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Learning Institutions urged to change assessment methods, embrace practical output over theory

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Learning Institutions urged to change assessment methods, embrace practical output over theory

Learning Institutions have been advised to revise their assessment methods, due to the pandemic which has forced different sectors to change their functionalities.

The call was made by academic experts in their presentations during their visit to Makerere University on Science Technology and Innovation for national development.

The experts noted that the COVID-19 situation requires more practical knowledge output compared to paper qualifications.

The government has extended financial support to innovative research projects such as making test kits, ventilators and Covidex herbal medicine, since the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to Professor Eriabu Lugujjo, the Vice-Chancellor of Ndejje University, while institutions have always spoken of moving beyond theory to practice, they continue to use the same theoretical assessment models.  

He noted that there should be mandatory integration of skills development at higher institutions of learning.

“There is a problem if institutions keep assessing students the same way as before and expect more output-oriented results. Institutions of higher learning have not encouraged students to even do basic research. Lecturers walk into class with already researched notes to hand out, learners are never taught basic critical thinking,” Prof Lugujjo told the meeting. 

He added that institutions should have skill-based assessment methods right from lower levels, saying today is more output-oriented.    

The conventional education system within learning institutions has been disrupted, and Institutions have moved on to alternative modes of learning such as conducting lessons online, sending notes for learner-based interpretation among others.  

This is all due to the lockdown which started in March 2020. Now, Parents have been forced to move children into skilling activities like tailoring, shop keeping, crafts making and car repairs among others.

This move indicates a realization within the community that education should be a combination of both skills and theory.

According to Dr. Kibedi Cabral a research scientist at Islamic University in Uganda, the school curriculums should be structured and tailored to society needs that are consumables. For instance, learners can be trained to make basics like toothpaste, which can be rolled out to the market.  

However, Dr. Kibedi expressed disappointment that a number of research works by higher institutions of learning are taken over by funders leaving local researchers as job seekers. “
Meanwhile, John Kasule, a lecturer at Kyambogo University told the meeting that there have been challenges to the integration of skills from lower levels, which would make it hard to cope at higher institutions of learning. “You see our learners in secondary school are only introduced to laboratory practical’s in preparation for examinations. Thereafter the learners cannot further practice on the same advancement,” Kasule said.

But, Dr. Monica Musenero, the minister for Science Technology and Innovation said that to have policy change and effect into Science Technology and Innovation in the country, there is a need for the coalition at all levels. “All our undertaking will not be of effect unless it yields transformation for any ordinary Ugandan,” Dr. Musenero told the experts.

The experts recommend that out of this experience, the government moves to restructure and merge a number of institutions and agencies involved in skills development as part of the implementation of the new Technical, Vocational Education and Training-TVET policy. 

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