Exploring connections: Reflections on mother-tongue education in postcolonial Uganda

Medadi E Ssentanda

Abstract


Mother-tongue (MT) education in Uganda, like in many other countries, is a highly contentious subject. A plethora of problems plague MT education and all are similar to those mentioned in more than six decades of research and evaluations on the topic from numerous countries across the world. Based on fieldwork conducted in four primary schools in the Rakai district of Uganda, this paper attempts to demystify and critically theorise practices and ideologies of language in education. This study is inflected by the theoretical work of Tollefson (1991), particularly his challenging remark that “language is built into the economic and social structure of society so deeply that its fundamental importance seems only natural. […] For this reason, language policies are often seen as expressions of natural, common-sense assumptions about language in society” (Tollefson 1991:2). This paper therefore sets out to surpass the mere cataloguing of problems bedevilling MT education in Uganda by proposing an account of their possible genesis. Through an examination of dysfunctional state and government structures, the role of linguistic ideology as well as the distribution of symbolic and material wealth, it is herein argued that there should be a shift from the structural-functional model, where policies are considered bodies of discourse that should, or that fail to, be implemented. It is proposed rather that the education system mirrors a wider societal concern in which colonial legacies are miserably reproduced in postcolonial Ugandan structures.

Okwekaliriza Obukwatane: Okwefumiitiriza ku Kusomesereza mu nnimi enzaaliranwa mu Uganda eyeefuga

Okufaananako ne mu nsi endala, ensonga y’okusomesereza mu nnimi ennansi mu Uganda ewakanirwako. Ebizibu nkumu ebifumbekedde mu kusomesereza mu nnimi ennansi era nga bifaanaganira ddala n’ebyo abanoonyereza bye bazzenga banokolayo ku nsonga eno mu nsi ez’enjawulo mu nsi yonna. Ebyogerwako wano byesigamiziddwa ku kunoonyereza okwakolebwa mu masomero ga nnakasooka ana (4) mu distrikiti y’e Rakai mu Uganda. Olupapula luno lugezaako okwekkaanya n’okwekaliriza, mu ngeri ekolokota, endowooza n’ebikolebwa mu kusomesereza mu nnimi ennansi. Nga nsinziira ku ndowooza ya James Tollefson (1992:2) naddala ku kirowoozo kye ekisoomooza nti “olulimi luzimbirwa ku ntereeza y’ebyenfuna mu kitundu era nga lwesoggera ddala wala kutuuka ku kuba nti omugaso gw’olulimi omukulu gulabibwa nga ekijjanabutonde. N’olw’ensonga eyo, enkola z’eby’ennimi zitera okulabibwa ng’ebintu bye tutwala nti bijjanabutonde era ebikolebwa n’amagezi amazaale ku nsonga z’okusalawo ku lulimi mu kitundu.” Awo nno olupapula luno lugezaako okusukka ku kunokola obunokozi ebizibu ebiri mu kusomesereza mu nnimi ennansi mu Uganda. Bwe kityo nno olupapula luno lwoleka ensibuko y’ebizibu bino. Nga twekaliriza entereeza ya gavumenti erabika okuba nga tetambula bulungi wamu n’endowooza eyeesigamiziddwa ku lulimi n’engeri y’okutuuka ku ngabana y’ebyo ebirabibwako eby’obugagga, kiwakanwako wano nti wasaana okubaawo okwebembula ku kutunuulira obutunuulizi enkola z’eby’ennimi ng’ekintu ekirina okwogerwako, ekirina okutuukirizibwa oba ekirina okulema okutuukirizibwa. Wabula, kiteesebwa wano nti omuyungiro gw’eby’enjigiriza ebeera ndabirwamu ya kitundu omweyolekera, mu ngeri ey’ennaku, ebisigalira by’obufuzi bw’amatwale mu ntereeza ya gavumenti ya Uganda eyeefuga.


Keywords


Mother tongue education; transition; thematic curriculum; teacher attitudes; Uganda

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5842/42-0-163

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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