The article addresses the issue of the history part of the new lower secondary school curriculum.
By Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa
I write this primarily as a Ugandan. My article addresses the issue of the history part of the new lower secondary school curriculum.
I happen to be one of those who subscribe to the spirit of the new curriculum, which, among other things, seeks to impart knowledge and skills, which are relevant to the contemporary socio-economic needs of our country. It further seeks to remedy the head heavy; heart and hand thin curriculum, which the previous one is deemed to be.
Nevertheless, I hasten to argue that, the spirit of the new curriculum may not be achieved if we deny the learners the gist of their history. It is being argued that the new curriculum has left our salient and key section of our history; for example, as contained in the letter of the prime Minister of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom (Omuhikirwa) Owekitinisa Andrew Byakutaaga in which he argues that, "In Senior One, term two, topic four of culture and key ethnic groups in East Africa, the empango - coronation anniversary event was left out. It is also argued that the empaako are left out. I quote "Topic Five on state formation in East Africa for Senior One, term two, suggests activities to guide learners to understand the organisation of societies also excludes Bunyoro."
Now, very few people will dispute the centrality of the history of Bunyoro as the cradle of the histories of most societies in the interlacustrine region. Any good student of history will tell you the pivotal and crucial role the history of Bunyoro plays in the formation of several societies as we know than today — I dare say that the Batooro, Baganda, Basoga, Banyankole, Alur, Acholi, Lango, Banyabindi and numerous more as far afield as Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and DRC have influences from the history of Bunyoro in the course of their historical development.
If it is true that this new curriculum aims to put right, historical colonial distortions in the learning of our children - which I think and hope it is; then if it dismembers our history, we are doing our future generations a disservice.
When one wants to crush people's dignity and worth, you deny them their authentic history - and they will not know where they are coming from nor where they are going.
Already, the Banyoro have all along been marginalised by colonial activities and now the new curriculum is seemingly putting the final nail in the coffin by decimating the little that even the colonialists had left!! If this new curriculum dismembers our history, we will consider its architects as accomplices with the colonialists in marginalising the history of Bunyoro.
As is well known, authentic history is a catalyst for development, liberation, self-confidence and economic development - as people learn from past mistakes and avoid the repetition of those mistakes by making better choices from an informed perspective.
My appeal to the National Curriculum Development Centre; the Ministry of Education and Government is that please look into this grievance at an early stage and correct it by putting things in proper perspective; then and only then will the new curriculum achieve its objectives.