Culture

Why an education which shames us?

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.

In this context, culture being a way of life – beliefs, traditions and practices. You know, a bit like what the Nnabagereka of Buganda, Queen Sylvia Nagginda, does with her famous Ekisaakaate.

“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.

9 comments on “Why an education which shames us?

  1. Aguti Stella Rose

    Education which ashames us:
    Having attained formal type of education, which took me seven years (7) in primary level and another four (4) years in ordinary level, two years in Advanced level, and another two years of tertiary education. In all those stages that I have passed, it gave me 15 years in total in formal education where as I have taken such a long time in a current education system, it was a total shame for me after a long period of time of searching for employment because I did not have practical hand skills that could have given me immediate employment, it was until CPAR Uganda provided me with practical skills of research that has enabled me to think critically

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  2. Okello Jimmy Ezra

    I don’t so much appreciate the education system of Uganda because it has some how eliminated the cultural lifestyle.
    I was really so ashamed of myself when I attended the clan meeting in my village Atwar, Ayabi subcounty, Kwania district and the clan leaders introduced me as a graduate of Kyambogo University and they tasked me to be the secretary of the meeting of which I didn’t refuse but after the subcounty chief asked me to write the minutes of the meeting in lango language because at the clan meeting the minutes are written in lango language…I really felt ashamed of telling them that I didn’t know how to write most of the lango language correctly this made me to step down from being a secretary of the meeting it was an embracing moment in my life…..Thank God that the experience I faced that day made me to start being interested in learning both reading and writing lango language. Atleast now I can read and write my local language to a larger extend.

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  3. I can surely say that the definition of education has been changed overtime from our ancestors to the current generation! Most people now look at education as being someone who has gone some type of education which is sitting in a class for some years, being examined and marks awarded. What about our traditions and culture. When my grandparents were still alive, they used to taught us the grandchildren in the evening time while sitting around the fire (locally called Wii Otem) which those teachings I got that time has helped me to be what I am now and even helped me to go through the new education system of sitting in classroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While growing up, my parents and even relatives from the village would always ask me, “Will you be a Doctor, Lawyer or an Engineer in the future?” I grew up knowing this is the way to go. I have to sit in class and study hard and become one of “those” Whenever I would see my fellow kids fetching firewood or doing storytelling and the rest, I would regard it as time wasting because it would not make me become a lawyer, doctor etc because it is what I already had in my mind.
    Until now, I have the education but it can’t help me. I can’t use my education to be innovative and creative to get something good for myself like those “village kids” whom the culture made them creative and innovative, and this is the reason most of us educated youths are unemployed.
    I feel ashamed when someone asks me, What did you study? Are you already working? What Organisation are you working with? and educated me has no job.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gumkitannparlaker

    Our education system has ignored the fact that we have talents that are God given and in most cases it’s not valued during early stages of growth,or even we are too destructed to even discover and worse still parents force us to do the courses that according to them, is good enough and most likely one will get employment immediately but what we all forget is the fact that talents are gifts that one has passion for and does it with lots of love and commitment and is very careful because they love what they do ,one does what he or she is best at ,this reduces time wastage for example 20years of studying and yet you have to search for a job and still dependent on our parents and also, there is efficiency and effectiveness because one generally loves what they do.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Salama Isagara

    It’s true our education system shames us in way you find an educated person or a university student doing well in English but can’t even write and read his/her mother taunge language or can’t even interprete English words to his/her language.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Catherine Odyang

    I think this is a great opportunity for Uganda to retake education back to our African-Uganda roots because learning our languages and cultures is very important but some parents have ignore d this. Whereby parents have turned to a foreign language, take an example you go visit a family where both parents speak the same language but you find them speaking a foreign language with their own children. How will our children learn if we the parents are not showing an example to them? They say charity begins from home.

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  8. Vicky Alum

    Why our education system shames us so much is because of the theory part as compare to the practical part of it. These days you find our children learn the history of the of the past and after graduation you find the knowledge is not even applicable and yet in the African tradition children were taught mostly with domestic work which were mostly practicals and this was so helpful in away that you don’t get any body lousy In the community without work. But the education system of today is all about getting knowledge and after you don’t get the opportunity to apply the knowledge someone received from school. And again people don’t value so much the vocational training or technical training that its Hectic and yet its better since after you can creat your own job to avoid joblessness in our communities.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. aciosharon

    Why our education shames us so much is because our curriculum is European based, when our colonial masters came and black mailed us about the goodness of their education system because they wanted them to think and act as the colonialists wanted and up to now we are still deeply rooted in that Western education and lost our African education that had raised alot of practical thinking like the black Smith who never say in any white man’s class to learn that ,if only we could start advocating for the practical education other than putting millions as school fees starting from nursary to learn English and other theory which will make our children job seekers instead of job creators and go Managers and to learn to honor our cultures or traditions, I believe Uganda could reach the kind of development in other continents especially European.

    Liked by 2 people

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