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New curriculum: MPs, Kadaga clash over Janet's statement

Minister Janet Museveni makes her presentation

Minister Janet Museveni makes her presentation

A parliamentary statement by the minister of Education and Sports to clear controversies on the new lower secondary curriculum created even more controversy as MPs and the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga disagreed on its legality. 
Kadaga had earlier this week threatened to send the Education ministry officials including the first lady also Education minister Janet Museveni to the disciplinary committee over failure to address parliament on the controversies surrounding the new lower secondary curriculum.  
Parliament, last week passed a resolution halting the implementation of the new curriculum demanding that the controversies surrounding financing and materials, consultations, supervision, training be addressed first before it is rolled out in schools. However, government defied the MPs and went ahead and rolled out the new curriculum. 
Yesterday Thursday, Janet delivered a statement in parliament explaining why the ministry of Education disregarded a parliamentary resolution halting the curriculum implementation. Janet noted that when parliament asked her ministry to halt the rollout of the curriculum on February 4, the ministry couldn’t change the plan without a cabinet decision, which is the policy-making organ of government.       

She explained that following consultations with cabinet, the ministry was guided not to halt the rollout of the new curriculum because it was too late to change plan. She also said it was cabinet’s view to continue discussing the curriculum with parliament until an agreement is reached.

“Honourable members, the current curriculum for lower secondary education has been in existence since colonial times. It is largely knowledge-based with little emphasis on skills and values and therefore, it is inadequate to address the issues faced by the learners of today and the social-economic needs of our country,” she said.

Janet told MPs that an effective curriculum is supposed to prepare the learner to be a global citizen, useful in both his or her community and globally. She also revealed that they made adequate consultations on the new curriculum between 2016 and 2018 and earlier.

She named some of those consulted as President Yoweri Museveni, MPs on the committee of Education, regional chairpersons of secondary schools, Headteachers’ Association (ASSHU), vice-chancellors from both public and private universities, members of the Vice Chancellors Forum, representatives from the national teachers’ colleges, deans of the schools for education from both public and private universities, some parents and learners, representatives of religious institutions and representatives of cultural leaders among others.

She said that the revised lower secondary curriculum will promote effective learning and acquisition of skills, reduce subject and content overload and address the needs of all students.

"The reviewed curriculum has embraced inclusive education by providing for the different categories of learners’ needs in the curriculum. For instance, the learners with visual impairment will study general science which doesn’t have component of practical aspect with physics, chemistry, and biology to enable all learners to learn scientific concepts for living a balanced lifestyle," she said. 

"Likewise, Ugandan sign language has been introduced to allow normal learners to communicate with their counterparts who may be deaf. The teacher is a facilitator of learning, meaning that learners are expected to contribute to their learning with guidance from the teacher. The curriculum further emphasizes the freedom to ask questions until clarity is provided." she added. 

Her statement didn’t go well with mainly opposition legislators. Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda took to the floor, saying parliament had demanded a statement on why the minister defied its resolution and not a statement briefing them on steps taken to defy the parliamentary resolution.  

Ssemujju argued that the minister’s statement was not provided for under the Rules of Procedure. He said that the content presented by the minister had earlier been provided by the state minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde. 

"The statement we directed the minister of Education to come and make is not a statement on the curriculum. It is a statement on a defined parliamentary resolution. Rule 2(17) requires a minister to come to parliament and brief parliament on steps taken on the implementation of the parliamentary resolution not to come and brief parliament on steps taken to defy a parliamentary resolution and we made these rules for a purpose…Rules only provide to present a statement on steps taken to implement a parliamentary resolution." said Ssemujju.     

However, the speaker requested that the statement be received as is. Kadaga insisted amid applause from the ruling government side that the minister’s statement had responded to issues earlier raised by parliament.

"Hon members I think that you should allow the minister to make her statement. I don’t know what is contained in her statement, I don’t know what she’s going to say. Rule 2(17) is an action taken report. So allow the minister to explain what she wants to say then we can later decide if it is under Rule 2(17) or something else." Kadaga said. 
President Museveni had earlier in the day summoned Kadaga ahead of Janet's presentation on the new curriculum. The speaker’s principal press secretary, Sam Obbo told members of Tondeka Bus service members who were waiting for the speaker in her boardroom that she had been delayed after being summoned by Museveni. 

The shadow attorney general, Wilfred Niwagaba said that the earlier decision of parliament to halt the implementation of the curriculum had not been addressed by the minister’s statement. 

He suggested that the statement by the minister be expunged from the record of parliament since its details had earlier been provided and that parliament’s directive was on a statement giving reasons why its resolution was not respected.  

"If the Hansard is critically examined, the Hansard of 4th February, parliament took a decision on that matter following a submission by Hon Sseninde on the same matters of fact as have been presented. Now, with that decision taken on 4th February, what we expected the minister today was to proceed under Rule 2(17) and give us the action taken on that decision…Rule 2(19) comes into play and if parliament is to revisit its decision of 4th February then you go to Rule 219 and there is no motion to revisit the motion of parliament…This statement is a regurgitation of what was presented on 4th and on 4th parliament took a decision." Niwagaba said.

Kadaga insisted that Janet's statement had majorly answered all the raised queries raised on February 4 and that the curriculum was now cleared to be rolled out. Shadow Education minister, Mathias Mpuuga said the statement gives highlights of some of the issues raised by parliament but falls short of details why parliament decided to halt its rollout.   

