Uganda’s worst nightmares like poverty and unemployment have been normally traced back to the poor education system of the country over the past years. The education system being more theoretical than practical and occasional reference to real life experiences and scenarios. Solutions have been pointed out and adopted, yet the problem still exists.
In 2005, the Ugandan government made science subjects compulsory to all secondary school students. The move was aimed at producing more practical professionals that would transform Uganda from a developing to a middle income country through technological and scientific innovations.
The performance of core sciences at O’Level is very poor for example the majority of students who sat for the UNEB examinations between 2005– 2008 scored failures in the core sciences with physics being the worst performed. Only just two years ago in 2014, the UNEB board noted that the performance in science and Math was worrying and it’s because of the way students view sciences. Students view science as having a high memorization emphasis and less problem solving.This can be attributed to the lack of practical experienced science teachers, poor science infrastructure, the largely theoretical teaching and learning methods. To some extent, stereotypes such as “sciences are a preserve of the male students”, “girls aren’t good at math”, if not addressed, more theoretical and half-baked technical professionals will be produced.
Spicing the education system up with Technology and Engineering will provide a more practical approach to science and math theoretical knowledge.Some primary schools have now incorporated technology in their teaching programs even though there are limited teachers and even lesser equipment to train the children with. The existence of different STEM education programs across the country and all over the world that are targeted towards creating more problem solvers and more technical professionals is proof that there are/groups of people taking measures to make a change in the education system of the country.
The country’s education system should adapt STEM programs as early as primary school to eliminate production of job seekers but rather produce more job creators. Curiosity, imagination and eagerness to learn is high among children from age 4 to 11. With the exposure of STEM activities that are crucial in most of the math, science and other education theories/topics in a fun and practical way, we shall have people taking education and science for problem solving and making the country a better place, with their knowledge rather than for just passing exams and acquiring academic papers.
Over time, different people from different backgrounds have come up as volunteers to see this change in the system. Yet another team has set out to see that the children’s interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are captured as early as age 4. Taking into consideration activities that interest children in this age bracket, a new out of school program is being introduced as education support for the parents to their children and a concealed learning approach to the children.The change we’re rooting for will happen in the near future if we all do or give the little we have to teach the young generation as they say, “Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation”.
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