Top Class pupils of Cornerstone Junior School Mukono cutting a cake at their graduation as they will be joining Primary One next year.

NCDC Develops New ECD Curriculum Ready for Rollout Next Year

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The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has developed the new Early Childhood Development (ECD) learning curriculum which will be ready for roll-out next year.

Dr. Deborah Kyazze Magera, the NCDC manager for Early Childhood Care and Education said that the ECD learning curriculum is currently under its final review stages.

Dr. Deborah Kyazze Magera, the NCDC manager for Early Childhood Care and Education addressing the stakeholders at Colline Hotel Mukono.

During the two-day consultative stakeholders ECD learning framework review meeting held at Colline Hotel recently, Dr. Magera said that the current ECD curriculum is out-dated after spending 18 years without any review from 2005.

Being a policy document, Dr. Magera said the curriculum must be reviewed every five years.

Dr. Grace Baguma, the NCDC Director said that they are currently gathering further information into the document including what they got from the stakeholders in the two days which is to be refined into the final ECD curriculum which the Education Minister will sign.

Baguma said they have a full term of piloting the new ECD curriculum and during that process, whoever has a burning issue will be taking it to the responsible people who will look into them for consideration where need be.

She said that unlike the current ECD framework which is out-dated that was a standalone document; the one in offing has got backing documents which are making it simple to understand and enjoyable.

Dr. Grace Baguma, the NCDC Director addressing the stakeholders meeting that reviewed the new ECD curriculum at Colline Hotel.

The review of the learning framework was started in December 2022 with some funding from UNICEF and then the Daily Routine Guide which was started in October 2023 with funding from UNICEF.

“The current curriculum has five areas and the one under formation has been improved to seven and will be operationalized next year.  We have added areas to do with expressing and appreciating myself and appreciating culture. There is; Music Dance and Drama (MDD), art and craft plus the area of understanding myself,” said Dr. Magera, adding that;

“Today we find a challenge to understand ourselves but when we start to make children appreciate themselves earlier, at the end of the day; it will create a big difference and impact.”

Magera said it has been termed the Early Learning experience curriculum, changing from the traditional learning framework.

She said in the new curriculum, they have advocated for the play method which enables children to learn a lot and very fast.

“Also scholars mention that children learn through play at a percentage of 99, and through play, a lot is achieved. They have all the holistic aspects well developed. They range from physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. All these are well developed when the children are supported through play,” she said.

One of the stakeholders giving her views during the new ECD curriculum two-day review meeting at Colline Hotel in Mukono.

The new curriculum through play is expecting the teachers and parents to provide low cost and no cost materials. It also emphasizes the area of digital integration to catch up with the digital skills.

The Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Pre-Primary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, Elizabeth Mbatudde said that the current framework was designed to teach facts and experiences, yet now we need children to construct their knowledge.

“In practice, lessons given to learners are highly academic-oriented with children overburdened with regular testing but with limited pedagogical direction from the framework. The latter dictates the use of play methodology that helps to foster creativity and imagination,” Mbatudde said.

Dr. Magera noted that with the current trend of mostly the private schools running the nursery sections, a number of them had developed their nursery teaching frameworks which she said must be presented to NCDC for assessment and clearing if they are fitting in the new ECD framework.

“Schools are currently defined by rampant exams to the learners which start as early as the nursery section, but in this new ECD framework, we have totally eliminated the exams. We are only emphasizing continuous assessment of the learners’ competence,” she said.

By the use of the observation method, Magera asked the teachers to use their eyes to observe their learners and take note of the development of their different competences and where need be, correct them there and then.

Some of the stakeholders at Colline Hotel Mukono during one of the workshop groupwork activities.

“So we shall be using the daily routine as the approach to interpret the curriculum. It has in it; the arrival time, morning circle, mathematics, the oral literacy, the language, the free choice and the good bye. In each of those, we shall have a health break, the indoor and outdoor. We therefore want to see the teachers talk less and children do more, which will help them develop more competences,” she said.

The new curriculum is going to be supported with assessment guidelines, daily routine guide, early childhood care and education framework which guides on what to do, so that everything is understood by the teachers, the learners and the parents.

“We don’t want the parents to be left out, we want them to be part and partial of the child’s development because they are the beginning and the start of the child’s learning,” she said.

Harriet Kyakuha, the Early Childhood Development Technical Advisor at Plan International, a development and humanitarian organization who was among the stakeholders, said it is important to rethink the learning areas afresh, introduce emerging areas, define new competencies, and provide content in a simplified version.

Kyakuha said the new approaches must take care of emerging content and competencies as well as global trends.

Unlike the current ECD framework which is a single document handling all the three sections of nursery education, the one in offing has independent frameworks of Baby Class, Middle and Top Class.



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