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International Journal of Educational Science and Research (IJESR) ISSN 2249-6947 Vol. 3, Issue 3, Aug 2013, 45-52 Š TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.

REFOCUSING UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION (UPE) POLICY FOR SUSTAINABLE OUTCOMES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES-A VIEW OF UGANDA IN THE LAST SIX YEARS ANUMAKA, IJEOMA BLESSING College of Higher Degrees & Research, Kampala International University, Kampala, Uganda

ABSTRACT The study was a cursory examination of outcomes in Universal Primary Education (UPE) in developing countries in Africa so far. The paper focuses on the results obtained from analysis of the pupils who have completed primary education in selected communities in East Africa. It examines the outcomes against the efforts made by some countries to promote free Primary education, by encouraging equal access to basic education, reducing gender inequality in education, fighting HIV and pursuing Millennium Development Goals(MDG). Gaps invariably exist between the expected outcomes and derived outcomes thereby creating loopholes in the fight for literacy and educational empowerment of educationally disadvantaged states in Africa. Recommendation for redirecting the curriculum and refocusing the outcomes are made for improvement in respect to poverty reduction, increase in literacy level and economic empowerment of women and children in selected regions in East Africa.

KEYWORDS: Redesigning Curriculum, Entrepreneur, Policy Outcomes, Universal Primary Education (UPE), Monitoring, Evaluation

INTRODUCTION Policies in education are often classified as functional or non –functional. Policies are derived from expected outcomes emanating from needs assessment. At its simplest, focusing on outcomes is about significantly reducing longterm costs, by eliminating the core issues people face rather than just treating symptoms (Dugan 2011). Functional policies are those based on outcomes while non-functional policies are based on arbitrary needs assessment. Educational policies in developing countries of Africa should be based on reducing long term unemployment by ensuring that people of all ages have the skills they need for the economic empowerment, improvement of quality of life and crime reduction by ensuring that young people move into work-life as soon as they complete school at any level of choice. Policy issues over the years adopt normative moral theory or perspective which adopts the criterion of the greatest good for greatest number; the greater benefit to the least advantaged which is a smoke screen approach. Policies in education in African and other developing nations focus on increasing the quality of life using education as the vehicle. Beyond increasing the literacy level, the question is what benefits are focused on as more individuals are educated and gender disparity is reduced where more girls are now in schools. For example by 2006 data, slightly less than three quarters of the young people in Uganda have attained primary level education.


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Figure 1: Showing Age Distribution of Young People by Education Attainment According to the report of United Nations Population Fund ( UNFP,2006), using the figure above in percentages of the total population of youths: 73% (A) of the youth population are in primary school, 15% (B) are in secondary school, 2% (C) in tertiary institutions, 9% (D) had incomplete primary while 1% (E) had no education. The same report still revealed that more females than males have not had any level of education attainment but primary school attainment is almost uniform among males and females. Females still constitute the bigger part of population of illiterate young people in Uganda having 59% as against 41% of males (UNFPA, 2006). The growth rate of Uganda has been put at 3.4 percent making it the third highest population growth rate in the world. Therefore by 2012 the percentage of youths that are not in school is estimated at 3.4%. Though the effort of (UPE) Universal Primary Educations free education cannot be undermined, 2 percent of Ugandan children who complete six years of schooling attain the required proficiency levels (UNICEF 2006) of all domains central to transformation, none exceeds education as it is a major component of improving the quality of life. Universal primary education (UPE) is now the single most important education goal in nearly all low income developing countries. However, the positive and negative impact result can be seen in increase enrolment which is not marched with improved appreciability in area of resource and indictors for motivation of teachers in these countries. Teachers in these low income countries earn poverty wages of USD 2-4 a day and most of the children lack basic schooling materials such as text books, uniforms and writing materials. Some of the problem to be focused on is: 

Redesigning curriculum

Entrepreneurship development education

Refocusing monitoring process

Redesigning Curriculum The curriculum may be regarded as the vehicle by which the educational system arrives at its destination which is the solution to societal problems. Content planning is an indispensable process in the curriculum .The curriculum content of any the educational system, in order to succeed in achieving its desired goals, depends largely on the nature on the content taught in the schools. If the content is functional, and if it is selected in context of the societal needs and values, then it is most likely to improve the quality of life of the people by changing their thought-life and motivating individuals to manipulate or improve their environment. Three things are central and operative in curriculum–curriculum, instructional and assessment. These three are linked in a cyclic relationship but the knowledge and skills required in its implementation, the subject matter, the teacher


