• Zambia has carried the curriculum from the expectations of its colonial masters.
• It has not tailored them to local opportunities that need to be harnessed.
• The new curriculum should be competence based.
Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) says it expects the new school curriculum to reduce the number of subjects that children are currently taking.
Organization Executive Director George Hamusunga told Money FM News in an interview that the Ministry of Education must also reduce the content in each of the nine subjects that pupils are taking to ensure that the overall package presents teaching of fundamentals only so as to maximize on the 3 hours that is available every day.
Mr. Hamusunga said there is also need to localize the curriculum, noting that Zambia has carried the curriculum from the expectations of its colonial masters and has not tailored them to local opportunities that need to be harnessed.
“As ZANEC, we have been calling for the review of the curriculum for a long time including to this government, we even wrote a letter to them to start the review of the curriculum and they did promise that they were going to commence the process, they wrote back to us. So we are very happy that government has embarked on a process of reviewing the school curriculum because we believe that our current curriculum is irrelevant.”
“This is in terms of the fact that children are taking nine subjects at primary school level when they have only 4 hours, 30 minutes in a day to learn, those are scheduled learning hours. But when you go to the actual learning hours that they achieve in a day the average is 3 hours so in 3 hours, we are talking about 15 hours per week, we are talking about nine subjects, we are talking about the fact that the content in each subject is also too much,” Mr. Hamusunga stated.
He added that it is the organization’s expectation that once revised, the new curriculum will equip children with skills and knowledge that will allow them exploit local resources for their benefit and that of the country.
Mr. Hamusunga said the organization expects the curriculum to be competence based, where a child cannot move from grade one to grade two until he or she has met the competences of a grade one pupil.
“The third one is that we expect that the curriculum is going to be competence based, yes we have implemented the competence based but a competence based curriculum means that a child cannot move from grade one to grade two until they have met the competences of a grade one pupil so that now they can go and start learning new things because they have acquired all the competences of that grade.”
“Currently children just move from grade one to seven we don’t follow competences, they move by virtue of having spent one year in that grade. There are prescribed competences for every grade which a child needs to achieve before they go to the next grade, if they don’t they have to repeat,” he added.
He further called on Ministry of Education to ensure that the new school curriculum promotes science, technology and innovation, noting that Africa is poor due to lack of technologies to exploit its resources.
Mr. Hamusunga stressed the need for Africa to change and develop engineers that will be able to innovate and develop sophisticated technologies that can be used to exploit the Continent’s resources.
“Why you see us bringing foreign investors is not so much about money, it’s not so much about the skills that they bring, it’s about the technology that they have which they have patented, they don’t want to sale to anyone and we have no choice but to go by them because they are the ones who come with that equipment.
“I hope the new curriculum will place adequate emphasis on science, technology and innovation or on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics so that we can achieve the goal of technology we need to bring about industrialization,” Mr. Hamusunga said.
Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima recently disclosed that Government is in the process of overhauling the country’s school curriculum to meet the demands of the 21st century.
In 2013, the Zambian education curriculum was revised to make it more effective and responsive to societal needs by providing relevant knowledge, skills and real-life competencies for the learners.