The government has initiated a training program for science teachers and laboratory technicians in Rwenzori and Toro sub-regions, with the aim of strengthening them with the necessary skills to effectively teach the new curriculum.
The training which began on Monday and ended on Friday at Canon Apollo Core PTC in Fort Portal City is being conducted by the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC).
Sessions include instruction on repairing broken lab equipment to make them reusable and reduce costs. In addition, participants will learn how to integrate technology into practical lessons.
Dr. Grace K. highlighted: Baguma, director of the National Center for Disease Control, highlights that there is a significant skills gap for many laboratory technicians when it comes to repairing laboratory equipment. She noted that while some of them were aware of preparing reforms, the current training aims to enable them to carry out reforms independently.
“This time we want to give them skills in maintaining and repairing all laboratory equipment, and for science teachers, they work with laboratory technicians. Over the years, this group has been neglected in acquiring new skills,” Dr. Baguma said.
She said that the new curriculum focuses on practical subjects and therefore there is a need for science teachers and laboratory technicians to enhance their skills due to the continuous introduction of new equipment in laboratories.
Mr Toshabomwe Bedah, facilitator from Kyambogo University in the Faculty of Science, noted that some schools have well-equipped laboratories, but their staff lack the knowledge to better use them to enhance science teaching.
He stressed the growing importance of information and communications technology (ICT) integration, noting the need for computers in science laboratories and exploring innovative ways to integrate technology into science teaching, especially in computer-assisted experiments.
“We now have an ICT integration component, and these days we have computers in science laboratories and we now want to see how to start using technology innovation in science teaching to help students do computer-assisted experiments,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Mutiwinta Francis, a teacher at Rwetoha Syed Secondary School in Kijigwa, noted that some schools still face limitations in laboratory equipment, which negatively affects students’ learning and contributes to failure in examinations.
He explained the difficulty of ill-equipped laboratories, where improvisation becomes necessary for students to study, pointing out the lack of availability of basic materials throughout the semester and insufficient supplies, which negatively affects the learning process.
“Our laboratories are not equipped, and sometimes we have to improvise to see students study, which is not easy. He explained that this is why some students who pass science know the theoretical part.
He acknowledged that some teachers lack the necessary skills, stressing that science teaching must be practical.