Experts from Makerere University who have been engaging secondary school learners in the last three years on learning sciences, have blamed the persistent poor performance on “mechanical” teaching methods.
“When you look at the curriculum, you find that science subjects are kind of mechanically taught. We need to try to integrate what students are learning into real life,” said one of the experts, Dr Angelina Kakooza who is an Associate Professor of pediatrics and child health at Makerere University.
“It is important that we teach children to understand but if we become too mathematical that they learn just to pass a subject, they will not get interest,” she added in a July 15 interview at National Theater in Kampala, where over 200 learners from the schools were showcasing Music, Dance and Drama talents to express their knowledge about infectious diseases.
Another expert on the same matter, Dr Imelda Namagembe, said some science teachers are ruthless yet the subject requires a different teaching approach.
“Sciences are often feared by a number of students especially by girls. The most important thing that students were putting forward is that teachers don’t encourage enough whenever they fail in mathematics,” Dr Imelda Namagembe.
“Sciences require more effort, more encouragement and more time in order to be appreciated by students,” she reasoned.
Dr Namagembe asked government to construct and equip laboratories in schools to boost learning sciences.
The event supported under the Makerere University Training of Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence in East Africa (THRIVE) programme with support from the Ministry of Education and Sports also sought to “inform the public about prevention and treatment.”
While releasing Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations results last year, the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) executive director, Mr Dan N Odongo said science performance is still very poor in the country.
“Worth noting with concern is the overall pass levels for Science subjects where nearly half of the candidates have not achieved the minimum Pass 8 level. Chemistry remains the worst done subject,” he said.
Commenting on THRIVES’ work, MoES senior education office Mr Erick Gitta said they will address gaps in learning sciences.
“We want to industrialize our country and this requires prioritization of sciences. We expect to have a great change,” he noted.