Ugandan gov’t extends school holiday by one week over new curriculum

Ugandan gov't extends school holiday by one week over new curriculum
A new secondary school curriculum is being rolled out this year

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Education and Sports ministry has extended student holidays by one week for the over 20 government-aided schools that will be used to train teachers in the new lower secondary school curriculum taking effect this academic year.

Under the new curriculum, emphasis will be placed on competence-based learning including the acquisition of knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes as opposed to teaching and learning for purposes of passing exams. The number of examinable subjects has been reduced from 43 to 21. Learners will be in class from 8:30 am to 2:45 pm after, which they will get time to study on their own.

Senior one and two will have 11 compulsory subjects and 9 electives. At S.3 and 4, the compulsory subjects will reduce to seven. At this stage, learners will have a total of 14 electives that will be divided into three groups.

Approved subjects are English, Literature in English, Local and foreign languages, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, Entrepreneurship, Performing Arts, Fine Art, Nutrition and Food Technology, Religious Education, Technology and Design, Computer Studies, Agriculture and Physical Education.

Schools to be used for teacher training in the new curriculum include Mount St Mary’s Namagunga, St Mary’s Kisubi, Trinity College Nabbingo, Kololo Secondary School, Kibuli Secondary School, Mvara Secondary School, Ntare School, Mpanga Secondary School, Duhaga Secondary School and Muntuyera High School.

According to the school calendar, learners are supposed to report back to school on February 3, 2020. However, due to the ongoing training, the holiday has been extended by one week. It is estimated that 22,000 teachers will participate in the trainings at regional level. Each school is expected to send five teachers at the designated schools for training.

Sam Kuloba, the commissioner of Secondary School Education, says the training is part of government’s plan to roll out the curriculum in an organized way to ensure that it is effective.

“The national trainers will go out to train the mass of all teachers across the country and I believe this is going to take a very short time because we have finished training the first set. Next week we’re going to get districts. We’re not training all the teachers at a go, we’re beginning with the teachers that deliver content in senior one. Those are the ones we’re targeting and this training will be continuous until we cover all the teachers. Right now we’re looking at having 22,000.” said Kuloba.

The ministry has so far trained 1600 lead and national trainers who will conduct the training countrywide. Students joining senior one in February 2020 will be the first lot of learners to study under the new curriculum.

Edward Kanoonya, the head teacher Kololo secondary school says they will find a way to compensate for the one week that the students will lose as the training takes place.

“To try and catch up with lost time, we shall have to push the school term by a week or have students report a week earlier at the beginning of the next school term so that we can catch up with lost time,” he said.

Joseph Twine Muganga, the head teacher Muntuyera high school Kitunga says they are going to make official announcements by the end of the day. He says that the one week holiday extension will not affect their coverage of the syllabus.

Read Also: Uganda’s education: is it worth it?

Mathew Mwine, a parent at Mount St Mary’s Namgunga says that they have not been notified officially about the extension of the holiday.

“I have been organizing to take by my child on Monday 3 only to be told yesterday by my daughter that the holiday had been extended due to the training of teachers. But the school has not yet communicated to us so I am not sure who to believe,” Mwine said.


1. English/Sign Language
2. Mathematics
3. Biology
4. Chemistry
5. Physics
6. ICT
7. Geography
8. History and Political Education
9. Religious Education
10. Physical Education
11. Kiswahili
12. Agriculture
13. Entrepreneurship
• General Science [For only learners with special needs)


1. Technology and design (now combines Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Drawing and Design)
2. Performing Arts (formerly Music)
3. Nutrition and Food Technology (formerly Food and Nutrition)
4. Fine Art
5. Literature in English
6. Local languages
7. Foreign languages


1. English
2. Mathematics
3. Physics
4. Biology
5. Chemistry
6. Geography
7. History & Political Education
• General Science [For only learners with special needs)


1. Foreign languages (5)
2. Local languages (10)
3. Kiswahili
4. Fine Art
5. Literature in English
6. Performing Arts (formerly Music)
7. Religious Education (CRE and IRE)
8. Agriculture
9. Nutrition and Food Technology (formerly Food & Nutrition)
10. Entrepreneurship (Commerce and Accounts have been merged)
11. Physical Education
12. ICT
13. Technology and Design (now combines Wood work, Metalwork, Technical Drawing and Design)


1. Office Practice
2. Typewriting
3. Shorthand
4. Principles of Accounts
5. Power and Energy
6. Electricity and Electronics
7. Wood work
8. Metal work
9. Building and Construction
10. Home Management
11. Clothing and Textiles
12. Health Education
13. Additional Mathematics
14. Fasihi ya Kiswahili
15. Political Education


***Total examinable subjects: Revised from 32 to 20 subjects

Classroom hours

• 8am to 2:50pm
• 2:50pm to 4:30pm (co-curricular and self-study)

Key learning outcomes

• Self-assured individual
• Responsible and patriotic citizen
• Passion for life-long learning
• Makes a positive contribution to the nation

Expected generic skills

• Communication
• Social and interpersonal skills
• Creativity and Innovation
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Learning to learn
• Workplace behavior
• Numeracy

Competence-based learning

• Knowledge
• Skills
• Values and Attitudes

Core Values

• Peace and harmony
• Self-control
• Intergrity and honesty
• Patriotism
• Positive attitude towards work