The Minister of Education and First Lady, order Janet Museveni has asked experts in the education sector to come up with solutions that will address the inefficiencies in the quality of learning.
She said that this has widened and deprived Ugandans of the standard that the country once boasted of in the entire East African region.
Janet Museveni largely attributed the inadequate skills among Uganda’s graduates to the assessment ad examination system which she said is more focused on grading instead of the content being taught in schools.
The Minister was speaking on Tuesday while opening a two day symposium on the state of assessment and examinations in Uganda’s education system, ailment held at Royal Suites in Kampala.
“Uganda has been a hub for quality education in Africa. Most Presidents of the countries in East and Central Africa studied in Uganda.”
“However, click there has been disturbing research reports of late rating the proficiency of Ugandan learners to be lower than desired and the competence, attitude and performance of our graduate rated lower than regional counterparts,” she noted, asking that the trend be reversed.
She worried that the public is increasingly judging the education performance entirely on examination results, not whether learners are being equipped with the skills required in the world of work.
“If all children are to acquire quality education, then the entire teaching and learning process has to be effectively handled,” she said.
According to the First Lady, the curriculum should be right and able to spell out the desired competencies learners should achieve and teachers must have the capacity to interpret the curriculum. This however she says doesn’t seem to be the practice both at the end of the cycle assessment and examinations.
The symposium attracted educationists, policy makers, NGOs, civil society, representatives from private institutions of learning, officials from examination bodies among others.
Most of the participants submitted that while Uganda’s has made strides in increasing access to education, the teaching still relies on the colonial approach and does little to address current demands.
Dr. Reg Allen, the Director of CACSA Australia who delivered a keynote address pointed out that the central purpose of assessment should be to influence learning to ensure students get the skills that will facilitate their careers.
“Examination results such as those of PLE, UCE and UACE are not enough to understand the performance of a student. We need valid information on students outcomes in terms of outputs and outcomes not simply inputs and processes,” Dr. Reg said.
He said there is evidence of a significant mismatch between what students are expected to learn and what the Ugandan employers see as the needed competencies, adding that this could frustrate the nation’s development agenda.
Some have previously proposed that government invests more in technical and vocational training which seems to impart more practical skills compared to the secondary and university models. This could explain why people with technical and vocational training are much more employable compared to university graduates.
Onesmus Oyesigye, the Executive Secretary for UBTEB the examinations body for technical institutions told ChimpReports that government should involve the private sectors in future assessment of learners.
“We have been told oftenly that the graduates coming out of institutions are not the ones the working environment wants. Therefore like we have done as UBTEB, let the private sector for whom we train should know what we assess and advise us on the skills to be given priority,” Oyesigye said.