KAMPALA — Private primary schools across the country will soon be obliged to start teaching pupils from Primary One to Primary Three in local languages.
According to State minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde, the policy has already improved literacy levels in public schools where it was introduced in 2007 under the Universal Primary Education programme.
“Since we rolled out this policy in schools under the Universal Primary Education programme, the literacy rates have improved from 25 per cent to 77 per cent. We now want all private schools to start doing the same since all children belong to the government. We do not have any private student in this country,” Ms Seninde said.
She was speaking at the opening of the 11th Pan-African literacy conference in Kampala early this week.
The minister said they will soon start training teachers in private schools how to implement the programme.
“We are going to start mobilising the private schools, retool their teachers and see how this programme works. We know it is expensive to implement but all schools should appreciate the importance of teaching their children in their mother tongue,” she added.
Ms Robinah Kyeyune, an educationist, said children, when introduced to their mother tongue at an early stage, gain confidence and can easily respond to different challenges in their environment.
“The government should first work at changing the mindset of parents and head teachers in private schools if this policy is to work. Most parents do not want their children to be taught in local languages because they think that English is very important,” Ms Kyeyune said.
The content of the thematic / lower primary curriculum is arranged around themes that are familiar to the learners. Teachers are expected to use a familiar area language as the medium of instruction.