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OWEYEGHA-AFUNADUULA: Uganda’s Education, Its Leadership And Its Products

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By Oweyegha-Afunaduula

Uganda: In the1950s and early 1960s, Makerere University College, Teacher Training Colleges and Secondary Schools were mainly manned by White people. Even some primary Schools were in the hands of Whites. Inspection and supervision of educational institutions were in the hands of Whites too. The Whites were the ones who had degrees.

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)

Today, the Uganda Government is demanding that all teachers in Secondary and Primary Schools must be university graduates. However, in the poorer regions of Uganda the numbers of university graduates are falling meteorically.

Extremely few young people are accessing university education because their parents or guardians cannot pay for their education, thanks to rising financial impoverishment. Besides, extremely few young people in the poorer regions are accessing the much-hyped loans to finance their university education.

What is more , those young people from the poorer regions that graduate cannot get meaningful employment in both the public private sectors of the economy. They are supersonically ending up in the informal sector , or as modern slaves abroad, particularly in the Middle East.

With this reality ever evolving and revolving, we are moving in the reverse direction when teachers and lecturers were foreigners (White colonialists). The teachers and lecturers will not be whites . May be some will be Indians or Chinese. The overwhelming majority of teachers and lecturers will be people from Western Uganda.

They will be the ones predominantly with degrees because education today favours them. The education sector is predominantly in their hands. They have the power to decide what kind of education our children receive, who gets the scholarship, who gets the loan, and who enters Makerere University and other State Universities, or goes to a prestigious University abroad.

In the past it was the British colonialists who decided who entered Makerere university College or went abroad to prestigious Universities. For example, when Apollo Milton Obote and Abu Kakyaama Mayanja, both extremely bright students, led a strike at the colonial Makerere University College, the colonialists decided to deny Obote further education but sent Mayanja to Cambridge University for his law degree.

They punished Obote harshly. They had the power of decision as to what to do to the two young men. However, the young men met again and worked together to advance their political careers.

They worked together in the Uganda National Congress (UNC), and broke away together from the mainstream UNC leadership, resulting in the formation of Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC). They also worked together in building the UPC/Kabaka Yekka marriage of convenience to prevent Benedecto Kiwanuka forming the Independence and post-Independence Government of Uganda.

If education was hegemonic in the colonial times, and a vehicle for building white supremacy in Uganda, this time round education will be directed towards building the hegemony of a small group of people from Western Uganda.

If you think, believe and are convinced I am wrong don’t hesitate to tell me. We can debate it. Remember public public physical debates of the type government encouraged in the early years of Movement rule are no longer possible. We can only debate in virtual space.

For God and My Country.

The Writer Is a Ugandan Scientist And Environmentalist

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