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Developing digital curriculum for schools in Uganda

07 August 2012

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Former teachers and other educational specialists that are part of a government-affiliated agency in Uganda, are currently working on using ICT in all school subjects throughout Uganda.

A group of about 30 former teachers and other education specialists that work for the government-affiliated Ugandan National Curriculum Development Centre are trained in the use of computers to incorporate in Uganda’s national curriculum. Uganda works with experienced former teachers who have many years of experience with creating teaching material, but not a lot of experience with using computers in the classroom. The Ugandan government no longer wanted separate computer classes, but really wanted to stimulate the use of computers in all school subjects and to create interactive educational content. That’s why IICD was asked to set up a computer room in the Curriculum Development Centre and assisted in the training of curriculum makers in the use of computers for their work. IICD’s partner Edukans assists in the identification of trainers and equipment providers.

A more active role for students

Using computers to enrich existing lesson material and giving students access to computers for all their courses, will lead to a more learner-centered approach. Students are more actively involved in their classes and are not just literally writing down what their teacher dictates. Students are more challenged to do their own research and will have access to a wealth of new information.

Better informed curriculum developers
For the curriculum developers an advantage of using computers is that they have access to up-to-date information for developing new lesson material. There is also more opportunity to discuss curriculum development online. The presence of a computer room/ research lab also provides centralised access to curriculum materials. These materials used to be spread accross several physical locations. With the new system, retrieving educational material now takes minutes instead of days.

Positive results, but also struggles
So far, 55 people have been trained.  Four curriculum developers has already taken online courses and many others have used online journals for curriculum development. They still come together in panels, but also discuss issues via email if they are not all in, saving time.

An ongoing struggle is to get the older generation of teachers on board. Some younger curriculum makers have been quite fast with picking up computer skills and can now also motivate their peers. Another key issue is that it’s not always on the top of the list of priorities of teachers and that not everyone is already attending trainings. This requires some behavior change that some teachers have yet to make.  Key to this organisational challenge is peer education and assistance, which makes for a barrier free entry into the digital age.

Source : IICD

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