Uganda’s Cabinet has approved the compulsory teaching of Kiswahili in all primary and secondary schools in the country.

According to Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Cabinet sitting on Monday July 4th, also adopted Kiswahili as one of the official languages in the country.

While briefing reporters on decision by Cabinet, Baryomunsi said they “approved the implementation of the 21st EAC Summit directive in Uganda to adopt Kiswahili as an official language of the community.”

“Cabinet recommended that the teaching of Kiswahili language in primary and secondary schools should be made compulsory and examinable. It was further agreed that training programs for Parliament, cabinet and the media be initiated,” he said.

The 21st Ordinary Summit of East African Community Heads of State on February 27 last year, adopted English, French and Kiswahili as official languages of the Community and directed the Council to expedite the implementation modalities of the directive.

Unlike in other East African Community Partner States where Kiswahili penetrated highly, the language is not widely used Uganda.
This is mostly due to weak institutional organization.

Kiswahili has been poorly incorporated into the Curriculum in schools. It is actually not a fundamental block in primary school subjects which would be capable of equiping people to an advanced level.

Currently, two languages English and a local language are compulsorily taught in primary schools. Uganda constitutionally approved the teaching of Kiswahili as a national language in the recent past because of the East African Community.

Its teaching is however not compulsory and neither is it examined in the national examinations at Primary School level. This is one of the reasons why the language is not widely used by Ugandans.

The other reason could be that Kiswahili was mostly used my thieves and armed gangs who raided communities during any unrests. It was ignorantly considered a language of the wicked.

The country’s army uses Kiswahili as its main language of communication and yet previous armies were associated with meting hostilities on communities, this creating a negative perception on the language.

Kungu Al-Mahadi Adam is an experienced Ugandan multimedia Journalist with a background of fact checking and thorough research. He is very passionate about current African affairs particularly Horn of Africa. He...

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