My attention goes to the challenges facing education in Uganda. There are a number of schools referred to as Christian schools, their names have the word Christian as part of their names in addition to the traditional church – affiliated schools, but the question is whether these are genuinely Christian schools. We all agree that in most schools, anything to do with God was left to the subject of religious studies. But this is nothing less than a tragedy, as Christians we need to take our schools back from the enemy. Unfortunately, Christian parents have taken their children to schools simply because they have better infrastructure, but most of these schools are temples of secular humanism. The students are vulnerable to all sorts of evil schemes, that’s why you can find literature given to children and it’s riddled with sexual material or homosexual articles.
The focused attacks on children even at primary school level are well documented. Students are increasingly becoming targets of traffickers, sexual predators and other evil agendas at school.
Christian parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s education especially the biblical value system that ensures their moral grounding and future success, as it is indicated in Deuteronomy 6. This can be achieved by certain Christian curricula and one of such curriculum is Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). In Uganda most, parents do not know about ACE but it’s high time we embrace Christian education using a Christian curriculum in genuinely Christian schools. Like J. Gresham Machen put it, “A truly Christian education is possible only when Christian education underlies not a part, but all, of the curriculum of the school. True learning and true piety go hand in hand, and Christianity embraces the whole of life. Those are great central convictions that underlie the Christian school.”
What exactly is Accelerated Christian Education (ACE)?
It is a self-paced curriculum, for Grade Zero (Pre-School) to Grade 12(Pre-University), based upon five key principles of learning. These principles are fundamental for learning success and are the essential ingredients in the ACE programme.
- A student must be working at a level of curriculum where they can perform.
- A student must set reasonable goals that they can achieve in a specific period of time.
- A student must be motivated and managed effectively.
- A student’s learning must be measurable.
- A student’s learning must be rewarded.
What subjects does ACE cover?
The ACE programme covers six core subjects: Maths, English, Wordbuilding, Literature and Creative Writing, Science and Social Studies at primary level, plus Bible and over 20 elective subjects at secondary level. These include Biology Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Management Science, Business Studies, Tourism, Visual Art, Life Orientation and various languages.
How does ACE work?
Each subject is divided into bite-sized, achievable workbooks called PACEs (Package of Accelerated Christian Education). The PACE is a unit of work that takes two to three weeks to complete depending on the ability of the child Each subject consists of 12 PACEs at each level, from Grade Zero (Pre-school) to Grade 12(Pre-University).
Each PACE has specific learning goals, objectives and intentions with a variety of learning activities and built in assessments, and at times projects designed to ensure mastery of learning and to teach students effective learning strategies. Some courses employ video sessions to enhance the learning process whilst others are supplemented with computer software programmes.
At the end of each PACE, a student is required to complete a PACE Test. The student must score a minimum of 80% before being allowed to continue to the next unit of work.
The PACE forms the basis of the student’s learning, from which additional learning activities, projects, assignments, resources and enrichment activities can be built.
While a set procedure for completing a PACE needs to be followed, it by no means limits or restricts the many ways in which this excellent resource can be used to cater for the specific learning style of each child.
What is different about ACE compared to other curriculums?
Individualisation: Each child receives a personal Academic Prescription that allows them to progress at their appropriate level and rate of learning. Diagnostic Testing determines the particular learning needs and requirements of each child while the ACE material allows the parent to give personal and precise assistance where necessary.
ACE provides each child with the opportunity to actually learn the material they are studying. Mastery Learning is essential for educational success. A student does not move on to a new concept until they have demonstrated that they have adequately learned the immediate material.
Biblical World View:
Biblical principles and concepts are interwoven into all aspects of the curriculum. Each student is taught from a biblical perspective developing critical thinking skills that will enable them to discern what is truly
“…the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
The ACE curriculum presents 60 character traits of Jesus into the curriculum and presents role modelling that promotes personal integrity and character. This along with the practices and procedures, goal setting and routines, requires both parents and students to develop Godly character.
Do the Universities recognise ACE?
Yes! The ACE curriculum is used by many thousands of Christian Schools and Home Educators throughout the world. A student at Grade 12 obtains an internationally recognized certificate, the ICCE (International Certificate of Christian Education), ICCE was benchmarked by UK NARIC as comparable with Cambridge A- Level status.
A student can also obtain certificates at the lower significant levels like Grade 10 which enables them to join a College.
In Uganda, the ICCE grades can be converted and equated to the Ugandan system, and this enables a student to join any university in the country.
David Rogers Kintu
The Principal of Asifiwe International Academy.