The College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Makerere University in collaboration with the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) and the University of Notre Dame’s Global Centre for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) organised the launch of the Adapting assessment into policy and learning (ADAPT) : Adolescent 21st Century Skills Project in Uganda.
The hybrid launch brought together participants from the education space in Uganda and East Africa at large , most of them being members of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI), a member driven initiative working to ensure inclusive learning for all children in East Africa.
ADAPT is a research initiative seeking to promote acquisition of 21st century skills for adolescents by strengthening utilization of data from learning assessments in curriculum design, adaptation, and delivery.
This research project is working towards achieving the following objectives :
- Generate lessons from past and present national and regional learning assessments and initiatives to enhance national data-driven decision making.
- Build capacity of a dynamic learning community to integrate and assess 21st century skills and support utilisation of learning assessments at the school and sub-national (district/county/region) levels.
- Mobilise policy uptake on the utilization of learning assessments in the education plans, curriculum frameworks and teacher development.
In his opening remarks during the launch, Prof Anthony Mugagga , Principal CEES Makerere University and ADAPT Knowledge Champion Uganda said that the examinations administered to students do not require them to think critically.
“Learners are given questions based on what they were taught, therefore they cram the notes and reproduce them to pass exams. The curriculum should be reviewed to incorporate life skills so that learners are equipped from the grassroots”.
Prof Anthony Mugagga , Principal CEES Makerere University and ADAPT Knowledge Champion Uganda
His sentiments were echoed by Dr. David Kabugo , Director of the Center for teaching and learning support at Makerere University said that when we talk of of 21st century life skills and values, we talk of children being able to listen, think and innovate towards solving a problem, then use of technology. Dr. Kabugo went on to call on the Government of Uganda to address the issue of access to education for all Ugandans where most learners, especially in rural areas do not have access to pre-primary education (nursery) and its rising cost in urban areas.
It is evident that the project is set out to reinforce the need for skilling. Mr. Samuel Otieno, who is the GESCI MERL specialist and ADAPT Project Lead told the participants at this launch that this research initiative will be building up on lessons from the Assessment of Lifeskills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE) project which is a co-creation and collaborative initiative focusing on the development of contextualized assessments for 21st Century Skills, driven by local leaders in the project countries.
The ALiVE team lead in Uganda Mr. Mauro Giacomazzi shared achievements of the project in Uganda and indicated areas through which they would collaborate with ADAPT on pushing incorporation on assessments in policy and learning.
Representing the Permanent Secretary Education, Mr. George Muteekanga, Commissioner Private Education, Ministry of Education and Sports Uganda said that the ADAPT project was very timely given Uganda was now refocusing on skilling. “At the moment the conversation is not about qualification, papers or the number of trainings taken, it is about what a learner can do. ” He added.
Mr. Muteekanga declared the ADAPT Project in Uganda officially launched as he announced that Uganda was now adopting Swahili lessons and exams in their schools so that learners from the country can communicate with their peers in East Africa with ease.
The ADAPT project, which is also implemented in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania is funded by the Global partnership for Education (GPE) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) under the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) program.