Music Teacher Training Project in Uganda: Final Report on the Pilot Study

Our exploratory pilot study on the current practices and ways forward in the field of music education in Uganda took place from September 2017 to March 2018. During this time, we collected a vast sample of data from education professionals in Uganda, and conducted a thorough literature review on music education in the country. The exploratory approach enabled us to remain open-minded and with explored the issue with curiosity.

The main findings highlighted the evident discrepancy between the very musical culture across Uganda and the lack of and poor standard of music education found in schools. One would think that a country with such rich musical traditions would place emphasis on ensuring that the younger generations are educated in the field; however, what we discovered is that locals want to learn practical musical skills, yet schools fail to deliver music to a high enough standard. Further findings were a lack of national monitoring and assessment in music, as well as teachers feeling poorly qualified to teach the subject.

Moreover, a significant finding was that there is a need for professional musicians across the country, as live musical performances take place daily in all sorts of cultural functions ranging from school ceremonies to funeral. The fact that the younger generation are not learning practical musical skills in school is resulting in there being a growing void of professional musicians. At the same time, unemployment and poverty amongst the youth are increasing. This indicates that the young could be trained in practical musical skills in order to assist them in finding employment as musicians and avoiding falling into poverty.

We are currently seeking further funding for building a larger-scale project on the basis of the findings. The intention of the bigger project would be to trial training teachers in music and piloting a new improved music education curriculum. As part of the project, awareness of workshops on choosing music s a career would also be piloted.

For a full report on the findings from the first study, please see:

file:///C:/Users/Hp/AppData/Local/Temp/Temp1_Post-doc%20Report.zip/PostdocReport.html

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Music Education in Uganda: What Next?

Our research team in the UK and in Uganda has been focused on finalizing our exploratory study on the current practices of music education in primary school in Uganda. Our research team member who is a primary school teacher trainer at the Kyambogo University (the main primary school teacher training college in Uganda)gathered data from various schools and teachers in different parts of the country. Our survey was well-received and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part!

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The main findings of the study reveal that there is significant and vast differences between teachers and schools as to how and if they teach music. A great number of teachers lack the skills to teach the subject altogether, whilst in other schools, it is taught but often sidelined by other subjects such as Maths and English. The responses highlighted the fact that teachers lacked knowledge of the importance of music education and,subsequently, didn’t feel it important to include in their teaching practice on regular basis.

Yet, there was a strong consensus of music being a significant and crucial part of Ugandan culture and all participants reported that they would like to improve the status of music education in primary schools.

A further very significant finding was that a career in music was seen as a potentially lucrative way of finding employment for the young who are unemployed. All the respondents stated that training musically could bring self-employment for the young, as musicians were all the time needed for cultural functions such as weddings, church ceremonies, sporting events and the like.

The full findings of the study will be published as an academic article soon and also as a report that will be shared with government officials.

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On the basis of the findings of the study, the research team has put together a proposal for a larger-scale project that would aim to train teachers on teaching music and to develop an improved music education curriculum for primary school. The team will be working closely with the Kyambogo university and local government officials. More details to follow soon!

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Where Do We Work in Uganda? Regions and areas covered…

Uganda is not the biggest country on the continent of Africa, but still it covers a fairly large area of the East part of the continent. Our music school and consultancy is based in Kampala, the capital, which is in the central region of the country, conveniently located on the shores of Lake Victoria and near Entebbe International airport.

Over the years, we have done much work in the Eastern region of the country, close to the Kenyan border near Mount Elgon. At the moment, this part of the country is not developing as fast as the Western part due to tribal issues and the tribes from the West dominating in politics, further leasing to the marginalization of Eastern tribes.

Our consultancy work has also spread to the norther parts of the country, which has suffered under military occupation and been much affected by the instability on the other side of the border in Sudan. We are pleased that our schools books and teacher training materials have brought some joy to this region whilst improving educational standards.

Below you can find the map of Uganda that shows the different regions that we work in.

map of uganda

National Curriculum at Schools in Uganda

As part of our current research project, we have been learning about the National Curriculum in Uganda. It is different to the model that we follow in Europe. It is based on a Curriculum Wheel that consists of eight Learning Areas. The Areas cover subject knowledge, but also general skills such as creative thinking and workplace behaviour.

Being a prominently Christian country, Religious education features in all primary and secondary schools. In addition to the usual subjects of language, science, mathematics, social science and physical education with creative arts, something called Life Education forms a part of the curriculum. This section focuses on life skills such as living healthily in the community and taking care of one’s personal health.

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Interestingly for us since we are specifically looking at music education in Uganda, music has been classed under Physical Education. What this entails is something that we are currently finding out and conducting a survey on current practices taking place – we will be sharing the interesting findings soon! In the meantime, you can learn more about the National Curriculum on the website of the National Curriculum Development Centre:

http://www.ncdc.go.ug/

New School Term in Uganda

New term at our school in Uganda has got off to a good start. Children at the Mother Ann nursery school and music students at the Buna School of Music have been busy with their new lessons and curriculum for the autumn term, which is also their last term of the year since, in Uganda, the school year runs from January to November.

Nursery Kids Visit to the Zoo & Wildlife Centre

The Mother Ann Nursery kids visited Entebbe zoo and wildlife centre in Uganda last week. This has become a yearly trip to them and it is a rare opportunity for them to leave their home surroundings in Kampala. As you can see from the photos, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day out.

Mulago Development Group

Our school and consultancy in Kampala, Uganda, has been working in partnership with Mulago Development Group. The group provides education and health care to children in Ghana and Uganda. Their ethos is that no matter anyone’s background, everyone has the same right to a good life.

You can find more detailed information on the group on their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/SustainableDevelopmentCommunity/about/?ref=page_internal

A few weeks ago, the group rescued a baby girl who had been abandoned by her parents and left in a pit by a road. She has been doing well whilst being looked after by members of the group . Generous donation from our European supporters have helped to get basic food and clothes for her. At the moment she is receiving treatment for malaria, which is still a very common illness across Africa. Any donations towards her treatment and other basics are much appreciated – please get in touch with the group via their facebook page in regard to this.

Here you can see her sweet face and what an adorable girl she is despite the tough start to life!

A Perfect Travel Blog to Follow

If anyone is looking for an inspiring and truthful travel blog to follow, here is the perfect one to read! Written by our friend and fellow volunteer, she provides you with a truthful account on a young lady travelling and volunteering abroad:
https://days-of-adventure.co.uk/2016/12/30/the-first-time-i-travelled-solo/comment-page-1/#comment-638