During these difficult times, the volume at which parents are crying out loud at how our children are missing out on education is fascinating for me, especially so, from a cultural anthropological perspective. Even those who identify as Pan-Africans are crying loudest.
Which begs the question, shouldn’t this be an opportunity for Uganda to re-take education back to our African-Uganda roots?
As in, we should be paying attention to giving our children an education that is practical for them to live lifestyles that are relevant within the context of the specific location in Uganda they live? Including, giving them knowledge and skills on African-Ugandan cultures.
“We keep emphasising the importance of learning your language – in this case, Luganda – because so many of us at home find ourselves expressing ourselves in a foreign language however it’s never too late to learn your language”HRH Nnabagerka Sylvia Nagginda
Yes, even something as basic as learning the languages of our first nations; and from whence, if we do, we get to receive wisdom for which there are no English words, for example. Instead, we pretend that our global-westernized education system is the alpha and omega.
What hypocrisy from Vice Chancellor Nawangwe. It is fact that the tone of the education for which he is a don, is the kind that makes us ashamed of our ancestry and the livelihoods of our parents.
Case in point, when Gladys Gladerina Awino authored an opinion posted on the CPAR Uganda Facebook page on why she thinks there are many educated unemployed youth in Uganda.
The reactions to Glady’s post on social media were revealing of the expectations that parents have when they send their children for our global-westernized formal education; and from whence one can deduce the shame and the disdain.
It explains why there is a certain way in which unemployed educated youth are generally talked about in Uganda. A way which has prompted Dr. Ben Jones to assert that there is a need for a new vocabulary to describe Ugandan youth. Read more about it here.
There is no doubt, that in Uganda we prioritise an education system that makes us ashamed of our cultural heritage and our ancestry. We heap on it praise; and we invest huge sums of money in it.
The time has come to right the wrong. Let us make African-Uganda-culturally-centric education the basis for our formal education. Meaning, for example, let Ugandans living in Buganda, the largest first nation of Uganda, first learn Luganda and other important cultural aspects of Buganda.
And similarly, those living in other geographies of other first nations of Uganda do the same. Those living in Teso, learn Ateso and the culture of the Iteso first, and so on. And on that foundation, a respectable knowledge of the Ugandan first nation in whose geography we live, we add on learning of cultures of other first nations of Uganda.
On a strong foundation of knowing our African-Ugandan cultures, then we add on languages and culture of nations exogenous to ours. This is exactly how the education systems of other parts of the world are structured. This is nothing new that I suggest.