EDUCATION

Education expert Jonathan Kivumbi demolishes LDC bosses, reports top ministry officials to First Lady in a 10-page missive

KAMPALA — I had chosen not to give my side of the story, about the ongoing saga at LDC.

However, because of the numerous calls from several people–who, arguably, believe in my expertise, in the education field, I was left with no option, but to finally break the silence. However, unlike the previous submissions, about LDC, in this brief–the analyst has chosen to provide you with an in-depth analysis about the country’s education, in it’s totality. Truth be told, there isn’t anything happening at LDC– that is happening, elsewhere.

Makerere setting a wrong example 

Schools, tertiary institutions, and universities, have time immemorial, passed out students with false results. In fact, I personally do not waste my time discussing the LDC, saga, because even if the students had been given their results, still, these results would be null and void, regardless.

But, even then, how possible is it for a student to graduate, at any level of study, prior to receiving their results? In fact, even before this LDC saga, I had already written and, personally submitted several letters to both the President and the Education Minister–Maama Janet Museveni, detailing how schools, tertiary institutions, and universities, including Makerere, were passing out, typically fake graduates.

Arguably, focusing our attention on LDC–is actually missing the point–for the problem is way too bigger than LDC.

The issue of tertiary institutions–of which LDC–is part, and universities, including Makerere, passing out graduates whose scores are highly questionable, has been on, time immemorial. At the College of Education and External Studies, at Makerere, for example, undergraduate students are being passed out without doing school practice, in actual sense. One does not need to be at the stage of writing their doctorate (PhD) thesis report, to know that what Makerere calls school practice, is not anywhere near, even to teaching practice.

And because it is happening in Makerere, it is crystal clear that–the same is equally happening in other universities, as well as, national, and primary teachers’ colleges.

Despite the fact that school practice is a very sensitive examination, since it focuses at the practical beat of teaching–students are at liberty to do this all-important examination, from any school of their choice. More often, than not, male student teachers go back to their former schools, basically to meet their girlfriends–left behind–while the female students, also bounce back to their previous schools, not necessarily to do the teaching, as required, but, to also meet their boyfriends–who are usually male teachers.

Namulindwa Charity (not real name), a S.6 student in one of the prominent schools in Mukono, has this to say: “Teachers on school practice, mainly those in arts classes, give their girlfriends favour, to fulfil their [teachers] intentions” .

Charity also asserts that their teacher of Computer Studies, equally does the same.

Without doubt, everything about our education, as a country, is just upside down. Many a time, I sit back, and ask myself, whether there is anybody in this country, worth being called an expert in education. In fact, even the word ‘expertise’ may have been overrated–for–truth is, after looking at what is happening with our education, one cannot fail to conclude, that, as a country, there isn’t anybody knowledgeable in this all-important field–called education.

Look at the Luganda alphabetical charts, and all those pre-primary books, for example, and tell me, whether you can still refer to any graduate, post-graduate teacher, doctor (PhD), or professor of Luganda, as an expert in the field.

Could there be any Luganda scholar, including professors, of course, for example, whose children are introduced to the following syllables–ca, ce, ci, co, cu; ha, he, hi, ho, hu; and ra, re, ri, ro, ru? While our children are being poisoned at such a tender age, where are the people calling themselves scholars of the language, for God’s sake?

Surely, after introducing our children to the wrong syllables, how do we expect them, to come up with correctly spelled words?

Students are studying from schools carrying typically misspelled names, in the presence of teachers and above all, scholars of Luganda; surely, are we being true to ourselves ?

Do we have anybody, seated at NCDC, or UNEB, all in the name, of Luganda subject expert, and hence, being paid by the taxpayer, for the work done, surely?

Besides, teachers (of Luganda), are also conducting lessons with their names, wrongly spelled, and in the process, even their learners, have equally ended-up with wrong names, in the presence of teachers of Luganda, and linguistics, in general; surely, are we being true to ourselves? The aspects of language, such as orthography and phonetics, are simply talked of, but, never practiced, at all; surely, is this real?

