Uganda’s Education ministry is facing a storm. It hasn’t entered the public debate yet since the bimeeza are still obsessing about Betty Kamya and Salim Saleh and the pros and cons of a government minister doing his job (Giving out money to people who need it, regardless what party their area MP shouts for).
But when the shit hits the fan, there’s going to be lots of smelly faced people around because they didn’t see what was coming at them. It is being called the new Thematic Curriculum.
Starting next year, kids from Primary One to Primary Four will be learning in their mother tongues. After that, English can be introduced. The powers that be have decided that since the children learn their first language at home and it comes in the way of real comprehension when they go to school, it is better to continue the basic education in this mode.
The campaign has started and soon, the radios and TVs will be chocked, I guess. To follow will be the bill boards on the roadside so the parents can see what’s coming as they drive their kids to Kitante Primary and Greenhill Academy.
I still haven’t understood the whole “thematic curriculum” spin yet. I guess its one of those things I will have to wait patiently for.
I know if this had happened to me as a kid, I’d probably have flunked badly. But then again, it is said the kid’s mind is like a super computer. Kids can adjust quickly to all sorts of change.
Or can they?
I think in English. Have thought in English since I was a kid. I know lots of kids today who learned English before their first tongue. And in this age of Babarita and all her Latino cousins masquerading as actresses on TV, I know there’s going to be a few more kids that think in English. Because their mothers don’t live here. Where they live, cool kids speak English.
Maybe it’s okay for our generation, since we are already wasted. But what about the generation of the Solanges, Shaniquas, Tyrons and Laquandas that are causing lots of aural pain to priests as they try to christen them every week? What is going to happen to the TV generation of a few years from now?
True, government has survived bigger storms. They have introduced strange policies without sensitizing the public and they’ve gotten away with it. Somehow. They’ve pushed VAT on us and a decade later, we still don’t understand what its all about. They’ve given us UPE, USE, Multiparty politics (when all along they said this is the devil’s business)…
Maybe English is becoming obsolete. Recently, His Lordship, the Mayor of Kampala said he admired the Chinese so much because they “can’t speak English yet they are very successful.” And it’s true. Those guys, like many others around the world don’t need to know English to do business.
My generation is full of people who believe that what they’ve had growing up is the best and they want to give the same to their kids. This of course goes against the progressive thinking that you should always be ready to question your old beliefs. But they will probably be teaching the chilluns English on the sly.
Enter home schooling. And you thought it would never come to Ug! Short of teaching your child from home, how are you going to keep them from being confused? If you speak English at home, Junior is going to speak English wherever he goes and when he gets to school, depending on where you live, he’ll come back speaking a language you have never heard before.
Maybe it’s worth it. Just think; a whole new crop of scientists who don’t speak the same language. That Swahili project seems to have stalled somewhere and without a national language, with English being kicked out, we’ll probably have a Tower of Babel right here along the Equator.