I am a crusader for Good Governance. My mission is to contribute to the promotion of Good Governance and more specifically Democracy ideal for Uganda.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
THE DEATH OF FLORENCE BAGUNYWA'S MOTHER IS VERY SAD
Florence Bagunywa Nkalubo is a daughter of Owek. Arthur Bagunywa, former Minister at Mengo, whose wife passed away. Te Funeral Service shall be held at Namirembe Cathedral, Friday, 6th July at 10.am and burial will be on Saturday, 60 miles along Hoima road.
May the Almighty God grant the Late Mrs Bagunywa eternal rest.
BALUNYWA IN PARLIAMENT
Wednesday 22nd September, 1999.
Parliament met at 2.28 p.m at Parliament House, Kampala.
MR. BAGUNYWA ARTHUR (Mityana South, Mityana): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to congratulate Members of the Committee and particularly the Chairperson, for producing a report that is very comprehensive. It has enlightened us given us the status of education, social services and gender issues.
I shall restrict my remarks to the education sector, in the interest of time. When I read on page six that the review of the curriculum, volume 1, of primary school syllabus is ready, I got a bit worried. As a life long student of education, I thought we were back to square one. I know what volume one was: english, mathematics, science and social studies. But fortunately for me, I was partly relieved last night when the Minister for Education came out with an announcement that local languages will be included as a medium of instruction starting January, 2000. Having been at the centre of this curriculum reform, I thought that was a very good decision. Indeed, there are many ways of justifying the inclusion of local languages in our curriculum.
In the first instance, I am convinced that the level of creativity of our educational institutions went down the moment we emphasized English as a medium of teaching. I was the first education officer for Kampala, just after Independence, and I knew how we wanted our African children to join the former Asian and European schools. The thing to do was to get them to learn English. Over the years, although I have not carried out tracer studies, I am sure - from common observation - that we do not have many creative writers since 1962 when children dropped their local languages. Most of our writers are those who were exposed to their local languages. And professional educators agree that creativity is the hallmark of good education. That is the apex. As long as we go down on creativity, and our education institutions produce less and less creative people, our education system has something wrong with it.
The other reason is of course a very obvious one. Most of us who are here in Parliament won elections because we could speak local languages. We addressed the voters during the campaigns in the local languages, that is a very obvious one. Those who do not know their local languages might be at a disadvantage in future. So I congratulate the Minister of Education upon the decision to recognize local languages. But we should go beyond that. In the curriculum that we think will make a difference in primary and even secondary education, we have to strike a balance between the traditional academic subjects and production skills. Or a balance between the academic knowledge of social studies, science, mathematics and communication, and production skills. As well as face up to the problems of cultural refinement, we should offer comprehensive education, starting from primary schools, by including ethical and spiritual values.
So far we do not have any mention of an all round curriculum. I do hope it is in the process. And when it finally comes, I hope we will go all the way and include subjects that will be examined, even if it is by continuous assessment. If recognized that these subjects are important and are part of the curriculum, the marks obtained in the production skills of simple agricultural, technical, business and managerial skills, will bear fruit. I tried it and found it quite possible to get something like Shs.400,000 per month on a quarter of a hectare and practise piggery, poultry and have clonal coffee nurseries. If that is possible, and I have done it with children of the age of 14, then we can really find the right relationship between education and economic development.
We should follow through with secondary education. At the moment, we have not carried out any reform on secondary education, and I feel we ought to do similar reform to secondary schools like that done in primary schools' curriculum. We have a problem where you admit people to teacher training colleges, particularly primary school colleges, to teach a subject called social studies, when they themselves have never been exposed to social studies as a subject. All they know is their geography and history yet social studies combines a lot of things including civics and politics. They cannot teach it in the primary schools effectively. So we also need to go down to the secondary schools and change the curriculum at that level too.
