By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Ugandan government has made Kiswahili language compulsory in both primary and secondary schools in the country.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, the ICT minister, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi said cabinet sitting on Monday approved the use of Kiswahili as a national language in the country.
“Cabinet approved the implementation of the 21st East Africa Community summit directive in Uganda to adopt Kiswahili as an official language of the community. Cabinet recommended that the teaching of Kiswahili language in primary and secondary schools be made compulsory and examinable,”Baryomunsi said.
He explained that Uganda’s constitution made Kiswahili as the country’s second official language, adding that there was need to ensure it is widely understood and spoken by Ugandans
“Cabinet took note that Uganda has lagged behind in terms of practicing the use of Kiswahili as a national language. When you look at East African countries, Kiswahili is well spoken and understood but in Uganda it is not the case. We took note of the gap.”
He said one of the reasons for slow adoption of Kiwashili was that it was used by bandits in the past, prompting Ugandans to get a negative attitude towards it.
“We took a decision that as Ugandans let us abandon attitude against Kiwashili and promote it as language in schools. The move we took is to make teaching of Kiswahili compulsory and examinable. Through that our children and young people will be able to understand it. That is how we all speak and understand English because it is compulsory.”
Baryomunsi said cabinet also agreed that on every cabinet day there will be Kiswahili lessons, the same or parliament and the media.
“This move is meant to ensure Ugandans embrace Kiswahili as a language for communication in Uganda.”