IMPROVING RELEVANCE OF ORDINARY LEVEL SCIENCE CURRICULUM BY INTEGRATING SCIENCE SUBJECTS WITH TECHNOLOGY IN UGANDA
In Uganda, currently there is a problem of unemployment among the youths both graduate and school dropouts. The blame of this unemployment is largely put on the irrelevant curriculum which does not prepare young people to be job creators but instead prepare them to be job seekers. Most of the stakeholders have argued that the current secondary school curriculum was designed by the colonialist to prepare the graduates for white collar jobs without an emphasis on applied skills which are needed for blue collar jobs. However the white collar jobs are decreasing as the numbers of graduates is increasing. There has been a substantial blame on theoretical nature of sciences taught in secondary school being composed of mainly scientific facts without applied principles to solve day today problems of learners/ society. The Uganda government started implementing the universal secondary education since 2007, and science subjects (Chemistry, Physics, and Biology) are compulsory from senior one to senior four. Much as the aims of teaching/learning the science subjects emphasizes the application of scientific knowledge and principles by learners to solve their daily problems, less is realized in the graduates of secondary education coming out of school. This is evidenced by most of the graduate being non-productive in the society and hence an economic liability to the country. In an attempt to address the above problem, National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) with funding from African Development Bank (ADB III project) in 2007, embarked on the curriculum innovation project to integrate technology into science subjects in order to make sciences relevant to students and the society in general. This paper explains the concepts of science and technology in relation to secondary science curriculum in Uganda. It goes on to describe how technology was integrated in ordinary level Chemistry syllabus, and also how the Teachers manual was prepared to guide the O’ Level Chemistry teachers to implement the integrated Chemistry – Technology Curriculum. It finally discusses the opportunity and challenges of this Curriculum Innovation.