Tertiary level. The problem with tertiary education as I see it at the moment, is the mushrooming of universities, all offering social work and social administration, bachelor of education degrees, and all the traditional degrees. You find that it is just like everybody selling tomatoes in what is now called "toninnyira mu kange", the market down on Channel street. All our universities, including the theological university at Mukono, offer social work and social administration and education. I think we need to diversify our education at that level, so that we can cater for talent.
It is one thing to have a Department of Music at Makerere, it is another to have a school of music at a different institution, because there you bring out talent. African instruments are just as difficult to play as Western instruments, and if you do not start young, you cannot do it by just going to the Department of Music, Dance and Drama at Makerere. And there they will admit you on a different criteria, not talent. So we need to diversify our institutions so that they are not all offering the same type of qualifications and therefore creating a problem of youth that cannot be employed. It is bad enough to be unemployed, it is worse to be "unemployable." I am sorry, time has run out. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Monday 28th August, 2000.
Parliament met at 2.53 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala.
MR. BAGUNYWA ARTHUR (Mityana South, Mityana): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would also like to join my hon. colleagues in thanking the Committee for producing a comprehensive report, although it is a bit concise in some areas. I would like to address myself to three aspects of the Ministry of Education s policy. So, I will restrict myself to the Ministry of Education and its policy.
One of the aspects of the education policy that worries most professional educators, and I happen to be one, and even informed lay men in the field of education, appears on page 27 of this report. It is indicated, under the observations on the National Curriculum Development Centre, that the committee was concerned about the level of manpower of the department and wondered whether training teachers to implement volume II of the primary school curriculum has started. The Committee has put its finger on the right spot here.
Educators agree that we take children to school to teach them three things: knowledge, which addresses educating the head, skills for training the hand, and values for educating the heart, according to Dr. Aggrey. For a long time in this country, we have addressed ourselves to educating the head, and the four subjects in volume one of the primary school curriculum address knowledge for educating the head. They are taught English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. We neglect the other two components, which are very important! We neglect teaching them or training their hands to exploit some of the agricultural potential of this country. They can be taught very simple skills in agriculture. All this is in volume II that has not yet come out. We are delaying it all the time. They can be taught some very simple skills in business and in technical education, and exposure and sensitivity to skills that they will need to be able to repair implements on the farm. They can be taught home management and also management of any other enterprises. But now all this has now been left out, it is waiting. It is in volume II and we do not know when that will come.
A very important aspect is the balancing of the curriculum of the primary schools, or balancing of the curriculum at any other level, except university probably, where balancing is not required. Another aspect of the curriculum, which has been left out, and which is in volume II, is training in values or teaching of values. We have yet to agree on ethics. Some people have told us that you go hunting for integrity when you want to appoint people in Uganda Revenue Authority, and so you look for those who are professed balokole or saved. I am not so sure whether that is the case. I am not so sure that people cannot claim to be saved when they are not. So, that may not be the criteria for teaching values, but we all know that values are very important. Ethics must start when children are young, and it is possible, and it was designed in the curriculum in volume II, but it has not come on board yet because some people think we can afford to delay that.
I remember, when I was a child, to prove our honesty, our parents used to hide a 50 cent coin below the carpet. So, when you sweep the room, if you were honest enough, you would go and say, I found this 50 cent coin under the carpet , and you returned it. They would begin assessing your honesty, it would be developing. You have to start when young. Our attempt to try and get honesty and reliability at the adult stage is futile. It will not get us there.
Neglecting balancing of the curriculum at the primary school level, by leaving out the two important components and addressing ourselves only to educating the head, is giving them knowledge without skills. And when we talked about skills, very often, we meant literally skills or reading and writing, but now we mean production skills, exposure and sensitivity to agricultural skills for production which is perfectly possible at that age. We can give an example, under the Namutamba project, which we started at one time, children of the age of fourteen could produce on half or quarter an acre of land and get anything up to Shs 500,000 per month. I have tried it in my own area, and I can prove it.
