Editor, I write this letter as a concerned parent in response to the ill-advised new curriculum introduced by the Minister of Education, Dr. Lazarus Dokora. Yes, there has been talk about it but the harsh reality is that most stakeholders (both parents and teachers) do not have a solid understanding of this new shame of a curriculum. If they did, there would be much more resistance to it. My purpose in writing this letter is to lend a voice to the thousands, if not millions of disgruntled parents, teachers and students themselves who are being forced to adhere to one of the most ridiculous creations since Independence. Here are some of the biggest issues with the curriculum that I have:
First and foremost, there was little or no consultation with all stakeholders. Of course there was some sort of engagement with schools and teachers but was enough done to engage the parents and students? The students are the biggest stakeholders when it comes to education. It is their futures at stake. Did the ministry consult and adequately engage the students countrywide? Parents on the other hand are as equally important. It is them that fund the education system through school fees and levies. Surely it was and still is appropriate for the ministry to extensively engage this important constituency! As a parent, I feel that the ministry has taken us for granted. We demand full consultation and engagement before we can part with our hard earned cash to finance an educational system we no longer have trust in.
One of the saddest things about the new curriculum is the apparent lack of global competitiveness! The curriculum lists 'preparing learners for life and work in a largely agro-based indigenized economy and an increasingly globalized and competitive environment' as one of its objective. But a quick look at the new curriculum paints a totally different picture. In this modern age of technology, one would be forgiven to think that any proposed new curriculum would be rich with computer and technological based subjects. Instead, Minister Dokora's curriculum seeks to take learners back a 100 years in history – back into being susbsistence farmers. Instead of making ICT courses and subjects as core subjects, our learned Minister thinks it best to have ALL Secondary learners engage is core subjects such as Agriculture, PE, Heritage
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Studies and Mass Displays! Incase you don't know what Mass Display is – it is those formations people do in a stadium during big events such as Independence celebrations. Imagine your child being forced to learn that instead of computers! Most globally competitive economies are fueled by technology and the school curricula is specially crafted to equip learners with key skills such as programming from a tender age. With the rise in technology, mots jobs will become obsolete in the near future and it is only the tech savy who will remain competitive on the job market. Our kids should be learning programming, coding etc from primary school instead of Mass Display!
Again, one has to wonder whether the schools themselves have the capacity and facilities required to properly implement this new curriculum. A huge human capital and financial investment will be required to upgrade existing capacity to accommodate this new curriculum. For instance, some schools will need a minimum 6 agriculture teachers for forms 1 and 2 alone. On top of that, there will be need for more space to be used for the gardens etc. But the BIG question is, does the government have enough land to give the hundreds of agriculture graduates the school system will be producing?
This curriculum also infringes on the learners' right to choice. By having subjects such as Agriculture and Mass Display as core subjects, the curriculum is depriving students of the opportunity to choose which career paths to pursue. Not only students are agriculturally inclined. A good curriculum does not force subjects down the learners' throats but rather creates an environment conducive for passion, creativity and innovation to be released. Learners have the right to choose the subjects they want to take!