Gov’t halts O’ level vocational exams

A young girl, Dinah Kembabazi, practices sewing at Kiganda Mpunda Cell in Hoima City. This is one of the programmes in the new curriculum which O' level students are undertaking to be assessed by the by the Directorate of Industrial Training. (Image: Samuel Baguma)

The government has been forced to suspend the implementation of the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) assessment under the new lower secondary curriculum after a number of schools across the country reported challenges in its implementation.

The first cohort of students undertaking the new curriculum who are currently in senior three were supposed to be assessed by DIT in November this year.

However, it has been revealed that the Ministry of Education has decided to suspend the assessment indefinitely until schools and the government put all the necessary facilities required for assessment in place to enable its implementation.

Sources said that parents and schools are protesting the Shs80,000 fees each learner is supposed to pay in order to be assessed by DIT.

This is in addition to the Shs164,000 a similar learner is supposed to pay in senior four to be able to undertake the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).

According to the new curriculum whose implementation kicked off in 2020, each learner was expected to pursue a vocational occupation, out of the 118 programmes with the aim of equipping them with employable skills for the world of work.

Dr Richard Irumba, the Deputy Director of Research, Consultancy and Library Service at the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), said that the suspension of DIT assessment will not affect the other competence training and learning in the curriculum.

He said that students will continue with the curriculum until next year when they will be subjected to the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) examinations, asserting that the vocational component is affected by the suspension.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, without disputing the suspension, said that schools should wait for the communication from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education.


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