We are playing into the hands of the donors, and if I may be allowed to ride my hobbyhorse, this is what I call toothpaste economics . That is how we play ourselves into the hands of the donors. They give us money because we have said we want UPE, and under the curriculum, of course, we stress, and rightly so, the fact that every one of these children, six million plus, in school now must brush his or her teeth at least once a day. That will mean a tube of toothpaste costing Shs. 2,000 per month. That is when you are not very generous, and if you multiply six million children and 2,000/=, you get 12 billion shillings on toothpaste, and in a year, Shs. 144 billion in primary school alone. I am leaving out secondary school, university, the adult stage and so on. If you go and check with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, you will find that the new cars coming in do not cost even a quarter of that amount. So, we are likely to play into the hands of the donors. When we announce Universal Primary Education, they will probably dance in the streets because they know they will hold us to it. We will have all the time to buy their toothpaste.
Somebody asked why we do not make our own toothpaste. How can we do it when WTO does not allow us to do that? We do not have protection for Nile Toothpaste so we cannot sell. That is one aspect of it. The faster we can balance our curriculum, the better.
The other aspect is an inside story, only probably known to educators. How do we get effective primary school teachers? We have gone in for people who pretend to teach what they do not know. There was a time when we picked the best brains at primary school level and we said that, if they went for teacher training, they did not have to pay. There was not even any cost sharing. If they went for secondary school education, they paid. So, at that level, we divided them. Some good brains came to us for teacher training because they knew they were poor and they were orphans, as is the case now. They would not have to pay, but they were good at mathematics, English or languages, music, science, they were good at everything. This is the G-factor in education, for those people who know educational psychology. The person who is good at everything is way above that one who has special ability in a single subject. We have now failed to attract good brains in our primary Teacher Training Colleges.
I happen to be on the board of governors of Nakaseke Core-PTC. We have failed to attract people with at least a pass in mathematics in a good college like that one. We say they should come with at least a pass in mathematics, a good credit in English and so on, but we do not get them. Maybe we should have thought of changing our tactics slightly and looking at this cost sharing that is talked about at the bottom of page 33. The Committee says that cost sharing at PTCs is turning away students. The Committee wanted to know whether the Ministry of Education and Sports could waive or put cost sharing on hold for some time. I believe they have put their finger again on the right spot. If we can waive cost sharing for primary teacher education, we will attract good and effective brains with a G-factor. They will be good at everything and, therefore, they can effectively teach in a primary school. If we expect primary school teachers to have mathematicians who teach nothing but mathematics, musicians who teach nothing but music, or science teachers who teach nothing but science, we will not get there. It will be too costly. So, we better get back to attracting the right brains, people who have the G-factor in them, to teach in these schools.
I would have gone on to the third aspect, but this has been pointed out by two previous speakers, who addressed the entry age for primary education. UPE is beginning to pay diminishing returns. As we went round in the South West and in the East, we saw people being applauded for sending so many children to school. Some children were three years old, and they were sent together with those who were aged six years. Parents are very anxious to get their children into school. Once you announce that it is universal primary education, they get them there.
Educators know that if you put the mental age of six over the chronological age of three and you multiply by 100, you get 200 per cent. There are very few people in this world who have got IQ of 200 per cent. We are making a great mistake. We will be producing repeaters for a very long time, and it will be very wasteful for the system. It is gets us nowhere. The sooner we start issuing birth certificates, even through other Ministries, the better. I know, at one time, village chiefs would issue birth certificates, I cannot see why under the LC system, they cannot issue these birth certificates, so that we know the age of the children when they come to school.
I would have gone on and on, but at least those three worry me. The entry age to primary school and the way we putting ourselves at a disadvantage, admitting them at the age of three and applauding people or over anxious parents who do so. It is all wrong, and they will end up repeaters. Some of them will be frustrated and will not like school by the end of the third year of school, because they are trying to work with people who are above their age group. The balancing of the curriculum is the other one and the last one was the effective primary school teacher, who must have a G-factor in intelligence. We should attract people with special abilities, and the sooner we can put cost sharing on hold, as the Committee has recommended, the better our education system will be. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.