May 18, 2024
News

Curriculum crisis

By Andrew Masinde

Learning in kindergartens and nursery schools in the past, was through storytelling, songs and physical exercises.

But today, some toddlers hardly understand what is taught in some nursery schools. Therefore, before you enrol your child in that kindergarten, interest yourself in the curriculum they are following.

This is because studies have revealed that there is a lack of uniformity in the curriculum followed by nursery schools.

Although there is a learning framework, which was developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), many schools do not follow it.

Mwalimu established that some schools have developed their own syllabi — using different initiatives and teaching methods based on the British common curriculum, the East African common curriculum and the curriculum designed by Centre Coordinating Tutors. A few schools use the learning framework of NCDC.

Deborah Magera, the curriculum specialist for the NCDC, says a survey conducted in different schools showed that many schools were not using the official curriculum as required by the Government.

“I was shocked to discover that schools were using curriculums from private companies. When I analysed these curriculums, I found out that they were substandard,” Magera said.

The survey, for instance, revealed that some schools assess nursery pupils using the primary school syllabus. Such a mode of assessment is not appropriate for children aged between three and six years.

An approach that encourages children to be inquisitive in the provision of early childhood learning is ideal for enhancing their holistic development.

Some children were being subjected to coaching in the evening to enable them to pass exams. Exerting academic pressure on toddlers is tantamount to child abuse, according to Uganda Child Rights NGO Network.

The practice emphasises mental development rather than stimulating holistic mental, physical, spiritual and social development, as child playtime is substituted for academics.

Some schools set examinations, as a benchmark for enrolling children, but experts say the only ethically defensible criterion for determining school entry is whether the child has reached the age of school.

Asked to explain why such schools are not penalised, Magera said, “We lack resources and powers to enforce punishments on these private companies and schools. They are messing up the country’s education.

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