Uganda: Govt Urges Schools to Teach Pupils in Mother Tongues

21 January 2020

The Ministry of Education and Sports has said teaching learners in lower primary in their local languages helps them to perform better.

The assistant commissioner for primary education, Dr Tony Mukasa Lusambu, said most children are performing poorly because they are being instructed in a foreign language.

"Children must be taught in their native language because naturally, we learn from the known to unknown. The children already know their local languages by the time they come to school. That is where we should start from so that we go on building towards the unknown," he said.

Dr Lusambu was speaking last Friday during a five-day workshop for teachers from Busoga Sub-region in Jinja District.

He added that as a ministry, they want children to first master their mother tongue up to Primary Three and then take up English language. Mr Geoffrey Mbanago, the head teacher of Nabirye Primary School in Kamuli District, supported the move. "If the child knows the vocabulary at home, it will help him or her to understand because they will be learning from simple to complex. The local language will work as a medium of instruction," he said.

The headmaster of Miseru Primary School in Buyende District, Mr Sonko Kizito, said the system will help them grasp the English language better in Upper Primary.

Government introduced the use of mother tongue as medium of instruction in primary schools in 2007 under the thematic curriculum. However, its implementation has been relaxed, especially for schools in urban areas.

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