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and how it is taught and how the students learn are very crucial and must relate to what transformations are expected in the life of the learner. Most of the present curriculum are based on theories and models that have not kept pace with modern knowledge on how people learn and what behavioral changes are expected in the society. They have been designed on the basis of implicit and highly limited conceptions of learning (Pellegrino 2006). The curriculum must move from rhetoric to developing competence and expertise in an area of inquiry. Pupils should have opportunities to learn with understanding rather than memorizing of factual content. The pupils should learn to transform factual information to usable knowledge. This brings to the fore the need to add factors that drive creativity into our teaching arena by encouraging talented pupils to aspire to become entrepreneurs or venture into real professions that could change their living patterns. The teacher should identify talents in pupils such as crafts, music, science and explorations. Our classrooms should become more practicable and practice-based rather than theory-based. The curriculum should be made to be more functional by sourcing for talents in pupils instead of memorization of facts which the pupils hardly relate to real life. The range of assessment pupils are subjected to depicts the same rhetoric nature of learning: viz National scholastic aptitude test -example the National examination council examinations District standardized tests subscribed to by schools School/Classroom: Informal tests, formal tests, quizzes and project Public school teachers must redesign assessment criteria and incorporate them into classroom in order to redesign the curriculum. Project method should be emphasized to do the following: 

Create a new skill

Develop talent

Depict areas of interest When curriculum is redesigned to reflect the real world outside classroom, more individuals will find meaning to

life and be more useful to themselves and the society after the primary school level. Accordingly, Education For All need a new paradigm of education. If free primary education is to mean education for all and not just attendance at school, the change in education paradigm has to be taken seriously. (Avenstup, Liang and Nelleman 2004). It takes 6 years of good and complete primary education to establish literacy and numeracy and achievable goals of acceptable though life rather than a universal access for all the schooling. The question will be; after the six years free Primary education which assumedly achieved its aim, where do the pupils go from there?. Have they achieved better quality of life? Have they obtained adequate skills and knowledge for life. The outcomes need to be re-evaluated. Even with increased enrolment more pupils are frustrated out of school when they realize the future is bleak and gloomy after free primary education. Having only a privileged few selected for further studies is discouraging in itself. Towards Entrepreneurship Development Education Refocusing education to emphasize the need and importance of entrepreneurship education will serve as a panacea to social economic problems. Different strategies and action plans should be put in place to ameliorate the joblessness trauma suffered by able bodied youths in developing countries. All developing countries should embraced this need for entrepreneurship education and should also be working towards reducing poverty through youth empowerment. East African countries are not exceptional or peculiar in this millennium challenge of youths and unemployment. Poverty and unemployment are among the major developmental problems that face every developing economy in 21st century (Garbs 2010).


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Entrepreneurship has been recognized as an important aspect functioning of organization and economics (Dickson 2008). It will create new job, wealth, poverty reduction and income generating for both government and individuals in any state. Emphasizing the need for this type of education in developing countries, Keister (2005) argued that entrepreneurship is very significant to growth of any economy. Entrepreneurship education produces people who are different and tend to produce people who are diverse and tend to produce individuals who can transform society not those who fill social and work roles like lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers and so forth. In the previous section, we examined the need to make the curriculum emphasize skills acquisition which can be transformed in practical terms and produce individuals who are also able to transform their society. Inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship into youths will be a way of alleviating the level of poverty in developing countries. Sule (2004) is of the opinion that education is a sure pathway to liberation of the mind and improvement of socio economic status of people. It also follows that education and training help individuals to be empowered and escape poverty, by building education that empowers them with adequate skills and knowledge which in turn raises their output, income and wealth ( Garbs 2005) There is a call therefore for developing countries to shift from the general education offered at primary and secondary school level and even in the tertiary institutions, to entrepreurship education and this requires a new approach in teaching and learning. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have created new challenges for developing countries in the area of refocusing education towards youth empowerment which forms the rock of socio economic growth in any country. Youths are the group with unquestionable energy yearning for expression and this energy must be tapped by offering them skill-based training which channels this energy into gainful self reliant ideology. Entrepreneurship education entails risk-taking, creativity, independence and reward which is inculcated and developed in younger generation through the practical education. It may be necessary here to list some vital aspects of entrepreneurship development education to be considered by those planning the education system towards the MDGs: 

Creating a business idea in the classroom situation

Creating an classroom environment that encourages pupils to ask questions about their culture and society at large and the quality of life they are used to

Allow pupils to exercise their intellectual differences by asking them to conceptualize what they think the future holds for them as different individuals using guided intuitive and lateral thinking.

Moving away from the traditional classroom of “chalk, marker and board” alone to exploring their environment through excursions an fieldtrips, workshops ( work stations) explorations such as mountain climbing and forest study, visiting factories /industries

Skill development training which requires pupils to identify areas of development interest as a sort of talent hunt Giving the present scenario in most developing economies, gearing education to become child-centered or learner-

centered instead of teacher-centered approach which tries been practiced without much improvement in economic terms, is walking away from poverty, youth under-development, unemployment and social chaos which has been fanned by this uniform pattern of education which is ongoing in many developing country of Africa. Refocusing on the Monitoring Process Implementing policies effectively or practically need a sound monitoring process and policy guidelines may not be understood by all the implementing sectors. This means that a sound and well defined monitoring plans and strategies


