Highlights of modern education in Uganda

There is consensus that the future of Uganda lies in education, yet very little is being done to fulfill the dream. Last week we talked about the negative impact of malnutrition on education. This time we are going to discuss the origin of modern education and how it has developed to the present.

Modern education was started by missionaries. Ugandans were provided with literary knowledge to be able to read the bible. In 1901, the Catholic chiefs in Buganda requested a revision in education to prepare children for a wider and changing world. Boarding schools were proposed. The first schools along these lines were started at Namilyango in 1901, Mengo High School in 1903, Gayaza High School in 1905, King’s College Budo in 1906 and Kisubi in 1906. They taught English grammar, reading, mathematics, geography, music and games. The majority of these schools were for sons and daughters of chiefs. Many children could not go to school because schools were not available or were expensive. Government financial support was very small.

However government provided schools for Asians, Goans and white children as well as Makerere to teach mechanics and carpentry and a few centers for training medical workers. Girls were initially educated so that sons of chiefs could have enlightened wives.

Is it a crime for Uganda citizens to request background information of their leaders?


Things that citizens of other countries take for granted such as the right to know the background including birth place of their leaders have become taboo in Uganda. Uganda sits at the center of Africa and has acted as a magnet attracting many people particularly from the Horn and Great Lakes regions of Africa. Because of colonial history whose impact is still felt, Uganda has in its midst people from other countries and continents. Demanding to know who they are, how they got into the country, what they are doing and what future plans they have is a normal thing without sectarian content. Simple questions have been turned into a political matter with potential for instability. Refusing to answer these questions will only lead to more suspicions.

People have come into Uganda for different reasons. The Nubians entered what later became Uganda in search of temporary shelter when they were cut off during a rebellion in Sudan in the 19th century. They stayed and were later hired by Frederick Lugard to break colonial resistance with brutal force.

Salient features in government’s reports to parliament

This week, we received one report and two speeches that were presented to parliament: report on the background to the budget for 2011/2012 fiscal year; Museveni’s address to parliament; and budget speech to parliament delivered by the minister of finance on behalf of the president. This is an annual exercise. The mandate, criteria used and data selected have distorted or omitted vital information.

1. The mandate of the background report to the budget is to highlight priorities of the coming national budget in the context of key economic trends and recent performance of government programs. The president’s mandate is to report what was done in the last twelve months and to appraise members of parliament of plans and strategies for the next twelve months. The mandate in the budget speech is to present to parliament estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year. Thus, in the three documents there is no specific mandate for reporting on the impact of government programs on ecological and human conditions such as soil erosion, poverty and malnutrition reduction. This is a serious shortcoming since development should be sustainable and human-centered.

Leadership qualities

Every organization, be it a family, village or nation must have a leader. A leaderless society cannot hope to survive for long. Even animals and poultry have leaders. You can have a good or a bad leader. I will talk about the qualities of a good leader.

1. A leader must be a servant and not master of the people. The leader must have a vision or ideas about how to lead the people to greater heights in economic development, health and happiness. In crafting ideas, the leader should carefully look at the past because it impacts the present. In doing so the leader must ensure that the past is still relevant to the present. If not the past or old ideas should be repackaged to incorporate new developments.