"You see, these controversies return again because the minister did not do the honorary thing we expected out of her because when you make this matter controversial then regurgitate the same debate we had on the floor on 4th [February], cabinet as a policy-making organ and parliament are not in competition that when we make a decision here, cabinet must veto it and go ahead and do what it wants. We’re not competing, our roles are complementary. The statement by the minister of page two is an attempt to say, yes we heard you but you see we had it our way." Mpuuga said. 

Erute South MP, Jonathan Odur also wondered what would happen to an earlier resolution of parliament to halt the curriculum, saying the statement by the minister doesn’t respond to it. Kadaga then said that it was true parliament made a resolution but she hastened to add that before that resolution, issues had been raised by the MPs and that these have been answered by the Minister’s statement.

"Madam speaker the statement by the minister of Education and sports presented is a statement that reflects our Rule 50 and for me, I don’t have any problem with it because it is a ministerial statement. But what we’re also waiting for…is that this house took a decision which should be reported by the ministry under Rule 217 which has not yet come and the house proposed that before the minister of Education comes here for any other matter that minister," said Odur. 

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said since parliament had expressed concern over the readiness of government to roll out the curriculum and Janet had convinced Cabinet about the readiness and availability of resources to start, there is no reason why the curriculum shouldn't be rolled. 


+1 #1 karemire 2020-02-21 14:55
Rolling our the curriculum in that way is akin to putting on trousers first and then followed by under pants. [Please tolerate my male bias in that statement. If it suits you, please replace trousers with skirts, or any other typically female dresses].
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+2 #2 WINNER 2020-02-21 16:19
Anyway in Uganda anything goes as long as Museveni wants it to be so.

Therefore what we call parliament is there only for the purposes to elongate Museveni stay in power and to pose around the globe as a Democrat but in essence a failed brutal dictator.

Forget the notion that he will respect the decisions of parliament and especially this curriculum issue since it touches on the ineptness of his wife Janet the minister of education.

The haphazard way of implementing the UPE actually was starting point for the demise of Uganda education and now Janet has nailed the final nail on the coffin.

The implementation is going to be worse than anything we have ever known and Museveni and his cohorts will not bother because they don’t have children in secondary school and they have the money to their own children abroad to get quality education.
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0 #3 Zaitun 2020-02-22 16:20
" the current curriculum for lower secondary education has been in existence since colonial times. It is largely knowledge-based with little emphasis on skills and values and therefore, it is inadequate to address the issues faced by the learners of today and the social-economic needs of our country,” she (Mrs Museveni) said.

According to this woman, those of us who went to Primary, Secondary schools and Universities before her program did not get enough knowledge.

All those who went before you destroyed our system were selling like hot cakes in the League of Commonwealth countries.

We had teachers and Professors of Education (Ociti, Ssekamwa, Bigala to mention but some) who made us proud of being Ugandans. Tell us of one that made you so.

We always outmatched students from Kenya and Tanzania during both Ordinary and Advanced East African Exam results till these countries went their way.
Do not be all that arrogant in what you do not know.
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0 #4 Kabayekka 2020-02-22 19:13
Interesting indeed that these are the current great Africa leaders who came out of this miserable colonial education system of some 100 years ago!

When children had to walk bear-foot 4 miles everyday to attend a missionary school.
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0 #5 Kalibbala 2020-02-22 22:51
All This Curriculum Hogwash is for Hoodwinking Ugandans !The real Mission is Targeting All Funds from Donor Countries to quench their Hunger!!

These Gluttons Do not Give a Damn whether Our Kids join School or End Up Slaves in Bahrain...Question: How can Somebody who never passed Kindergarten run such a Ministry as Education?..

It is High Time for All Ugandans to Stand Up and Get Counted..They will Shoot but They will never Kill 40 Million People..Amandla..nga wethu
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0 #6 rubangakene 2020-02-23 20:15
The Minister should just quit this docket because she is not qualified for the position.

Being a former usherette of airline passengers to and fro aircraft is not good enough. We need someone with hands-on experience who can add value, knowledge, inspiration and adrenalin in this important field. Nothing else will do, let some body do the job!
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0 #7 Lakwena 2020-02-25 10:29
Under the family rule of the "Problem of Africa", Mr. M7 and Her Majesty Kataha, Uganda has become the "laughing stone' and Leper of the Region; with the lowest standard of education, the most corrupt, lowest currency value, etc.

However wonderful the so call new Curriculum maybe, but because it is being prematurely rolled out by the mother of mediocrity, incompetency and egomaniac, it will be as good as nothing was done to improve the quality of education in this damned country.

Until they busted into power and ruined the future of millions of Ugandans; it is bewildering to hear Her Majesty, Kataha vilify and demonize the existing curriculum, which made her, the husband and children what they have become.
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0 #8 Lakwena 2020-02-25 10:37
E.g., what does Her Majesty mean when she says that the colonial curriculum "... is largely knowledge-based with little emphasis on skills and values ..."

Philosophically, what is the difference between "knowledge" and "Skill"?

Where has Her Majesty Kataha been since our colonial masters left us alone 57 years ago, since 1962?

In other words, such a statement can only come from someone without a brain of her own; without a clue about the "philosophy of education" (end/aim of education) is all about.
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