After pronouncing (phonetics), say, the name Nnamulindwa, and writing (orthography), it as Namulindwa, how, then, does this teacher introduce his/her learners to the aforementioned aspects (phonetics and orthography), during the teaching-learning process, surely? And how does a teacher whose name is pronounced as Ttamale, but written as Tamale, employ the thematic curriculum, during the teaching-learning process, for heaven’s sake?

At a time, when we are only three months away, from celebrating our 59th independence, as a country, why are we still carrying the wrongly spelled name–by the British–Uganda, instead of, Yuganda, with the so many people that have studied Luganda, moreover, up to PhD level, surely?

Almost every place (region, county, district, municipality, sub-county, parish, village, trading centre, etc.) within the country, is wrongly spelled–and nobody seems to be bothered about this, surely? How possible is it for a teacher conducting a Luganda lesson in Mmengo (which, is the correct spelling), for example, disseminate knowledge to his/her learners, after spelling Mmengo, as Mengo?

After the British changing our rightful name–Ntebe–to Entebbe, how come nobody, including scholars in Luganda, has come out to blow the trumpet, surely? And surely, is there anybody, in Busoga, worthy being called an expert in Lusoga, even after failing to put right the name of their chief city, Jinja, surely? In the absence of letter ‘J’, in the Lusoga vocabulary, how does Jinja, come about, surely?

Fifty-nine (59) years of independence, and nobody in Busoga, has noticed that Jinja, was/is a colonial problem, and, therefore, must take its rightful name–Idinda, even after making Lusoga part of the curriculum; are we really true to ourselves, surely?

According to NCDC, do the schools and/or teachers in Jinja, and Busoga, at large, also apply the thematic curriculum, during the teaching-learning process?

And after making Acholi, Iteso, and Langi, part of the curriculum, why do we still have people carrying similar names, but spelled, differently, surely? Look, at these three names: Aceng (which is obviously, the correctly spelled name), Acheng, and Achieng–to understand my point of concern. For heaven’s sake, how does a teacher whose rightful name is Aceng, but written as Acheng, or Achieng, conduct her lessons, in relation to the thematic curriculum?

So, Opio, does not, actually know that his name is supposed to be written as Opio, and not, Opiyo–and to the authorities concerned, this is very fine–and so, the status quo, can be left uninterrupted?

So, how does a one, Opio, whose name is wrongly written–as Opiyo, conduct his lessons, especially when it comes to the application of the thematic curriculum, surely?

Need for urgent sweeping changes at both UNEB and NCDC for failing the country 

UNEB –Uganda National Examinations Board is busy administering typically wrong examinations, time-and-again, and the persons responsible, are simply being massaged, praised, and clapped by the authorities; surely, are we being true to ourselves?

Forty-one (41) years of its existence, UNEB has never released valid, authentic, and reliable results to the public–and to the authorities, this is a normal, surely? With all the scholars of English Language, we have, as a country, why do we have UNEB operating with a wrong name? Does UNEB have in place a fully functional English Language department? And if so, hasn’t any of the officials, there, seen that there is a (huge) grammatical problem, with the name UNEB, surely?

Must one be at the stage of writing their PhD thesis report, in any lingual-related discipline, to know that the name Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB)–is actually wrong? By and large, if the concerned officials in UNEB–do not know that they are actually operating with a wrong name, then, it is crystal clear that they just CANNOT administer correct examinations.

While auditing UNEB, what exactly does the Auditor General focus, at? For heaven’s sake, how do we have an organization–that has specialized in the administration of examinations–that are wrong, in all aspects, clean in the books of the Auditor General, as a routine?

It is evident that if students are being subjected to wrong UNEB examinations, then, they just cannot sit valid, reliable, and authentic exams at LDC, or elsewhere. Can anyone convince me, that a professor, who cannot manage primary and secondary schools’ examinations, can be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing business in tertiary institutions and universities?

Surely, what quality of post-graduates have been produced by professors–Kayanja, Bbossa, and Okwakol, after failing to handle primary and secondary school examinations? How do we have wrong exams produced by an agency headed by a professor, surely?

