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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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:
Our consultancy in Kampala, Uganda, is busy designing, writing and printing out study books for the holiday season. In Uganda, pupils are taking their end of school year exams in November and then, in the end of the month, they start their long Christmas break lasting around 7 weeks. In January, they start the next school year.
Many pupils do not have much to do over the holidays apart from helping their families. This is why many of them want to attend holiday schools that are offered in many schools and study independently from books. However, access to the appropriate books is scarce, in particular in the more rural areas. At the same time, kids often get in trouble (such as bad crowds, girls falling pregnant, boys getting into fights…) in the countryside when they do not have much to do. This is why our consultancy is currently making study books for kids that can then be distributed to different schools and given to kids before they break off for the long holiday.