By Bright Malenga
The Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU) has applied to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to approve a programme on Cultural Heritage with the view to admitting students on the same in the next academic year, The Sunrise has exclusively learnt.
This was revealed by Isa Ssekanyo the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science during the Public lecture on Cultural Heritage that was organised by Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU) in Partnership with IUIU last week.
Currently, the study of Cultural Heritage is a course unit offered at IUIU
Ssekanyo said upgrading the course unit into a full programme that will result into the awarding of a Bachelors Degree in Cultural Heritage, will help to promote and preserve Ugandan languages. He added that the 3-year course will also help to create awareness about culture and the challenges that surround its conservation and preservation.
“The Programme is important because it will help local people to understand the relevance of preserving their culture like local languages among the people,” Ssekanyo said.
The public lecture was organised under the theme: “The Role of Language In Intangible Cultural Heritage Preservation and Transmission.”
Dr Ambrose Nakiwala, the Keynote Speaker at the event said that it is mandatory for every Ugandan to speak their mother tongue if their culture is to be preserved.
“Each language is complete and no language is inferior to the other. If you want a language to be preserved make it relevant and the young people will be eager to learn it,” she said
Dr. Nakiwala added that: “Let your students go to school and learn in English and when they come back home, tell them interesting stories in local languages. Sit with them, talk to them, storytelling is what everybody loves.”
The proposal follows a UNESCO funded joint research project that was conducted by a number of lecturers’ from four universities in 2017, which indicated that Uganda was still deficient in cultural issues and heritage conservation compared to countries like Kenya.
UNESCO came up with an idea of bringing together the four universities in order to revive the cultural heritage in Uganda.
The research was conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Kyazike, Dr, Robert Ojambo and Stella Wadiru (Kyambongo), Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, Estellian Namutebi (Uganda Martyrs University), Dr. Benjamin Ajal Ayub Namigugu (IUIU), Dr. Allen Babagura, Prof. Caleb Tanwesigire, Lillian Tindyebwa (Kabale university).
While addressing students at the public lecture last year, Dr. Kyazike revealed that Uganda had very many institutions that were offering cultural heritage within their curriculum without having heritage as a stand-alone program of its own.
Dr. Benjamin Ajal, one of a lecturer of IUIU who also participated in the study said that cultural heritage had got some key components which include Culture, Cultural tourism and Environmental issues among others.
The other three universities that were selected to champion the promotion of Intangible cultural heritage in the country are Uganda Martyrs University, Kyambogo University and Kabale University.