So, after failing UNEB, the appointing authority, found it necessary to appoint Professor Mary Okwakol, as the executive director, National Council for Higher Education (NCHE); surely, are we being true to ourselves?

Why shouldn’t LDC, graduate students, in the absence of their results, yet the person meant to oversee operations at the Centre, has, time immemorial, been part of an organization, that has the specialty of doctoring results? Precisely, if UNEB is availing the public, with typically doctored results, why not LDC, or any other education institution? For God’s sake, how often does Professor Okwakol, of course, with her team from NCHE, visit LDC, or even any other higher institution of higher learning, including, universities, purposely to check on the way, business is conducted, there?

Schools are openly cheating examinations, with impunity, and the best UNEB does, as a routine, is to extend its wrath, to hitherto, unpopular schools, leaving the top-notch schools, majority of which, are actually perpetrators of examination mal-practice, to walk away scorch free.

Consider an example of the 2017 examinations, specifically, PLE and UCE, whose leakage was grossly aided by the different social medium platforms, mainly WhatsApp and Facebook–where UNEB, even with prior knowledge, that hundreds and hundreds of people (parents, learners, and teachers, among others), did/do not actually possess smartphones, or even mobile phones, precisely, decided to cancel examination results of only rural schools.

Interestingly, while releasing, the 2018 results, the executive secretary, UNEB, Dan Odong, was not ashamed, in any way, to inform the minister, and the public, at large, that examination mal-practice, in the 2018 examinations, had gone down by 63%. Incredible!

And does one need to first enrol for their doctorate (PhD) studies in whichever field, to know that there was, and of course, there still, is a problem, with the way UNEB handled the 2018 Primary Leaving Examinations? Why do think teachers believe in cheating examinations for their learners, more so, when it comes to UNEB examinations?’ asked a senior teacher, who preferred, anonymity. So, how do we expect LDC, or even any other examining agency, including university, to do things the right way, yet UNEB, which is the central examinations body, is actually doing the contrary?

Could there be anybody at UNEB, or NCDC, in particular, who ever got access to the Saturday Vision, of February 24, 2018–whose headline read: UNEB Set Wrong Questions– Expert? And has anybody in UNEB, or NCDC, ever had a look at the 2013 and 2015, NAPE–National Assessment of Progress in Education, reports? But even then, do these people read newspapers? Do they read these reports?

And if so, does the information contained, therein, carry any meaning to them? In all this, where is the Education Standards Agency (ESA)? Surely, with all the mess in UNEB, how then do we expect LDC, or even, any other examining agency, including university, to do the right thing, surely?

Even though the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), is one of those government agencies that is well-funded by both government and the international community, this has not stopped the ‘demi-gods’ at the Centre, from resorting to the production of typically plagiarized literature, after squandering the funds meant to conduct government business, for the benefit of the entire nation.

For heaven’s sake, how come, NCDC, is, year-in-year-out, producing plagiarized literature, implying that, the funds meant to do the rightful job, are actually embezzled, but, it is never implicated by the Auditor General? The Centre fails out on its core function of curriculum development, and the officials, there, are just being massaged, praised, and clapped, by the Auditor General; surely, are we being true to ourselves?

Other tertiary institutions following LDC’s example

It is normal practice for tertiary institutions of all sorts–regardless of whether they are private, or public, to pass out typically fake graduates, while the authorities, are simply massaging, praising, and clapping these institutions. UBTEB–Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board, has already been put in the spotlight of availing students with fake and/or doctored marks, vis-à-vis practicing sectarianism and nepotism, among other vices. Primary teachers Colleges (PTCs), formerly under the ‘stewardship’ of Kyambogo University, and currently under the management of NITE–National Institute of Teacher Education, have specialized in the passing out of typically fake graduates (teachers), and the authorities at Embassy House, including Parliament, are simply looking on.

