Academics from Bunyoro and Tooro have expressed concern about the possible sidelining of the Runyoro-Rutooro language in educational institutions in Uganda if nothing is done immediately to address the anomaly.
This red flag was raised during a select meeting that met at Mussy Hotel, Wandegeya, Kampala, on July 14, 2022.
Addressing the meeting, Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire said the recently passed school curriculum in Uganda apparently relegated local languages into optional subjects.
“We need to ensure that Runyoro-Rutooro (or Runyakitara), among other local languages, is not neglected in the school curriculum. We should address this issue as a matter of urgency,” he said.
There are eight (8) compulsory subjects in the new curriculum for Ordinary Level (S 1-S.4): Biology, Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Maths, Physics and Swahili.
In addition to these compulsory subjects, a student is allowed to pick another subject from 13 options, which includes Languages.
These are: Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, ICT, Religious Studies (CRE or Islam), Local Languages (in which Runyakitara and or Runyoro/Rutooro lie), Foreign Languages (e.g. French, German, etc), Metal Work, Wood Work, Technical Drawing, among others.
The meeting discussed strategies to address this issue.
These included promoting the teaching of indigenous languages, lobbying cultural institutions (especially Bunyoro and Tooro kingdoms) to promote the use of local languages, lobbying government to priotise our languages, among others.
The members want the indigenous language to be taught in primary schools, and it should be part of PLE (Primary Leaving Examinations).
In addition, it should be part of the training curriculum at Canon Apollo and Bulera Primary Teachers Colleges.
As a matter of urgency, the meeting tasked Prof. Ndoleriire to meet officials of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) to slot Runyoro-Rutooro in the NCDC Framework.
This meeting is slated for Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
The committee will also meet officials of Bunyoro and Tooro kingdoms in due course.
Makerere University’s College of Education, various Language Boards, among others, should also be brought on board.
Ms Harriet Kanyage Kasande Adyeri (lecturer of Runyoro-Rutooro at Makerere University), Dr John Kintu Amooti (Language lecturer at Kyambogo University), Dr Tito Beyeza Abwoli (retired Orthopedic specialist/Mulago Hospital and Minister for Culture in Tooro Kingdom) and Isaac Kalembe Akiiki, the Omutalindwa (Speaker of the Rukurato of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom), attended this meeting.
Prof. Ndoleriire also used the occasion to unveil the recently published Runyakitara Language Studies.
The content of the book, edited by Prof Ndoleriire himself, includes contributions from Dr Sally Byakutaaga and Dr Edith Natukunda, among others.
The book that has been published by Makerere University Press (MUP) costs UGX25,000 only.
Currently, it’s available at MUP offices at Lincoln Flats, Makerere University, Kampala.
Contact Dr Sam Siminyu (077-2436771).
Members also agreed to revive Wamanya (previously a monthly Runyoro-Rutooro newspaper) as a bi-annual magazine.