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OPINION: Towards Critical Thinking, Analysis, Reasoning And Writing Education in Uganda

By Oweyegha-Afunaduula

When one young lecturer, told me in 2019 that he was not happy with education in Uganda because it just emphasizes examinations and certificates, and denies learners their right to think critically, analyze critically, reason critically and write critically, I started to think fast about him and wanted my intellectual wandering to lead me to.

Graduates attend the 68th graduation ceremony where more than 14 000 students received degrees, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, on January 19, 2018. (Photo by Michele Sibiloni / AFP)

He went on: ” How can we have Professors who cannot display this capacity, but instead glorify academicism and scholarstism, and reward their learners highly who cannot think critically, analyze critically, write critically and reason critically. many of the learner have ended up being imprisoned to disciplinary discourses that limit critically thinking, analyzing, and reasoning beyond the confines of their disciplined knowledge.

I told the young lecturer that Could understand the wisdom in what he was saying. I said, ” we are producing more problems that we are solving in Uganda in particular and Africa in general because the education systems our colonial masters left behind were such that they would not produce people who cold comfortably think, analyze, reason and write critically without fear or favor.

It is this status quo of our education systems that explains why most of their products easily fall victims to academicism and scholasticism that dominated education in Europe in the modern times, with intellectual despised and marginalized at such high profile Universities such as Cambridge and Oxford in England.

They even despised and reduced philosophy, which in the past was all the knowledge there was, to a small inconspicuous department in the university body politic of knowledge production and management. ” You need philosophy to reason well”, I told the young lecturer, and added, ” You need critical thinking, critical analysis, critical reasoning, and critical writing to solve problems rather than create problems”.

The young lecturer looked at me with unblinking eyes and asked me, “What should be done?”

I told him that we need to restructure our education, not only to de-emphasize examinations and disciplines, but to make the production of people who can think, analyze, reason and write critically, as well as solve problems critically and if we do not, we shall continue to have problem-solving of similar challenges applied such that from one situation to another as if differences do not matter. So really we need new Institutions, to produce different people.

I went on, “We need to be the first ones in Africa to establish a center for Critical thinking, critical analysis, critical reasoning, critical writing and critical problem-solving”. This centre will receive all sorts of people, whatever their professional orientation.

It would be the opposite of the Kyankwanzi school of political education, which aims to retune brains to see only the NRM philosophy and political practice as the only real ones suitable for the governance of Uganda.

The Centre we are visualizing would produce people, even if produced elsewhere, who would question everything. The Centre has been established it n Kampala, but under the name “Centre for Critical Thinking and Alternative Analysis” (CCTAA). A programme of training and retraining has been developed, and will soon be unleashed.

For God and My Country

The Writer is a Ugandan Scientist And Environmentalist

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