Was It Necessary to Change the Name of the Ministry? [opinion]

Last month, the public was taken by surprise when the president suddenly implemented a cabinet reshuffle.

What was lost in the hurried development of proceedings is the fact that the ministry of Education and Sports evolved into the ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports. Indeed, the appointment of a minister of state for Higher Education, Science and Technology confirmed the change.

Whereas it is perceived that those in authority always consult and seek aice before they arrive at some decisions, it is not true that they usually implement other people’s thoughts.

Whether consultative or not, a decision taken can bear either positive or negative effects on human capital development, people’s rational and psycho stature which are prerequisites to ensuring that education as a firm foundation for any nation is properly laid and the numerical strength and relevance of the ministry or education and sports sector appreciated.

Appreciating the sector’s numerical strength requires cognizance of a healthy , structured and candid debate to lead the process to restructuring and realignment as the end point. In comparing a new mandate and name, the Bantu culture of naming a twin father or mother can be taken as a good example. Unless you are a father of twins or triplets, one cannot be “Ssalongo or Nnalongo, Isabarongo or Nyinabarongo.”

Changing from the old name to a new one, “ministry of education science, technology and sports” without clear and proper human and financial resource mobilisation, communication, apportioning and investment in the new entity is synonymous with being called a Ssalongo or Nnalongo without twins. First forward, it is fundamentally clear that Uganda’s education system,

processes and outcomes face a number of challenges ranging from the absence of educational philosophical underpinnings, scattered educational structural thinking and design, and to some extent, a disturbing legal, policy and institutional framework to impromptu nomenclature. Therefore, adding words “Science and Technology” to make a new name of the ministry is not bad but rationally a subject for an urgent and rigorous national debate.

Nationally , the debate is deemed urgent because in Prof Sande Stevens Tikodri, the ministry has received a blessing. However, the transfer of Dr John Chrysosotom Muyingo to the Primary Education docket has attracted debate within the education circles.

Since it is a known fact that naming is fundamental, cultural and a norm strategic to the name holder and the one naming as well, ministries ought to change from one name to another naturally for better to ensure institutional memory , cohesion, discipline and respect for reason in line with realignment and restructuring processes that inform best practices.

For example, in Tooro culture, a pet name is part and parcel of one’s name. A girl cannot have a pet name Apuuli or Araali but can have Akiiki, Abwooli or Amooti, with a reason. Interestingly, Abwooli and Amooti are pet names shared, call it unisex.

For instance, in a name, the order too matters, a lot. It matters for oftentimes, name holders get difficulty in pronouncing their name in the right order as is the case in most meetings these days, ministry of education and sports struggle to introduce themselves when mentioning the full name of their ministry .

Practically, two ministries should be born to ensure relevance, efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of education, sports, science and technology at all levels.

Take it or leave it, the change of face of an individual does not mean that the individual has totally changed, but, rather made a change of one part. Going forward, the public service commission and the education service commission must urgently play a role in guiding the naming and changing of ministries.

Finally, Zimbabwe can be an example for our restructuring process in the education sector because ministries in Zimbabwe are designed as: ministry of education, sports and culture ministry of higher and tertiary education, ministry of science and technology, ministry of youth development, indigenization and empowerment. What an outlook!

The writer is the executive director of the Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association (COUPSTA).

Source : The Observer

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