Truth be told, since the inception of the first PTC in Uganda–as a country, we have never received authentic, genuine, and reliable results and/or graduates of PTCs. No wonder, teachers at this level, are passing typically wrong information to our children. Surprisingly, while all this is happening, each one of us, is simply playing the spectating role, while these innocent souls, are suffering at the hands of individuals [teachers] who have taken it upon themselves to pass on the same wrong information that they [teachers], obtained from their teachers.

Teaching at all levels of study, including post-graduate, is simply done following a script, as is the case for any drama series. Precisely, teaching is absolutely, based on cram work. The aspects of critical thinking, effective communication, and linguistic analysis are totally unheard of, at all levels of study–the reason learners, at whichever level, are picking on, countless volumes of false content. Universities are hiring inexperienced, ill-equipped, and highly incompetent lecturers, and to the authorities, at the NCHE–National Council for Higher Education, this is an ideal practice.

NCHE —a dysfunctional agency 

Universities, both private and public, of which Makerere, is part, are busy passing out typically raw products (graduates), and the officials at NCHE are comfortably seated in the ‘pavilion’ watching whatever is going from a far.

NCHE is busy registering, licensing, and to the extreme, even chartering, secondary schools–in fact, if not primary schools, as universities, and the authorities at Embassy House, are simply spectating. Honestly speaking, a number of universities, are actually, not any different, from a typical secondary school–to say the least–particularly in the way they perform their core function, of teaching.

Basing on what is happening with our education, as a country, one can’t be crucified when they conclude that graduates and post-graduates, including doctors (PhD) and professors, are simply holding onto their qualifications, ideally for prestigious purposes.

For heaven’s sake, in the presence of all the aforementioned categories of people, why should we, as a country, still be grappling, with all these countless anomalies and/or gaps, evident in our education? Someone is holding a PhD, in whichever, field of study, and they have not known, yet that UNEB examinations are wrong, in all aspects, surely?

If a primary school-going child of a graduate, post-graduate teacher, doctor (PhD), or professor of English Language, is still being introduced to the highly meaningless, baseless, and unjustifiable topic of ‘abbreviations’, then, who should come to the rescue of that innocent child, hailing from a family whose parents are illiterate?

While primary school teachers are busy poisoning our children with their highly crammed content, among which, include the description of ‘Science’, being the study of living and non-living things, do the children of the aforementioned groups [i.e., graduates, undergraduates, doctors (PhD), and professors], equally take part in the lesson?

Sixty-three (63) years, down-the-road, and not a single teacher of English Language, including professors, in the field, has noticed that Wilfred D. Best’s book, titled: The Student’s Companion–contains, countless volumes of wrong content, hence making it, an unsuitable teaching-learning aid?

Do we really have any graduates, post-graduates, doctors (PhD), or even professors of Economics, Luganda, Geography, History, Entrepreneurship Education, Christian/Islamic Religious Education (C/IRE), Chemistry, Biology, Physics–and all those other subjects, that have been wrongly taught to students, time immemorial, in this country, surely?

Teachers at all levels of study, are busy passing on wrong information to their learners, as if nobody at Embassy House, more so, the technocrats, has ever heard of George Bernard Shaw’s words–Beware of false knowledge, for it is more dangerous than ignorance, surely?

Are the teachers and lecturers of Economics, professors inclusive, convinced, with the content they are passing onto their students, for example?

So, when the lecturers of, say, English Language and Luganda, look at the examinations they themselves, administer, together with those administered by UNEB, do they really sit back, and clap themselves, for the work well-done, surely?

Are there any learners, at whichever level, whose parents are specialists in natural sciences–Chemistry, Biology, and Physics–Mathematics–inclusive, studying General Science and General Paper, surely? But, do the people, in-charge of curriculum development, at NCDC, ever apply any form of thinking, while executing their duties, surely?

For God’s sake, how do you entrust someone who does not even know that, a subject and/or course unit, of any nature, must, as a rule of thumb, focus at something (very) specific, with such a sensitive responsibility of managing a national curriculum, simply, because they are doctors (PhD), or professors, surely?

