Education development in Uganda

Education development in Uganda

  • Before 1920, formal education in Uganda was run by the Christian missionaries.
  • Their efforts were mainly concentrated in Buganda.
  • Wherever they built a Church they would also set up a dispensary and a grammar School.
  • Their main aim was to enable their converts acquire the three Rs – Arithmetic, Reading and writing.
  • Their literacy was limited to reading religious books.
  • However, by this time, very few African parents were willing to take their children to school.
  • From 1900, missionaries introduced formal school education which was run alongside traditional education which they found.
  • The aim of this type of education was to create a civil and literate community.
  • Those who had this type of formal education could be clerks, interpreters and catechists.
  • In 1902, the first school was built called Namilyango College.
  • It was mainly children of chiefs and influential families who joined this school.
  • In the same year, Mengo High School was also constructed by the church missionary society.
  • By 1903, 7,800 girls were attending school.
  • The girls’ syllabus stressed submissiveness, hard work and good behavior.
  • In 1905, a boarding girls’ school was opened called Gayaza High School.
  • In 1906, King’s College Buddo was opened mainly for the sons and relatives of the Kabaka.
  • St. Mary’s college Kisubi was later opened in 1908.
  • More schools were opened up in Masaka, Kamuli, Iganga, Hoima, Gulu and Mbarara.
  • Such schools included Ntare School, Mary Hill high school and Kiira College Butiki.
  • In these schools, more emphasis was put on religious knowledge, English, geography and arithmetic.
  • These schools were run along denominational lines and were headed by reverends, nuns and priests.
  • Teacher Training Colleges (T.T.Cs) were later setup, the first at Mukono by the Anglican Church.
  • From 1920, the colonial government became interested in controlling education standards in Uganda.
  • This was because of the weaknesses found in missionary education e.g. they had neglected technical and industrial education and they had also neglected agriculture and animal husbandry.
  • The colonial government thus set up a department of education to guide education in Uganda.

Why the colonial government became interested in controlling education in Uganda

  • There was need for the colonial government to control the syllabus i.e. what was taught in Schools because each religious denomination only taught what suited their interests.
  • Missionary Schools only provided Education that was theoretical and not practical therefore irrelevant to the needs of the Africans.
  • Missionaries had neglected animal husbandry and agriculture in their Schools yet the economy was based on agriculture.
  • Mission Schools were also too many but with poor conditions for example hygiene was very poor and this called for the colonial government to come in and fund these Schools.
  • Missionaries had also found it very expensive to shoulder education alone and this therefore called for government funding.
  • The government also wanted to create a good impression of itself in public hence it’s increased funding of education.
  • The colonial government had by 1920 accumulated funds through taxation, revenue from cash crops and the Uganda railway and therefore this provided funds to invest in education.
  • The colonial government had also finished setting up the necessary infrastructures like roads, Uganda railway, Hospitals and therefore it had to start investing in Education.
  • There was also need for the government to continuously inspect the mission Schools to ensure that the syllabus was good, hygiene was improved and schools were properly staffed.
  • Schools were run on religious differences and therefore the colonial government had to come in to remove the differences.
  • Muslims had been neglected in provision of the education services and therefore the government had to come in.
  • There was need to promote girl child education because missionary education had neglected girls.
  • Government had also realized the need for education in development to create a civil class of skilled labour force.
  • There was need to reduce illiteracy country wide especially in the rural areas because most Schools were in Buganda and in urban centres.
  • There was need to create a class of teachers who were Africans because they knew the problems affecting their own people.
  • Availability of scholarships from various institutions abroad e.g. Cambridge which called for government selection of Students.
  • There was also need to improve on communication between the colonialists and the local people hence improvements in education had to be done by the colonial government.

How the government became involved in managing education after 1922

  • Before 1920, education was in the hands of missionaries.
  • Schools were opened and run by missionaries and evangelism was their main purpose.
  • From 800 pounds in 1920, government expenditure on education rose to 88,000 pounds in 1933.
  • In 1922, the government opened up a technical School at Makerere College to start training people in the fields of health, carpentry and metal works.
  • In 1924, the colonial government instituted the Phelps-stokes commission to re-examine the state of education in all the East African countries.
  • In 1924, the government appointed Sir Eric Husey as the first director of education in Uganda.
  • In 1926 more courses were introduced at Makerere College in the fields of teaching, agriculture and medicine and it started producing professionals.
  • Still in 1926, the colonial government started the Student exchange program and many students came from as far as Kenya Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia.
  • In the late 1920’s teacher training colleges were built, e.g. in Ndejje, Nkozi and Kyambogo and these produced Grade II teachers.
  • An inspectorate of schools was also set up to check on the standards of these Schools.
  • The government also set up education commissions for example Phelps – stokes commission and De – la –war commission to continuously research on the progress of education in Uganda.
  • In 1935, the colonial government linked Makerere to the college of Cambridge and the first group of Ugandans sat for the Cambridge certificate of education exams.
  • In 1937, Makerere was recommended to become an institution of higher learning for the whole of E. Africa.
  • In 1949, Makerere was linked to the University of London and it started offering degree courses.
  • Its first graduates came out in 1953 that included Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere. 
  • From the late 1930’s many schools were built and government increased funding in education.
  • This increased enrollment in primary, Secondary, tertiary and technical schools. 
  • A sponsorship or Scholarship program was put in place to help students attain higher education. 
  • In 1964, all denomination schools (schools belonging to a particular faith) were abolished by the 1964 education Act).