Home-education in Uganda
Education in Uganda, just as is the case with most African countries, it is a monopoly of the state. Most people have been made to think that indeed it is the responsibility of their governments to provide an education system for their children. It is the governments therefore that develop the curriculum, assess what is taught, train teachers and also pay them. With this, Education is therefore compulsory and to most people this means every school age child (6 years and above in Uganda) must go to a school somewhere.
By and large Home-schooling is a new concept, and to most people it comes across as something illegal since it is generally understood that no one should be in charge of a child’s education apart from government. Although according to Ugandan constitution the responsibility of a child’s education belongs to the government and the parent. However, since home-schooling has not picked up so much, nobody seems to be bothered on whether there is anything like it. So those who are home-schooling in Uganda currently are doing it under the cover of international schooling, and when it comes to college or university options, they can afford to take their children to the US, UK or South Africa, where there are colleges and universities that can easily accept home school graduates. But also most of the families practicing Home education are missionaries from the west, and a few nationals with connections to people from the west. For that matter all of them use American developed curricula, which qualify them for international education. As a result the general assumption is that Home Schooling is for westerners and a few rich families in the country.
MIE’s Curriculum Development Program
It is against this background, that MIE is advocating for the parents’ God ordained right to educate their children. Government run education in Uganda has not done the nation good. As a result, everybody is looking for alternatives, but no one had yet come up with an authentic Biblical alternative. MIE therefore, seeks not only to promote Home-Education in the country, but has embarked on a much needed, huge task of Re-writing the national curriculum, using Biblical Principles to come up with a rigorously Biblical curriculum in all aspects. This curriculum will be available for families who are interested in Home-schooling. With a curriculum written from a Biblical perspective and meeting the national objectives, this will make it possible for every national interested and is able to Home-school to do it since the big question of curriculum and resource materials will answered. But also it will be cheaper than purchasing curriculum from the outside world. So far a grade 7-10 history and Biology curriculum has been developed.
As mentioned above Home-schooling or any other graduates from a system of education different from the national system, find it difficult to access colleges and universities in Uganda and Africa at large. But also, there is no college or university so far in Uganda which is offering education from a comprehensively Biblical worldview. Some talk about it, but it is far from being implemented in the class rooms. Even where we have Christian universities, it is only in name. By God’s grace, MIE is looking at establishing a college first, which will eventually grow to a university which will be an alternative for Home school graduates, but also one which will approach all its disciplines from a Biblical point of view.
At the moment, a small step has been taken in this direction, where by, MIE started a one year Education certificate; this is a training program for both parents and school teachers who are equipped with skills and knowledge of handling the early years of pre-school children. Ina pre-service full time program which started in February 2015 MIE has trained 10 educators and in the parents program MIE has conducted workshops for about 120 parents consistently every after a week throughout the year. The plan is to upgrade this program in the next three years to a fully-fledged accredited institution offering diplomas and Bachelor’s degrees not only in the area of Education, but looking forward to take on many other courses from a Biblical point of view, such as Government, Business and others.
Much as nobody is bothered yet about the rise of Home-Education in Uganda, we believe soon or later there shall be concerns, especially from government circles. So far we have heard a few programs in the media where some people are bashing the concept of Home-education. We believe this is likely to gain momentum as they realize that there are a number of people involved in the system. MIE would love therefore to prepare beforehand on how to deal with this legally through lobbying and advocacy. Through research and networking MIE is developing its Advocacy wing to engage policies on the education front to advance and defend the cause of the parents’ right to educate their children.
Home-School Resource Centre
MIE is to set up a resource centre which will provide all kinds of educational resources for home-schooling and Christian education in general. We intend not only to write and build a national curriculum but also serve as a liaison centre for other curricula available elsewhere in the world to enable families have choice. This centre will provide research and all kinds of consultancy on educational matters from a Biblical point of view.