Last Updated on: 4th November 2021, 10:42 am
By Ishaa Otto Amiza
Oyam—4, November 2021: A few days ago, my favorite former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga proposed the need to scrap the teaching of European history in favor of what she calls African history. This follows yet another radical proposal, by her colleague Minister for Education, First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni who on learning the importance of science education, now proposes the teaching of sciences in native (local) languages.
While these proposals have some insights worth analyzing critically, one strange thing about it is the justification each of them give to warrant such drastic changes in the curriculum.
As usual, my keen interests and focus on education has intrigued me to debate these un-researched proposals.
To begin with, Kadaga, who has been in the regime’s thick’s rule for good decades, forgets the fact that the NRA government removed “civic education/ political education” from the curriculum /syllabus merely because Museveni cowardly viewed politically alert students to be a problem to his governance.
During my primary and secondary education, civic education and political education introduced me to the understanding around the political history of Uganda and Africa, and indeed the World at large and it’s because of these studies that I became politically conscious to date.
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But when Museveni conspired against the young generation of Ugandans for fear of raising consciousness of young people about the political history of Uganda, he selfishly moved quickly to ensure an end to political education as a subject.
Just imagine this level of greed and shallowness on the part of Museveni. My proposal which I know may be redundant in the eyes of these ruling groups would be to merely reinstate political education and introduce African history alongside World (European) history as part of the syllabus. In my view, Justice would have already been done to our students and future leaders.
On the other hand, to the First Lady, Kataha Museveni who prefers to be called Minister (now in Education), raises an amateurish argument on the teaching of sciences in local languages as if teaching sciences in local languages would add any value to the students.
First, does Minister Kataha appreciate the fact that English is both a national and official language in Uganda? Where it is mandatory to pass before any upgrade to another level?
Second, does she appreciate the fact that most students speak English as opposed to their mother languages?
It is a known fact that, all our science books are written in English and derived from Western science concepts that presumably the education Minister should be aware off.
In my view, if indeed Janet is serious about this proposal, first she should ask the head of government to consider creating national languages, like Luganda,Luo, Runyakitara, etc., as efforts are made to write our educational books in local [national] languages to stop the use of English in our schools.
The other ignorance which may also requires an upgrade, is the excitement around Museveni’s new discovery and folly about sciences.
I may agree that for a deep understanding of some of these things, local languages may be a necessary tool, but they cannot limit it to merely teaching sciences. While I am science trained, there is no need to look at sciences in a more special way than other subjects, because every subject is literally science.
I am also wondering why the Musevenis are so possessed with the notion that it is only sciences that can help in transforming the society.
My view is that a morally empowered society operating in a science compliant and conducive environment can invent anything without even studying the traditional sciences we teach in our schools today.
What is lacking in our sciences is not how to communicate to the learners but the nature of teaching which does not open up the minds of students to research and innovate.
Researchers and innovative mindsets built in a conducive environment do most inventions and discoveries.
What is the nature of science education and status of science laboratories in our schools, today?
World over, they do not teach those who invent and discover new things in class but they are nurtured to think innovatively by the environment they live.
There is nothing so academic with the discoveries and innovations in China and Japan, but the environment created by the governments in power enhanced minds.
Therefore, for Museveni and his Ministers to be talking like they are under attack by black ants [locally called ‘cugu’ in Lango] they should just think about it and consult widely in order to generate a national conscious duty.
The author is the former Oyam County South MP, a leader of UPC party and RED CARD FRONT.