-written by Elizabeth Onekalit
When Lisa started Sanctuary of Grace Christian Primary School in 2007, she was concerned that the pupils were only memorizing information to pass an exam. She knew that because she was a guest in another country she couldn’t just change the current curriculum and would have to humbly approach the appropriate people to begin discussions.
After meeting with the Ministry of Education and asking permission, she was told that as long as she kept the current information intact, she could write the curriculum in a way that taught the pupils how to acquire appropriate knowledge, process well through formal and informal logic, and communicate effectively through verbal and written expression. You can imagine her excitement as she thought of the children at Sanctuary of Grace and those across the nation.
Since 2007, Lisa has attended many conferences and meetings addressing the issues facing the Ugandan education system. As they say here, slowly by slowly the first phase of the Roots to Fruits Christian Curriculum Lisa and team have been working on is almost complete, so she was excited to attend The International Conference on Curriculum for Sustainable Learning, hosted by the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC), to learn more about where education in Uganda stands.
Over three days, Lisa and others from Uganda, plus numerous African and Eastern countries, learned of the problems facing African curriculum. The need and desire to revive the African Curriculum Organisation, the purpose of exchanging ideas, and plans for future curriculum development in Africa as a whole were also discussed.
The speakers and leaders of the conference expressed a number of concerns:
Often times, when a child starts school they are discouraged to speak their Mother Tongue so that they can learn English. There were concerns that there was a loss of proficiency in the mother tongue as well as a lack of proficiency in English.
It is important, in any culture, to know where you come from, who your ancestors are, and why your society functions in a certain way. There were concerns that lessons in history seem to have fallen by the wayside while math and science have taken a preferred emphasis.
No matter what culture you are a part of, there is always some sort of moral code. Unfortunately, in some cultures that moral code is based on worldview assumptions of survival instead of God’s moral codes. There were concerns that there has been a lack of moral teaching.
For Uganda, the rote method of teaching is no stranger. There were concerns that there is a lack of critical and independent thinking among the pupils.
Before colonisation, curriculum was solely based on family learning. There were concerns that the curriculum is too colonized.
To read is to possess knowledge. There were concerns that the pupils are unable to read and comprehend. There were also concerns about the lack of reading material and curriculum that includes reading, which would, in turn, create a desire to read.
And finally, there were concerns that the Private Sector has the benefit of being on the grassroots level. They need to be given a bigger voice for change in the government levels since they gain better insight into the educational needs and demands.
As Lisa listened, she knew in her mind that all of the concerns expressed were answered in the Roots to Fruits Curriculum and the next step would be to talk to the NCDC about endorsing it.
While Lisa is encouraged that curriculum is a topic of discussion, she asks for prayers of wisdom for the leaders of Uganda so that change can take place in the education system.