Kibaale Community Primary School was the first private school in Uganda to pilot the government’s new primary school thematic curriculum (at the same time it was piloted in government schools).
Some of the major improvements over the older curriculum are using the community’s local language as the medium of instruction in the Primary 1-3 classes, teaching literacy in local language before teaching English literacy, using more child-oriented methods, and organising the content around themes that are relevant to the students’ lives (rather than in traditional ‘subjects’). We have found it a very effective tool to move students from traditional rote learning to learning with meaning.
The really unique feature in the curriculum is the Primary 4 “Transitional Year”. Uganda is the first African country to plan a systematic transition from teaching in local language to teaching in English. This is crucial to help students use their local language literacy skills to transfer into reading and writing in English.
This Primary 4 curriculum has been used for 2 years in the government schools country-wide, but lack of adequate re-training and mentoring of teachers has been a problem in successful implementation. We have worked very hard in our school to give teachers the support they need in implementing this curriculum and have found that this has made a huge difference in their confidence and willingness to try something new. Some of their lesson plans have even been used as models in the local teacher training college. We are proud of the efforts our teachers have made in pioneering this curriculum.
The government has also stressed the importance of including the teaching of life skills and value in the curriculum, and our teachers have led the way in showing how this can be done practically with biblical integration.
The National Curriculum Development Centre has encouraged us in this pilot project and have asked if their directors can make a visit to the school this month to observe how teachers have implemented the curriculum. We pray they will be encouraged to see that educational improvements can take place as we seek God for the wisdom and strength to persevere.