REVEALED: How the new secondary school curriculum will be implemented

Ms Grace Baguma, the NCDC executive director reveals NCDC’s decision on the new secondary school curriculum (PHOTO/File)

Ms Grace Baguma, the NCDC executive director reveals NCDC’s decision on the new secondary school curriculum (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The government is set to roll out the new lower secondary education curriculum in February 2020 a move that is aimed at creating relevance in the education system.

According to the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), teaching subjects have been reduced from 43 to 21. The approved curriculum will see a school teach 12 subjects at Senior One and Two, out of which 11 will be compulsory while one will be from an elective menu (optional). Students at levels Three and Four (Senior 3 and 4) will exit with a minimum of eight or maximum of nine subjects with seven of them compulsory.

Ms Grace Baguma, the NCDC executive director, says the subject content has been reduced by getting rid of obsolete knowledge and integrating related knowledge depending on relevance, societal needs and national goals.

“As a way of avoiding rote learning and cramming of concepts which is the current practice, the new curriculum emphasizes that the learner performs the activities while the teacher facilitates during the learning process,” Ms Baguma says.

Under the new curriculum, teachers will compile the learners’ achievements under the Formative Assessment in the four-year cycle, find an average score and submit it to the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) to contribute at least 20 per cent in the final national examinations grading.

Chinese language has been added to the menu of foreign languages while Kiswahili, Physical Education and entrepreneurship will be compulsory for all students in Senior One and Two.

Cross-cutting issues such as climate change, patriotism, human rights, peace, gender and HIV/Aids have been integrated into the various subjects. ICT will be used as both an instructional tool for learning and a subject.

Learners with special needs who are unable to study science subjects will offer General Science while a Sign Language syllabus has also been developed as an alternative language. A normal school day will be expected to end at 4:30 pm.

“Classroom teaching has reduced to five hours a day. Lessons will start at 8:30 am and end at 2:50 pm, which allows leaners experiential teacher-supervised learning by engaging in research, project work, clubs, games and sports and have time for self-study and reflection,” Ms Baguma explains.

While assessing the learners, teachers will consider both the summative and formative assessment modals to capture all the learners’ developments over the course of study.

The formative assessment scores will contribute to the learner’s total scores at the end of the four-year education cycle. The formative assessment which will be carried out at school level will account for 20 per cent of the learner’s score while summative work will account for 80 percent of the final score at the end of the cycle (O-level national examinations).

“The teacher is expected to observe the learner for any signs of acquired values, skills and change in attitude and take record of this in addition to assessing knowledge, understanding and skills. All these will be considered by the teacher during the learning process and reflected at compilation of the total formative assessment scores. The marks will be captured throughout the four years averaged and computed into a score for each individual learner. Thereafter, the results will be submitted to UNEB for the overall grading of the learner,” the curriculum developers state.

Interested students will be allowed to be examined by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) in optional subjects such as Nutrition and Food Technology, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, ICT, Technology and Design, Performing Arts, Art and Design and Physical Education.

This, according to Ms Baguma, will enable the student get competence-based certificate of Level One on the Uganda Vocational Qualifications Framework for the world of work.

“Summative assessment of UNEB will be administered at the end of Senior 4. The end-of-cycle UNEB results together with the results from the formative assessment will lead to the award of a Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE). For both certifications, the learner has a chance to progress to the next levels of education,” she said.

Compulsory subjects at Senior 1 & 2 (11 compulsory plus one elective)

English language






History and Political Education

Religious education

Physical Education



General Science (for only learners with special needs because they cannot undertake chemistry, physics, biology)

Optional subjects at Senior 1 & 2


Information Communication and Technology

Performing Arts (formerly music)

Nutrition and Food Technology (formerly food and nutrition)

Art and Design

Technology and Design

Literature in English

Local Languages

Foreign Languages (French, Germany, Latin, Arabic, Chinese

Compulsory subjects (S3 and S4)

7 subjects will be compulsory plus two subjects from electives

English Language






History and Political education

General Science (for only learners with special needs)

Optional subjects at S3 & 4

Foreign languages (5)

Local languages (10)

Information Communication Technology


Art and Design

Literature in English

Performing Arts (formerly music)

Religious Education (CRE and IRE)


Nutrition and Food Technology (formerly Food and Nutrition)

Entrepreneurship (Commerce and Accounts have been merged)

Physical Education


Technology and Design (now combines woodwork, metal work, technical drawing and design)

Dropped subjects at O-level

Office practice



Principles of accounts

Power and Energy

Electricity and Electronics



Building and construction

Home Management

Clothing and Textiles

Health Education

Additional Mathematics

Fasihi ya Kiswahili

Political Education

Technical Drawing

Revised curriculum at a glance

Total examinable subjects: revised from 43 to 21

Classroom hours

8:30am to 2:50pm

2:50pm to 4:30 pm (co-curricular activities and self-study)

Key learning outcomes

Self-assured individuals

Responsible and patriotic citizens

Passion for lifelong learning

Make a positive contribution to the nation

Expected generic skills


Social and interpersonal skills

Creativity and innovation

Critical thinking and problem solving

Learning to learn

Workplace behaviour


ICT knowledge

Competence-based learning


Values and attitude

Core values

Peace and harmony


Integrity and honesty


Positive attitude towards work


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