Rooted in the 1963 Castle Education Commission, the existing curriculum is also criticized for being content-heavy, outdated, and exclusive.
Purpose of the A’ Level Curriculum Review
The review aims to bridge these gaps, optimizing the learning experience and achieving Uganda’s educational goals. Objectives include aligning the A-level curriculum with the National Lower Secondary Curriculum, integrating essential skills, values, and attitudes, updating teaching methodologies, and introducing school-based assessments. A significant focus is also on vocationalising secondary education.
Underlying Philosophy of A’ Level Education
The philosophy driving this reform is to create a well-rounded, patriotic, and morally upright citizen. This individual will be a critical thinker, inventive, enterprising, and an inquirer who can make informed judgments and offer innovative solutions to challenges.
Proposed A’ Level Learner Profile
The envisioned A-Level learner will be knowledgeable, an effective communicator, a leader, a team player, and technologically savvy. They will respect diverse opinions and engage in lifelong learning.
Suggested Changes to the A-Level Curriculum
Changes include transitioning from an objective-based curriculum to a Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), adopting learner-centered teaching approaches, integrating ICT in all subjects, emphasizing practical skills, and introducing school-based assessments accounting for 20% of the final grade. The curriculum will also see the introduction of vocational subjects and contemporary studies.
Proposed Subjects at A-Level
The curriculum will offer a diverse range of subjects, including humanities (like CRE, IRE, Geography), sciences (such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), vocational subjects (including ICT, Art and Design, Entrepreneurship), and languages (local and foreign languages, including Kiswahili and Ugandan Sign Languages).
World of Work Composition of the Contemporary Studies Subject
Contemporary studies will cover areas like personal development, financial literacy, ethics, leadership, ICT, climate change, and sustainable development, among others.
Implications of the A-Level Curriculum Review
This review, alongside the ongoing Education Review Commission, calls for harmonization with pre-service teacher training programs and ensuring ICT accessibility. It also necessitates careful consideration of subject combinations to meet the desired learner profile. With the first batch of students under the new curriculum expected in Senior 3 by 2023, there is a pressing need for efficient planning and implementation.
The NCDC seeks collaborative support from vice-chancellors, academic registrars, and key stakeholders in discussing and making recommendations for this proposed review. This initiative is not just about educational reform; it’s about building a stronger, more capable, and more adaptive future generation for Uganda.