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Uganda’s Makerere University to scrap end-of-semester exams

Uganda’s pioneer Makerere University is piloting a new curriculum aimed at abolishing end-of-semester examinations and assessing students more broadly based on competence.

“I can tell you that the strategic plan, which we finished designing this year, is purely based on changing the way of teaching and the content in class. We started on this in January and we are just widening the idea,” University spokesperson Ritah Namisango said on Thursday.

Professor Paul Muyinda of the College of Education and External Studies at the university says the new model aims to emphasise on what students can do with what they learn rather than what they have learned.

He says the model is already on trial with some 2,000 students and is being executed under a partnership with the International Council for Distance Learning and the European Union.

“We have started the Eportfolio Ecosystem (Epica) to improve the quality and visibility of students’ skills,” Prof Muyinda told a stakeholders meeting on Thursday.

The university Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, in an interview with Daily Monitor last week, alluded to a raft of changes in the university’s studies, administration and policies.

The planned reforms, he said, are to re-orient the institution to focus on research.

The proposal to change the curriculum has, however, elicited mixed reactions.

Addressing East African engineering scholars during a symposium at the university, Dr Betty Ezati, the principal of the School of Education, said the current system of administering end-of-semester examinations to students is outdated.

She said it does not bring out what the student can do but what they know.

Education officials in the country say the new blueprint will require an overhaul of the teaching and assessment system.

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