A Competency Based Curriculum: Why we need it and how to implement it.

What is competency Based Curriculum?

Competency Based Curriculum also abbreviated as CBC is that curriculum that puts much emphasis on what a learner can do (learning outcomes) after a successful learning process. The emphasis is put on the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes (KUSVA). This curriculum is tailored to meet the changing demands of a learner and his community. As opposed to the traditional knowledge based curriculum, CBC focuses on skill acquisition that is to say what a learner can do rather than what they are expected to know! Curriculum implementers in their teaching and learning process empower learners by defining clearly the learning outcomes that they are expected to achieve at their own pace at the end of a learning process.

Watch this video to get an overview of the new Senior 1 curriculum

Why we need a competency based curriculum

The competency based curriculum has several strengths but no limited to the ones discussed below;

Producing a learner with employable skills. One of the key strength of CBC is that it aims at producing individuals with employable skills. NCDC’s reason for the New Lower Secondary Curriculum in Uganda is “to produce citizens with employable skills, who are competitive in the job market” Learning in CBC focuses on the real world of work skills, all programs are tailored around learning outcomes and competencies needed by the learner for a survival.

Another strength of CBC is that a learner is given an opportunity to work at his/her own pace. This curriculum gives the learner a chance to work on a given instruction and even develop greater understanding in the course of learning.

This CBC curriculum is flexible. Because it is flexible, a learner is also trained to be flexible during the learning process. A learner is engaged in several activities during the learning process. For instance learners steer their learning process by demonstrating their skills through class based activities or projects, discussions, presentations among others.

Learner centered approach in the CBC is a blessing! The teaching methodology emphasizes learner centered approach in the learning process. CBC system pays attention on the learner and not the entire class performance. Thus making the curriculum implementers to deal with individual demands. This provides a learner with a platform to involve actively in the learning process and thus constructive learning takes place in the learning environment. Visit Senior1UG

A balanced education in CBC. The CBC produces an all-round individual, it is a curriculum that prepares the head, heart and hands if well implemented. A learner is tested both on the acquired knowledge and how practically they can apply the knowledge.

How to implement the competency based curriculum

Mr. Dumba Stephen of E-zone School of Computing during a hands-on session with students.

A competency based curriculum can be implemented by curriculum implementers through several ways and not limited to the following;

Learning through demonstration. In the CBC, students are encouraged to learn by demonstrating the mastered skills to the class or to the teacher. They are given time to work on instructions while integrating experiences that lead to the acquisition of competencies. The teacher however, facilitates the learning process so that the learning outcomes are achieved by the learner(s).

Learning through class activities. A learner is exposed to several class based activities, it is from these activities that a learner gets a mastery of knowledge that s/he later applies in a project or hands-on session. These activities equip the learner with demonstrated skills in several areas such as that of notes taking.

Project based learning. In CBC, teachers develop meaningful and engaging projects for learners which are done either in groups or at individual level. These projects enable the learners work as a team to finding solution to the problem posed to them. These projects aim at ensuring that learners work hard to hit the standards.  While doing these projects, the teacher engages in a one-to-one personalized care for each of the learners and provision of support based on individual learning needs in the learning environment.

Problem solving. CBC enables the learners to take responsibilities of their learning, exposes the learners to learning that encourage them to reason, take individual action to deal with a presented problem, make a reasonable judgement and use creativity in problem solving among others. Like I stated previously, when a problem is presented to a learner by the teacher, this learner is given an opportunity to use the acquired knowledge from the class based activities in a meaningful way.

Activity based learning. Activity based learning is another great way to foster learning in CBC as it encourages learners to learn through various supervised activities. This methods focuses on building a learner’s independent critical thinking basing on his/her own experiences. Activity based learning to me provides a foundation for learner creativity. This also calls for learners’ motivation to enable them achieve the set learning outcomes. Since it is a typical self-directed learning, this also makes the learners to acquire knowledge outside of the classroom environment. Teachers are therefore encouraged to utilize this method since it helps in enhancing critical thinking skills, independent analytical skills, and creative skills of the learners.

Learning from known to unknown. This principle of learning is vital in the CBC, the teachers need to broaden the knowledge the learners possess and get that knowledge linked to the new one. Once this is done, curriculum implementers will find the teaching and learning process easy, clearer and more enjoyable.

In conclusion

A competency based curriculum puts emphasis on learner centered pedagogies, this means a lot to the teachers’ professional development, content mastery, teaching approach, preparations for teaching process. There is therefore a need for continued capacity building for curriculum implementers to enhance their expertise.

About Ogwal Isaac

Ogwal Isaac is a Teacher of ICT at Ndejje Senior Secondary School, ICT Consultant in the Diocese of Luweero, ICT Trainer, Specialist in Educational Planning and Curriculum Studies. He is also a Web Manager ICTug.com and also content creator. He holds Masters in Education Planning and Curriculum studies. Ogwal is passionate about using educational technology in teaching and learning. Tel: +256 775435344. Email: ogwalisaac291@gmail.com



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