Local languages: it’s the role of the parents not teachers

09:02 by Kaggwa Andrew



The past few weeks have been quite memorable, the senior six candidates wrote their final paper, the disputed PHD bonanza and a couple of graduations here and there. What caught my eye though wasn’t any of those but the fear expressed by many towards the removal of indigenous languages from the school curriculum.
This has seen various people come out to petition the decision in parliament; some have argued that this move is a total threat to culture and norms.
I personally see nothing wrong with the move considering the fact that Uganda doesn’t have anything we can call a national language.
Enforcing a particular language on the school curriculum might call for enforcing about 60 or more Ugandan languages too. Knowing the education system down here, we definitely can’t employ over 60 teachers for languages if even the few we have go for months without pay.
Yet again promoting a certain language with in a geopolitical region is equivalent to asking all Ugandans to stay and study with in their birth regions.
The problem with enforcing local languages in this time and era is that, the world has literally become a global village where one classroom is a cocktail of cultures and in that case you can’t force over 6 million children to study a language that means nothing to them.
We need to look at a fact that Uganda is a country that has attracted many investors and some of these investments are the schools. Many of these schools harbor an objective of educating world citizens in Uganda not subjects of a certain tribe or kingdom.
A Language in my perspective is part of the culture and norms. In that regard, I feel like it’s the roll of the parents to instill this value at home. If all the people complaining truly love and respect their culture and language, they will be the one’s to teach their children how to speak and read it.
People might complain that scrapping local languages from the school curriculum is killing culture but then, you should ask your self who teaches these kids English before their first blackboard experience. I’ve personally been dazzled by two year olds who can read and write the queen’s language but can’t even say a word in the local dialect. 
Today, it’s actually trendy for infants not to know any local language, song or TV programme and yet all these parents still want to blame the education system for their kids’ poor understanding of their mother tongue. You can’t make a child love or study and understand a local language when English is the official language at his/her home.
A teacher can never generate a child’s interest in a local language if the parents failed in the first place, for a child to love a language, a parent has to advocate for it. There’s no better way to create more understanding and love for a value than when the parents are involved thus, scrapping our indigenous languages will put the parents to a task of teaching the kids what they know.
A language is the soul of our intellect and reading is the essential process by which it’s cultivated beyond the common place, you don’t expect a child whose childhood has been surrounded by English literature to grow up and love the local language.  People should note that a local language in school is just any other subject which kids won’t love or like and that a side, a Luganda teacher cares less when one of his students doesn’t know his or her values. What matters to them is the student’s ability to pass the paper.
Regardless of which way you want to look at this, parents and not teachers should be spearheading the local language classes. It’s time local languages left the school time tables to the sitting room leisure hour.
For a long time parents have ignored their duties by freely passing the touch to the teachers who are simply working for a cheque. It’s not surprising that come January, it’s going to take a queen in her honor to teach girls how to cook, peel, greet and other trivial things in the famous Kisakate. I bet if the kisakate had not come earlier, that could also have been pushed to the teacher’s other roles at school.
Considering the fact that we are living in a multi lingual country, there’s little that can be done to keep local languages on the curriculum though this is the best chance for parents and minders to show their loyalty to what they are. It’s said that; get culture right, and the rest will follow. But you still can’t get culture right when it was already butchered at home, remember, charity always begins at home.


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