Can someone whose child has been introduced to General Science, raise his/her head out of the sand, and happily, refer to themselves as doctor (PhD), or professor, surely? So, according to NCDC, these so-called scholars, consultants, and subject specialists, in General Science, as postulated by UNEB’s executive secretary, Dan Odong, specialized/specialize, in which are, exactly?

For God’s sake, must someone be at the stage of writing their PhD thesis report on any research topic, of their choice, to know that ‘science’ of nature, cannot be generalized, whatsoever, surely? And still, according to NCDC, and, of course, UNEB, as well, what teaching subjects–do teachers of General Science, study? And where do these teachers train from?

Is it worth for anyone whose child has been introduced to General Paper–a subject, that is purely, inexistent, without making any noise, being referred to as an elite, surely?

Who are these scholars, consultants, and subject specialists of CRE, being talked of by UNEB’s executive secretary, Dan Odong, that do not actually know that IRE (or simply, Islam), Buddhism, and any other religious faith, that does not relate to Christianity, CANNOT, in anyway, be taught in CRE?

Students are being taught current affairs, in History, and we are simply clapping the people concerned; surely, are we being true to ourselves?

Publishing houses not spared, either 

Publishing houses, of all sorts, are busy publishing typically wrong literature, and, the best, the authorities can do, is to have their operational licenses, renewed, time-and-again? For heaven’s sake, how do these publishing houses, whose books have been already approved by NCDC, get this approval?

So, if NCDC cannot produce valid, authentic, genuine, and reliable literature, of its own–from where, then, does it get the moral authority, to approve literature, published by other publishing houses? Do we really have any technocrats seated at Embassy House?

Permanent Secretary, Minister and top bosses implicated 

As all this is happening, where is the Permanent Secretary (PS), who is considered the chief technocrat of the ministry? For what reasons, is the taxpayer’s hard-earned money, being spent by government on rewarding commissioners, district education officers (DEOs), and the so many officials, popularly described as technocrats, of the ministry, surely? And where are line ministers?

While the minister is busy with policy-related issues of the ministry, what are the state ministers, doing, surely? Do these ministers ever monitor and supervise the teaching-learning process? Why is LDC, messing this country, surely, in the presence of the minister in-charge of higher education, surely?

For all the years, LDC has messed-up with students’ results, how many times, has the state minister for higher education–Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, or even his predecessors, moved to the Centre, to attend to the students grievances? Why is it that, in the presence of the State Minister, or even the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the public’s confidence lies in the minister–Maama Janet Museveni?

So, how has the State Minister for Higher Education and NCHE, helped the minister fix the countless problems at LDC, and in the rest of the higher institutions of learning, surely?

For God’s sake, how does someone pass out students in the absence of their results, and they are left to go scorch free?

Who represented government, at this so-called graduation, ceremony?

And who exactly presided over this function?

Mess involving IGG, Education Service Commission & others

The Education Service Commission (ESC), is busy hiring ghost teachers, and–to-date, nobody, at the Commission, has been brought to book? Schools, at all levels–both public and private, are busy duping parents, guardians, and sponsors, of which government, is part, of their hard-earned money, and the best the authorities, can do, is to reward those involved with promotions and/or high profile positions in the ministry?

Head teachers, deputies, and teachers of public schools, at all levels, have abandoned their official workplaces (public schools), for private schools, hence leaving the learners, in the former (public schools), with nobody, to run to–and to the authorities at Embassy House, including the PS, meant to act as the chief monitor of every technocrat of the ministry, is considered an ideal practice, surely?

ESA/DES in the spotlight 

What is the relevance of ESA/DES–Education Standards Agency and the Directorate of Education Standards (which agencies, perform conflicting roles, since they are similar, in all aspects), in as far as fixing the enormous gaps, in education, is concerned? So, with all the problems evident in our education sector, as a country, is it still worthwhile for government, to continually spend the country’s meagre resources, on rewarding individuals who have extremely proven themselves, incompetent, surely?

