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August 16, 2013

Uganda: Combatting Relativism by Rewriting National Curriculum

By Godfrey Kyazze

Recently in Uganda there has been an emerging voice on educational institutions to emphasize ‘ethics’ in their educational endeavours. This is springing from the realization that corruption has become rampant in the country. The government is trying to put up institutions to curb it but the plague does not seem to go away.

I find this confusing because on one hand we are looking at things like corruption as ‘evils’ and saying that we need to address them; on the other hand we are buying into ideologies like “truth is relative.” The education spectrum in Uganda has not been spared by this notion of relativism either. All schools in Uganda, whether private or public, teach our children that Truth is Relative. At the same time we are telling them that corruption is evil! What exactly are we saying?

I attended a workshop recently on ‘Curriculum and Learning’ in our capital city of Kampala. The facilitator of the event, a commissioner in the Ministry of Education, answered a participants’ question by saying that “truth is relative.” I was very shocked to hear that from him. Just prior to this comment, he had led the participants through a discussion on how the national goals of education could be achieved through the national curriculum. It baffled my understanding to hear someone talking about goals of education—which mention things like enhancing national unity, morals and ethics—and simultaneously believing that there is no absolute truth. If truth is relative, it makes me wonder how we can then enhance things like unity, morals and ethics. Relative truth means that even what you call unity, morals or ethics is also relative. Everyone will define what they want as truth. We do not have the authority to say that corruption is a moral evil in a society where there is no absolute truth. Otherwise, by what standard would one judge what is evil and right?

I know I am saying this from a Ugandan context, but for countries like ours, these are notions that have spread to us from the west. My appeal is to families everywhere, especially those who educate their children based on the never changing truth—God’s word. We must stand strong against this far-reaching belief. It is for this reason that we in Uganda are embarking on the task of re-defining our education through re-writing the national curriculum to reflect a Biblical worldview.

Godfrey and Olga Kyazze are homeschoolers in Uganda and curriculum writers. Send them an email.

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