Members of Parliament on Education Committee have questioned government’s introduction of kiswahili as a language to be taught alongside other subjects in Primary Schools.
MPS argued that the introduction of the language is to consume more time and pile work load of the children in primary schools than concentrating on other subjects that they must base on to get career.
This was during the appearance of members from the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) before the committee to submit explanations of the quality and standards of the Centre and budget requests highlighted in the Ministry of Education and Sports Ministerial Policy Statement for Financial Year 2013-2014.
A government directive was given that Kiswahili should be taught in schools to enable Ugandans to fit within the East African Community.
NCDC has been running a pilot on the Kiswahili syllabus in primary schools and the pilot schools will complete the cycle at P7 in this Financial Year.
According to NCDC, an evaluation of the pilot informed that the Kiswahili Curriculum for Primary schools should start at Primary Four and the retooling process for teachers is planned to start in the medium term.
The Director of NCDC Connie Kateeba told the committee that through Teacher Education, the syllabus for all Primary Teacher Colleges (PTCs) has been revised to include teaching of Kiswahili to all the Pre-Service teachers.
MP Acayo Christine question NCDC’s argument when cabinet directed to introduce Kiswahili as a compulsory subject in primary schools saying that what is on ground is that Kiswahili introduction is unrealistic.
She asked whether for a person to know Kiswahili must be taught first in schools and how the practicability of the language.
MP Julius Maganda told NCDC members that they had based on the directive of cabinet without carrying out research to enable them come up with an applicable program that would be performed and help people on the ground.
He advised that before the language being introduced in Primary, the centre would have thought of bringing on teachers in primary through training them in Kiswahili language at PTCs.
MP Odongo Otto questioned where the idea of introduction of Kiswahili as a compulsory subject came from arguing that previously students were punished in schools for using vernacular and that a child’s learning of a local language should be decided by the parents.
However, the Director of NCDC Kateeba argued that a language is a resource to any person and a tool that can be used any time in one’s life and the number of languages a person learns the better for him or her.
She said that the Kiswahili language is supposed to be examined but said that she is not yet certain when the Kiswahili syllabus will kick off in primary schools saying that the Ministry of Finance said that it will be rolled out in the medium term which is probably in three years time.