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Your mail: Letter to Justice Kakuru

You may be gone but certainly your impeccable legacy lives on. You were an extremely distinguished arbiter of the law, a unique voice of reason, unprecedented jurist, a meticulous judicial officer and an avid human rights defender who championed the needs and aspirations of the people of Uganda.

Your decisions were not just for the courtroom; you decided for posterity. You spoke with so much candidness, detail and clarity. You believed that your voice could be the difference. Your humility will forever remain unmatched.

You gave us hope and reason to believe in the noble profession. Our duty is to be bold and courageous at all times. You gave us reason not to just see things as they are but to question everything; that’s where true freedom is. You spoke from your heart, your unyielding conviction for justice will forever be remembered.

That we should never be fearful or doubtful, but be the difference. We are hopeful that because of your voice of dissent which was always defining, the profession is better than the way you found it. We are forever grateful for your spirit of selflessness and devotion to confronting injustice and bringing a new dawn.

Thank you for serving diligently. Thank you for teaching us that when God grants you an opportunity, use that chance to be the change you wish to see. You were a beacon of hope to the noble profession.

Rest in Perfect Peace Hon. Justice Kenneth Kakuru!

Peter Ahabwe,

We need to solve biology crisis

The 2022 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results released on February 9 show that biology, a core science, is the worst-performed subject.

Of the 345,275 candidates, only 0.2 per cent scored distinctions one or two, significantly decreasing from 0.7 per cent in 2020. Total failures (F9s) increased from 6.8 per cent (2020) to 9.2 per cent (2022).

There is a nationwide crisis in biology education, uniformly affecting learners. The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) assessment is a critical component of our education system, hence should reflect the intersection of curriculum relevance, pedagogy and standards.

In 2015 UACE, shock gripped everyone when only two biology candidates scored A, while 60 per cent got O or F (one or no point).

Whereas students aggressively scrutinise results when choosing schools to enroll, decision-makers at the ministry of Education and Sports seem uninterested in listening to alternative voices on the immediate, secondary and root causes of decades-long persistently poor biology results.

Every year, when releasing UCE and UACE results, Uneb mainly blames direct instructional strategy (knowledge-based teaching) at the expense of inquiry and discovery (practical); bad attitude of learners; the inadequate instructional materials; and teachers’ incompetence.

The same factors are regurgitated by desk-review researchers. On the contrary, Ugandans are unaware of the key issues determining biology performance.

They include: non-conformity of question papers with learning content assessed and dependence on 20th century foreign curricula-inspired textbooks containing incompatible content. Not sure of assessment boundaries, many teachers overload learners, with justifying statements like, “Uneb can set anything from any textbook labelled biology.”

Government officials should be aware that Uganda is experiencing the consequences of a congested biology syllabus, inherited from colonial era archives. Comparative curricula studies show that the world’s respected exam boards specify boundaries for teaching and setting, including marks allocation to the assessment objectives in the proportions specified in the syllabus.

The high biology failure rate does not seem to bother government officials. If it were, summits of eminent biology educators, Uneb officials and curriculum developers mediated by MoES would be convening annually to build consensus on sticky issues
in biology education, to avert the immediate, long-term and impactful consequences.

Frederick Dongo-Shema,

Let’s fight parent toxicity

As an African parent, has it ever crossed your mind that the way most of us know how to raise children breeds damaged and traumatized adults?

Are you the kind that believes that “omuzadde tasobya”, a Luganda phrase translated as a parent does not err? But how true is this if to err is human?

Parent toxicity is the saddest place to be when you are an adult who has no sense of belonging because one of your parents or both ripped you of your true identity.

A toxic parent, however, is more concerned with their needs than whether what they are doing is harmful or damaging to the child. They are so full of themselves they tend to exhibit characteristics of verbal abuse, gaslighting, physical abuse, side-lining, lack of boundaries, manipulation, self-centered behaviour such as being emotionally unavailable, being physically away from your children and perhaps uncaring when it comes to things that children need.

Bluntly, some parents blame children for all their unhappiness, problems that emanated from giving birth to them and the regrets.

This goes further to verbal abuse. There are many adults whose self-esteem was shuttered by their parents’ tongues and this has bred traumatized and damaged children that have to deal with depression, anxiety and insecurities in their adulthood.

In Africa, parents are seen as gods and goddesses. They are considered to be next to God. Their ability to procreate comes with power, thus being the most perfect people. To a child, this means no cautioning or questioning your parent and you have to take in whatever is being served, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I am not saying children have got to do whatever they wish, but as to err is human, parents need to understand they make mistakes that negatively impact their children’s lives forever.

Many toxic parents tend to use the phrase of: “We turned out just fine when our parents did exactly the same to us.”

Lest we forget, hurt people hurt others. They were hurt by their parents and they think that was the best way of parenting, thus creating generational traumas.

This doesn’t mean that I disregard what our grand and great grandparents did to raise our parents. I do appreciate it but still there are negative patterns that can be dropped and amended to save the next generation. Toxicity isn’t generational. It’s a choice. You can choose better.

Elizabeth Nakayenga,



0 #1 Lakwena 2023-03-16 08:02
Fred, the whole truth, nothing but the truth is that: mass failure in academic performance in our schools, is not only limited to Biology, but all subjects.

In other words, knowledge (science) is supposed to be holistic. which is why at O Level; we are supposed to have had a gleam/grasped and learnt all the basics in all Subjects.

The biggest problem in Uganda and Africa at large is the lack of "Philosophy of Education" (what is Education made of?). Unless we get that right, let's not blame learners.

Otherwise, there is no such a thing as: some subjects are more/less important than others, and/or more difficult/easier than others. All depend on the teachers and the method of delivery.
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0 #2 Lakwena 2023-03-16 08:17
The misfortune in Uganda today is that: under the current regime, education/learning has been segregated, bastardized into opportunistic superstition. As a result Ugandans no longer have schools and teachers.

E.g., how can a homeless, hungry, haggard teacher in rags, have the self-respect to stand in front of his multitude (over 100) of pupil/students equally hungry and in rags of a class teach?

Without a decent Lab, equipment/instruments and reagents; how can one meaningfully teach e.g Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spots, Music, etc.?

At all levels, up to the Universities; what we have as schools and teachers, are but a gamble and the shadows of what education is supposed to be. Hence a corrupt (broken), desperate and a dysfunctional people and country.
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