Take it, or leave it–believe it, or not, unless the meaning of the term ‘standards’, particularly, ‘education standards’ has changed of late, to mean the current happenings in our education, one cannot be crucified, whatsoever, when they conclude that, both ESA and DES, are absolutely worthless agencies–to both the ministry and the public, at large.

Against the aforementioned background, therefore, it is crystal clear that, the problems with our education–as a country–are way, to-far, greater than the latest events at the Law Development Centre–the reason–an independent audit needs to be performed, throughout the entire ministry.

Regardless of whether it sounds appealing in our ears, or not, there is an urgent, for whoever is passionate about the Pearl of Africa’s education, to come to terms with the reality–for truth is, there is hardly any ministerial agency, including schools, as already noted, that is, fully functional.

People are busy earning money, for no work done–and, to the authorities concerned are simply massaging and clapping them. If one does not refer to this–as corruption–then how best can they describe it, surely?

Besides, auditing the aforementioned agencies, it is also ideal for this audit to be extended, to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and the Auditor General, as well. Time immemorial, UNEB has administered wrong examinations–a clear indication that public resources have been put to waste, but–it appears like, year-in-year-out, the Board is considered clean in the Auditor General’s reports.

Without doubt, the corruption evident in NCDC, is immeasurable; however, to the Auditor General, it appears a normal practice. For NCDC, to receive not only, billions-and-billions of shillings, from government, but also millions-and-millions of dollars and pounds, majorly, from international donor agencies, and thereafter, run to Google, from where they obtain their literature, moreover, in copy and paste form.

Therefore, according to the Auditor General, this implies that it is very okay, for the Centre–to produce plagiarized literature, and squander public funds. These people are smart, in the way they conduct their dealings–to the extent that, even when one petitions the IGG–over the conduct of business in UNEB and NCDC, the IGG, will not only fail to have the file allocated, but will, also ensure that the file, actually goes missing. Investigations in the Inspectorate of Government, should start with the officials in the registry–as this is where files, usually go missing.

Arguably, from my personal experience, it is crystal clear that hundreds of thousands of files, go missing, resulting into the pre-mature death of many cases, filed with the IGG. Investigating the rot at LDC, is long over-due.

Maama–you either continue massaging and clapping these highly unpatriotic Ugandans, within your ministry, as they continue messing-up, not only the country’s education, but also the entire country, at large–or they eat you up, themselves–before you can act on them.

Truth be told, Maama, majority of your subordinates are not after serving Ugandans; these people are using their office to accomplish their selfish interests–the reason, you should deal with them, with the urgency, it deserves.

Some of us are already risking our lives, to peter the aforementioned persons–and will be very unfortunate if our lives are terminated, and the status quo, remains unchanged.

I see no reason as to why, the police officers, guarding these people, do not, instead, accompany them to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Kibuli for interrogation, for God’s sake. At this point in time, the director LDC, and all his accomplices, should have already recorded statements with the Police CID department, for the mess.

You just cannot graduate students, prior to giving them their results, and be left scorch free. Investigations, should also be extended to all agencies and institutions–both public and private, of the ministry–because truth is, the mess at LDC, is deeply embedded, in the different ministerial agencies, as already discussed.

Truth be told, it is not possible, for any valid, reliable, and authentically administered assessment, to register more failures, than students passing the exam. You do not have to be an expert in education, to come to this conclusion, truthfully speaking.

For heaven’s sake, what is UNEB’s executive secretary, Dan Odong, going to tell the public, at the release of the 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE), after undisputable findings indicating that these exams, just like the previous examinations, administered, by UNEB, were wrong, in each and every aspect?

The director LDC graduates students prior to releasing their results–and he is still moving around the city, scorch free, while the police are handling people not putting on masks, like bank robbers, or al-Shabab terrorists? Mama, is this real, surely?

Maama, all eyes are on you– for every Ugandan, regardless of where they are, strongly believes, you are the best person to handle this problem–the reason the President appointed you as the Education Minister.

Jonathan Kivumbi
Educationist–communication and language skills analyst
0770880185 (WhatsApp 0702303190)
jonathankivumbi2017@gmail.com

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