The Headmistresses of Uganda have been working on an overhaul of the education given to the nation’s students and finally, after years of lamentation about low quality schooling, our brats will have a new curriculum.
The pre-existing curriculum has failed to do what education is supposed to do, which is to identify idiocy at an early stage and eradicate it. Instead, it seems to nurture it for 18 years, with the result that my assistant is still googling “how to spell kalichuram”.
If education is the base on which social progress is built, it is no wonder that Uganda is the mess it is in now.
We live in a nation where staff members of prestigious companies are not hired unless they have completed university with a degree. This means that everyone has two decades of education and yet you still find unflushed toilets on the fourth floor.
Sanitation had better be part of the new curriculum. “Technology of Flushing: Why, When and Where” can comprise the theory, and “How” can be covered in the practicals.
I might be making suggestions that are already part of the new curriculum without knowing how redundant I’m being because I have not read the documents; I am a product of the old education system, so I don’t know how to do my research. But that won’t stop me from talking about it because I am a product of the old education system– I have no problem opening my jaw to 45 degrees Celsius and going right ahead to talk on things I know nothing about.
For example, there might be a whole SST module about social media already in place, but I am going to assume the MoE needs me to advise them to put a course on the judicious use of Twitter and Facebook into the new syllabus.
The problem is not that there are already too many ignorant kids on the socials, the problem is that these ignorant kids are ignorant of their ignorance and therefore will argue with too much unearned confidence, as if each and every one of them is a hybrid of Mahmoud Mamdani, Aristotle and Sherlock. We urgently need to teach tweeps and facebookers that they are dwanzies. That is the substance of the course: If you are going to argue about anything on social media, you are an dwanzie.
You know that saying, “Never argue with a fool, for he or she will drag you down to their level?” Well, Social media is the aforementioned level.
The Social Media exam (SST OTT exam, if you like) can have only two questions, as follows.
Paper 1, Question 1: Are you an idiot?
c) The answer is (a) by the way.
d) Don’t tick b.
Paper 2 is the practical. The student is tagged in a post about gender equality issues. If the student proceeds to scroll past very quickly, they pass. If they so much as type one word, they fail immediately.
Another aspect of the curriculum that needs an overhaul is the very beginning.
The first thing the students should learn, as early as Baby Class 101 first period, is What They Are Doing There In THe First Place, (Sub-heading, the reason you are getting an education.)
We need to tell the kids what comes after a successful education right at the very beginning so that after it ends they don’t stand in our traffic asking us what’s next.
You lumpens should know from day one what you are there for. If it is to please your parents, have that established early enough to prevent traffic disruption. If you are there to gain prestige, make that clear beforehand so you don’t end up in Sociology.
If you are there for a job, then you can enrol for relevant courses in carpentry, construction, brick making and, of course, chicken studies, including rearing, catching, slaughtering, grilling and what to do with the beak and toes.
And students should not just be taught marketable skills, but should also be provided with the ability to see market opportunities. It is a rare skill that not enough Ugandans have, but luckily, it is a transferable one. If we can get the person who started nsenene farming, the chap who brought the first boda from Malaba and those guys who were charging 50k to install VPN when OTT was introduced, MoE can hire them to write some textbooks for the new curriculum.
This will prevent nation-shaming scenarios like the embarrassment we saw last week where Catherine Kusasira was showing off wads of money that she had been carrying in a bulging handbag.
What? When there are so many people out here who can weave bikapu? Evidently Kusasira has need for several bikapu and has the money to pay for them. Why are bikapu weavers not lining up at Kusasira’s house?
Tusaba Gavumenti, as the saying goes.
Edited by David Tumusiime