Kiswahili teachers call for promotion of language in all sectors

Kiswahili teachers call for promotion of language in all sectors
Kiswahili lesson

The Uganda National Kiswahili Association has called upon government to prioritise advocacy and promotion of Kiswahili teaching in the country.

Benon Mukundane, the association's secretary general, says it is high time authorities legislated enabling policies for the timely implementation of Kiswahili in Uganda to cope up with counterparts in the East African Community.

In October 2022, Sabinet approved Kiswahili as the second official language & instructed schools to teach it in primary and secondary as a compulsory language.

Mukundane says Uganda lacks clear policies to develop Kiswahili.

"Uganda is not doing well in the use and development of Kiswahili like her old counterparts of Kenya and Tanzania and this may call for affirmative action and fast-tracking mechanisms to be initiated at both EAC and State levels," he said.

He added that Article 6 (2) of the Constitution stipulates that "Kiswahili shall be the second official language in Uganda to be used in such circumstances as Parliament may by law prescribe."

Unfortunately, nine years down the road, the Parliament is yet to prescribe any policy guidelines for the operationalisation of this.

"Stakeholders in Kiswahili language in Uganda feel that, to-date, there are neither transparent processes nor tangible steps towards the formation of the Uganda National Kiswahili Council," Mukundane added.

According to Mukundane the country has 5,000 unemployed Kiswahili teachers in the country.

He believes if Uganda's media houses introduce and maintain Kiswahili programmes, it will be easy to popularise and spread the language.

"There are so many diploma and graduate teachers of Kiswahili in Uganda who are ready for deployment, they are redundant," he said.

Peace Mutuuzo, the minister of state for gender and cultural affairs, says government is in the process of constituting the Kiswahili Council to help in influencing the promotion of the language in different sectors.

"As government the plan of constituting the Kiswahili council is ongoing," Ms Mutuuzo said.

"The government, through the Minister of East African Affairs, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, provided funds to facilitate the teaching and learning process of kiswahili," Mutuuzo added.

Mutuuzo added that she is going to influence authorities to adopt programs for Kiswahili as the second national language for the public.

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