Primary school pupils’ life skills development the case for primary school pupils development in Uganda
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Life skills education was introduced as part of the thematic curriculum in Uganda between 2007 and 2012. An infusion approach to life skills is taken within that curriculum, whereby life skills are to be taught through the existing curricular subjects. The life skills emphasized in the curriculum are psychosocial. The purpose of this study was to explore how life skills education is being implemented in Ugandan primary schools. It investigated teachers’, education officials’ and parents’ perceptions, competencies and attitudes towards life skills education. The study further explored children’s experiences of life skills and life skills education. It also identified the challenges in the development of pupils’ life skills in primary schools in Uganda. A purposive sample of Primary 2 and Primary 5 classrooms from twelve schools across Uganda was selected. Interviews were conducted with school head teachers, primary school teachers who were trained to teach life skills in the primary school and were teaching the classes used in the study, primary school children, parents and guardians and Co-ordinating Centre Tutors who were the tutors on site in pilot schools’ catchment areas and were the organisers and trainers of life skills in primary schools and were also the monitors of the life skills implementation in the primary schools, and district education officials. Classroom observations were conducted and teachers completed a questionnaire which asked to them to identify the methods they used to teach life skills and the indicators of life skills they witnessed. The results of the study indicate that all stakeholders value life skills although the definition of life skills is not clear amongst parents and teachers. Parents seem to value life skills that are academic and vocational. There was evidence of life skills amongst children from children’s own accounts, the researcher’s observations and the testimony of parents and children. In some cases, the life skills as articulated in the curriculum clash with the cultural values of communities. There was no clear relationship between the methods used for life skills education and the life skills witnessed. The implications of this study include the need for further in-service education for teachers on life skills development, greater clarity on life skills content in lessons and facilitation of a shared understanding of life skills between teachers and parents.
Life skills education