The Ministry of Education and sports (MoES) in conjunction with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and KAWA have organized a five days retooling workshop for secondary school teachers in the Eastern region scheduled to take place at Mbale Secondary School starting from 7th to 11th May 2018.
Two teachers from each of 107 schools in Busia, Tororo, Butaleja, Palisa, Budaka, Kibuku, Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Namisindwa, Sironko, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Kween, and Bukwa districts which received computers through UCC’s Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), have been invited to attend the workshop. A sample of the invitation letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, of MoES Mr. Sam Kuloba is pictured below.
Similar workshops held in the past have been national and the venue has usually been at Kololo SSS, but this time UCC decided that they should start having regional retooling workshops since the RCDF is supposed to focus on rural areas.
The Rural Communications development Fund (RCDF) is a Universal Service Fund (USF) to communications in Uganda. It was established in 2003 and it is administered at arms’ length by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
The projects implemented by RCDF include; Internet points of presence (POP) – 76, Internet cafes – 106, ICT training centres – 78, Public payphones – 4,099, District web portals – 78, Multi Purpose Community Tele-centres (MCT) – 13, Postal projects – 45, School ICT laboratories – 708, Health ICT facilities – 174, Voice network sites – 90, Content development projects – 106, Local governance projects 2, and Other unique projects – 31.
ICT Retooling workshops are meant to enhance the usage of these ICT facilities established through RCDF.
Kisubi Associated Writers Agency (KAWA) is a national provider of professional development services to enhance learning outcomes for educators, schools and children around the country.
Leading the latest thinking on teaching and learning, KAWA offers a combination of blended professional development face-to-face workshops and online learning combined with Virtual teachers and mobile services to dramatically improve educational outcomes at national and regional levels.
It was founded by senior teachers of St. Mary’s College Kisubi, supported by the old boys of the college and embraced by the Ministry of education, Science, Technology and Sports since 2011. It has now developed into a network covering the whole country with close attachment to Makerere University Business School.
Current Status of ICT and Computer Studies
Performance of students at National ICT examinations and computer studies is improving. The number of students offering ICT at A level has grown significantly over the last decade; while performance continues to increase partly due to:
- Installation of ICT infrastructure/Computer labs by Uganda Communications Commission
- Retooling of teachers to teach ICT/Computer studies
However, performance remains below the expected standard.
Recent UNEB reports on Candidates Work revealed that the major reasons for failure were that students had not been adequately prepared, or never covered at all some topics – and therefore these topics were unpopular. Moreover, teachers have indicated that they face challenges teaching those topics:
- Website Development
- Desktop Publishing
- Elementary Programming
Assessment too is still a major challenge
- A survey of the joint mock examinations and individual school papers also revealed that most of the questions set are not standard.
- Marking/scoring of students’ work is haphazard and erratic in internal examinations. Consequently, even if students are well taught, they cannot competently handle the UNEB style questions.
- Incongruence between marks scored in internal examinations with those scored at final examinations also reveals weaknesses in assessment.
Areas of Focus for this Mbale workshop
The following are the units planned for the workshop.
UNIT#1: WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT
To develop teachers’ knowledge and skills in effectively teaching and assessing Website development in line with the national curriculum and trends in the job market.
Website development is one the areas in the O-Level curriculum which is currently very unpopular in national examinations because teachers avoid teaching it. Students who attempt the question often score very poor marks. Teachers also report that this area is challenging, and are not even sure of what software or approach to use in teaching it.
Yet, Website development is one area with great potential and applicability in Uganda’s economy. Competent graduates can easily start earning from it as independent website development teams with small businesses and organizations.
Focus of the Workshop in Website Development
- Overview of the syllabus in regard to website development.
- Recommended and practical teaching strategies; Choice of Website authoring software (What works best for teaching, skill development, examinations and job market?) and how to balance the seemingly competing demands.
- Qualities of a good website/webpage.
- Practical/Hands on website development in barebones html (Hypertext Markup Language) and using web authoring software.
- Assessment of student learning, including setting theory and practical questions, scoring candidates work and use of portfolios.
UNIT#2: ELEMENTARY PROGRAMMING
To introduce participants to basic concepts and practices in programming as specified in the national syllabus.
Elementary Programming is one of the areas in the curriculum. Being a new area, many teachers find it difficult to teach the topic. Consequently, they either don’t teach it or teach it inadequately.
Skipping a topic is extremely risky since questions from it can also be tested in other areas such as in MCQs which puts students at a disadvantage.
Besides, Elementary programming is meant to build a foundation upon which Uganda can start the computer software development industry.
Focus of the Session(s) on Elementary Programming
- Session will involve a presentation of basic concepts (theory) in programming, followed by program design using Pseudocode and Flow charts.
- Introduction to C-Programming language, and develop 2 simple programs – one for outputting text on the screen and the other to do basic calculations. Choice and installation of IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) for programming.
- Assessment of Computer Programming – How to set test items in programming and scoring students work.
- Looking beyond the syllabus: ideas for working with students to develop additional skills through computer clubs and national competitions.
UNIT#3: DESKTOP PUBLISHING
- To develop teachers’ skills and knowledge to effectively teach Desktop publishing.
- Develop a positive attitude among teachers to teaching Desktop Publishing.
Desktop Publication, while apparently straight forward is poorly handled by teachers of ICT. Indeed, most teachers avoid teaching the unit altogether. UNEB in its 2016 UACE report indicated that this was one of the most unpopular questions and those candidates who attempted it scored poorly. Yet Desktop publishing is one the areas that has immediate applicability in the field in Uganda.
Focus of the workshop
- Overview of the syllabus Unit in Desktop publishing including the objectives and competencies required.
- Selection of appropriate desktop authoring platforms.
- Using MS Publisher to design, save and print business cards, Certificates, Restaurant menus, calendars and flyers.
- Effective Teaching Strategies.
- Use of Support files in assessment of Desktop Publishing.
UNIT#4: ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION OF ICT/COMPUTER STUDIES
- To increase teachers’ capacity to translate content into standard examination questions
- Increase teachers’ ability to effectively assess learners in line with national syllabus
Rationale of Assessment and Evaluation
It is one thing to teach well and another to have students excel at national examinations. Many times, there is a discrepancy between marks scored by students at school and those at national examinations. This divergence can be attributed to inadequate assessment by teachers. What scores and what does not?
Teachers need to keep abreast of developments in assessment if their learners are to excel at national examinations.
Focus of the Session
- Assist teachers to learn to translate what they teach into test items that reflect students’ abilities. This independent session will focus on troublesome areas in the curriculum besides those identified above. Some such as areas include system startup and development, trends in computing and practical theory questions.
- Introduce participants to different forms of assessment used in ICT/Computer Studies, discussed challenges, reviewed an examination paper etc.
- Set test items, prepare marking guides, present their work to peers and give feedback.
- Use of Support files for practical examinations.
- Review marking guides and modal answers in sessions besides those highlighted above.
Watch out for more details including the list of the 107 invited schools and the workshop program to be shared on this website..