UBTEB Explores Local Languages as Medium of Instruction For Modularized Programmes

The Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board-UBTEB is planning to permit the utilization of local languages, to a certain extent, as a medium of instruction and assessment for modularized programmes.

In 2022, UBTEB introduced modular assessment, which enables learners to take modules at their own pace and return to complete additional modules when they are ready to do so, even after entering the workforce. Upon completion of each modular one is awarded a certificate of competence in that particular skill he has been trained.

According to Jalia Nassaza, the Manager of Vocational Education at UBTEB, the introduction of the new modular assessment system was well-received, as evidenced by the high enrollment numbers for the first cohort.

However, Nassaza said that the current language of instruction is still a barrier for some individuals who are interested in acquiring new skills but do not understand the language being used.

“For the modular system, we are targeting two groups of people. The first group is individuals who are seeking to obtain a diploma or certificate upon completion of the program, and for this, they must meet the entry requirements, which include academic qualifications. The second group consists of those who wish to enhance their skills by studying one or two modules,” Nassaza said.

She further mentioned that in order to cater to the second category of individuals, the board is considering the possibility of allowing training institutions to use local languages as a medium of instruction.

Nassaza was speaking on Friday during a function where the board, with help from agriculture training institutions, employers, and practitioners unveiled the first assessment guidelines for six agriculture science programs.

Regarding the entry requirements, Nassaza noted that currently, there are no specific requirements for individuals who only wish to take one or two modules and are not interested in obtaining a diploma or certificate.

Joseph Sserwanga, the Deputy Principal of Bukalasa Agricultural College, expressed support for the idea of using local languages as a medium of instruction. He notes that this approach is beneficial since many individuals who could benefit from the new flexible modular system may not necessarily understand the language currently used.

“Our TVET should be heading in that direction. It’s not about the language, but the skills. For someone to improve their agricultural practices through training in this system, it is not necessary for them to know English,” the principal said.

Meanwhile, UBTEB has recently created six modular assessment guides for Agricultural sciences programs, which had previously been pending modularization compared to other courses that had already undergone the process.

The six modular assessment guides that have been developed are intended for the following Diploma programs including; Crop Production and Management, Animal Production and Management, Agribusiness, Horticulture Technology, Livestock Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Agro-processing and Post-harvest Management.

Dr. Ashaba Rwakanuuma, the senior assessment officer for agricultural sciences, noted that the guides have been developed with a lot of input from specialists and experts from the industry as well as experienced professionals from the various training institutions and other key players in the agricultural field, such as the Uganda Veterinary Association, Ministry of Agriculture and NARO.

The modular system has received widespread praise and is considered a game-changer in the field of Agricultural sciences. Many, including trainers, have recognized the importance of modularized assessment in facilitating the acquisition of skills and promoting flexibility in training.

Sserwanga, Deputy Principal of Bukalasa Agricultural College, stressed that with the modular system, schools can now design short courses tailored to suit the needs of the trainees, most of whom want to acquire skills and put them into practice.

In the case of agricultural programs, he added that many people who are in farming need to acquire skills but have no time to attend the entire course that runs for years.

Godfrey Otim, a crop agronomist at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), also observed that the modular system has the potential to streamline training and learning in the agricultural skills sector. This system can also emphasize specialization, which is of significant importance.

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