Uganda makes Kiswahili compulsory in primary and secondary schools

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, while addressing the media in Kabale town, said the government is ready to take on teachers who will run to courts of law for redress.

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi (PHOTO /File)

KAMPALA — Uganda’s Cabinet has approved the compulsory teaching of Kiswahili in primary and secondary schools across the country.

In their sitting on Monday, July 4, 2022, Cabinet said they were implementing the 21st EAC Summit directive, which adopted Kiswahil as the official language of the community. It was also agreed to launch training programmes for Parliament, the Cabinet, and the media.

The communication is contained in a briefing by the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi.

The government in 2020 endorsed the establishment of the Uganda National Kiswahili Council, whose main objective was to guide the introduction of Swahili as the second national (official) language.

Since independence in 1962, English has been Uganda’s lone official language.

In 2005, Swahili, which is foreign and viewed as neutral, was proposed as the country’s second official language.

Uganda’s move to approve the establishment of the council is also in fulfilment of Article 137 (2) of the East African Community treaty.

The article states that Kiswahili shall be developed as a lingua franca of the community to support sustainable development and regional integration, although several member countries have not adhered to this provision of the law.

In late 2018, Kenya also approved the establishment of the National Kiswahili Council to inform government policy on developing, protecting, and supporting the language.

Tanzania has taken the lead, promoting the language not only in Tanzania but across the continent. In May 2019, Tanzania trained over 700 Swahili teachers to train members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Cabinet also directed the Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development to present a comprehensive paper on the externalisation of labour in Uganda. This was after taking note of the reports that some Ugandans who work outside the country, especially as domestic servants, undergo untold suffering.

The Cabinet also noted that World Population Day will be commemorated on July 11, 2022 at Kumi Boma grounds in Kumi District. The theme will be “Mindset Change for Wealth Creation: Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy.”

The Cabinet also approved the proposal to amend the Microfinance Deposit Taking Institutions Act, 2003. The amendments will address the following: allow for the use of the words “Microfinance bank” by microfinance deposit-taking institutions; provide for Islamic banking, agent banking, and bancassurance in the microfinance industry; and allow special access to the credit reference bureau by other accredited credit providers and service providers.


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