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must be put in place for any educational system to achieve its goals and objectives. Guidelines may are often misconstrued or wrongly interpreted and misconceptions could lead to poor implementation, haphazard implementation or even non implementation of policies. Policies are viewed as the main vehicle which provides the framework for the accomplishment of educational goals and objectives. Policies are intended to spell out the parameters in the context of which educational decisions are to be made. It is very essential in administration and helps to speed up administration by reducing bottlenecks through specification of procedures. Policies should be monitored to achieve productivity, efficiency, profitability, effectiveness and relevance. The following are done in monitoring process: 

Setting up a strong team of experts in evaluation and monitoring who are goal-oriented and whose integrity has been tested and approved. Their duties are, but not limited to the following:

Checking if guidelines are commensurate with objectives

Checking absence of contradictions and inconsistencies

Making sure policies remain dynamic and should change with change in time and synchronizing with timing element

CONCLUSIONS It has been observed that school these days are too narrow and are not patterned to societal problem- solving as it is supposed. Schools learning experiences should be a type of inquiry methods that has its aim at not just improving knowledge but adding to knowledge and developing personal need, global wisdom to address the larger, complex, problem that threaten society. This study agrees with the fact that “tomorrow” individuals require ability to transform their environments into active not passive tools for development and comfort. Many voices, not only from outside our environment but within are calling for a change in our educational institutions (Atkinson, 1992, Bok, 1990, Rhodes, 1993) Awareness is being created here that a shift from knowledge-based to outcome -based curriculum is required in developing countries especially in Africa. The implications of this is a shift from knowledge- based curricular, which neither emphasize problem -solving nor reveal the way of retrieving information from the learners’ environment is the key to achieving the MDGs .Present curricular does not allow the learners store information so that when recalled or retrieved exert profound effect on how it will be used outside the classrooms. Knowledge becomes useful when interpreted and used to solve societal problems. To solve problem of hunger, poverty, unemployment and diseases, a shift from knowledge based curricular to problem solving, inquiry, creative thinking and entrepreneurship education should form the content of the curricular in developing countries.

RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the foregoing, capacity building is required if the curriculum is to be shifted from knowledge- based to outcome-based. Training and continuous retraining is required for policy makers and curriculum planners. Redesigning curriculum involves expertise in the area of creative thinking, and inquiry and strategic foresight in education, which are required for refocusing the present curriculum. To develop talent in children, early introduction of active inquiry in learning is required in the primary schools. Entrepreneurship education has much financial implication for the Government in developing countries. The budgetary


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allocation to education should view education as investment rather than consumption which has been the trend. As already discussed, the monitoring process should be well strategized. For the developing countries of the world to meet the MDGs, refocusing of school curricular, right from the primary level cannot be overemphasized. The major bane of the problem had been that most of the developing nations of the world conceptualize education as the main vehicle for national development and had not reflected this view in their meager budgetary allocation for education. There seems no better way of pursuing reformation and steady progress than to make education priority irrespective of the financial implications. It is therefore recommended that Government in developing countries of Africa should invest in education by increasing budgetary allocation to education, provide required facilities, review remuneration of personnel and set up adequate monitoring and evaluation process to ensure sustainability.

REFERENCES 1.

Avenstrup, R. Liang X, and Nellemann S. (2004) Kenya, Lesotho, Malia and Uganda Universal Primary Education and poverty reduction: a case study from reducing poverty: sustaining growth a paper presented at a global learning process and conference Shanghai May 25-27, 2004

2.

Atkinson, R.C & Tuzin, D. (1992) May /June Equilibrium in the research University Change, 24, p .20)

3.

Aubrey . S. M and Scott, D.K (1993) Transforming the university in proceedings of the conference on women and science and engineering, Bloomington, IN : Committee on institutional Co-operation

4.

Bok, D (1990) Universities and the future of America Durham Duke University Press

5.

Dickson, P.H and Solomon, G.T (2008) Entrepreneurship selection and success: Does education matter? Journal of small business and enterprise development vol. 15, No. 2 pp 239 -258

6.

Garbs, A.S (2010). Refocusing education system towards entrepreneurship development in Nigeria: a tool or poverty eradication, European journal of social sciences, Vol. 15 No.1 pp.140).

7.

Keister, L.A (2005). Entrepreneurship Elsevier Ltd, Netherlands (ed)

8.

UNFPA (2006) fact sheet on Demographic and socio economic characteristics of young people ( 10-24) years in Uganda

9.

Pellegrino J.W (2006) Rethinking and redesigning curriculum instructional assessment : what contemporary research and theory suggest : a paper commissioned by natural centre on education and economy for New commission on skills of the American workforce

10. Rhodes, F (1993) Institutions under stress America universities at the finde sucle in proceedings of Bridging the Atlantic: sharing Ideas and Ideal. Forth annual AAUA Conference in Dublin, Ireland (pp. 66-80) University Rark IL American Assoc. of University Administrators


Refocusing Universal Primary Education (UPE) Policy for Sustainable Outcomes in Developing Countries-A View of Uganda in the Last Six Years

APPENDICES

How Long do East African Pupils Remain in School?

Kenya’s Primary Schools have 8.6 Million Pupils. Photo/File Millions of dollars have been spent towards education efforts in East Africa.

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