Ugandan Minister of State for Higher Education has blamed science teachers for poor performance of students in the sciences in the country.
Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo said the government has done its part by investing in the teaching and learning of science subjects, and it is up to the teachers to stop the failure, local media New Vision reports.
“It is you the science teachers to blame for these failures in schools. You cannot blame the Government or head teachers for these failures in schools. The Government has invested a lot in science teachers and put in place all the necessary facilities and it’s up to you to do your work,” he said.
His remarks follow failures in physics, biology, mathematics and chemistry after a recent secondary school exam despite the introduction of a new programme to improve the teaching of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
The Ugandan government introduced the Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers’ (SESEMAT) Programme twelve years ago to improve performance in secondary schools.
A manager of the programme at the education ministry Gerald Muguluma said 6,000 science and mathematics teachers have been trained under the programme that changes the way the subjects are taught.
“Before the introduction of SESEMAT, only 10 of every 100 students were passing sciences. Today, the passing number has risen to 45. Many students used to drop sciences for arts subjects, especially the girls. Today, sciences are compulsory and more girls take on the subjects and perform better than boys at A’level,” he was quoted by New Vision.
The higher education minister Chrysostom Muyingo has complained that some of the teachers are still using the old method of teaching science and it is the reason the level of failure is still high.
“We have realised the teachers do not use the new methods given to them during the SESEMAT training. They go back and use the same old approaches; thus leading to the continued failures we see up to now. You must implement what you have been given if we are to change the trend,” he said.
He launched the first science Teaching Reference (TR) booklets for the SESEMAT programme in Kampala and called on the teachers to use the booklets to plan their lessons.
“The teaching of sciences should be inviting and friendly. Let your performance be reflected in students’ performance,” Muyingo added.
There is a general disinterest in the study of science globally with mass failures recorded in several African countries where few pupils express interest at the secondary school level.
The ratio of interest between boys and girls in the sciences is about 1 to 5, according to UNESCO.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, during the celebration of the first International Day of Women and Girls in Science last year called on all governments and partners to “redouble efforts to empower girls and women through and in science, as a foundation to take forward the 2030 Agenda.”