Two years ago, this paper ran two stories on the curriculum system in Canada, which evaluates its learners on a progression of the astuteness, in which the learners are developing. One of the stories even narrated a situation in which a twelve year-old was admitted to a university based on his acumen in Mathematics.
Last week, the World Bank mission here advised the Government to scrap its Primary Leaving Education (PLE) system and replace it with “accompanying quality enhancement measures.” In fact, not only the PLE system, but the whole education system.
Admittedly, this is long over-due. Right now, the Uganda system, with a few alterations in the last 50 or-so years, is basically colonial. In other words, we are still stuck in the colonial system of education which even the colonial masters have abandoned.
So, it means for the country to address the challenges that have risen in that time, a system of education is necessary that will address the development of those challenges. We have argued elsewhere that it starts with the curriculum. We need to start evaluating the whole curriculum system with a view to changing it. It may be necessary to adopt a number of curricula, each of which addresses pertinent socio-economic problems.
We should not be waiting upon development partners to all the time come to make suggestion for us as if we are illiterates, who have no capacity to analyze our own problems. For a long time, Uganda has been talking about its superior system of education, even in the region, while the other countries are adopting relevant systems of education to inculcate on their youngsters.
Last year, the World Bank had a detailed look at the facilities that obtain in our Primary schools. It is probably what has now come to inform this advice to the Government about the PLE.
It found conditions in the Primary schools in the country that were not at all conducive to learning. For instance, in this 21st Century, there still a good number of up-country Primary schools where the children are learning under trees, being taught by unqualified teachers, who, in most cases, are people who have failed their ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations.
This is a dire situation the country finds itself in. The World Bank advise is pertinent for the policy makers and educators to come up with answers to the whole educations system. And it should look at the whole spectrum of it. Even as we take the issue of PLE, it should now look at the Secondary, Tertiary, University and Technical systems all tied to curricula that are fashioned to make the country develop and remove un-employment.
It can only be after this we shall be seen as even appreciating the advice of our development partners. And then, for us to go forward on our own system of educational development.