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April 26, 2012

Homeschoolers Undertake Herculean Task of Rewriting National Curriculum

By Godfrey and Olga Kyazze

My wife and I were newly married. We visited friends of ours, a slightly older couple, one evening. In our conversation we talked about home schooling. At the time, they were in a desperate situation. They had tried to home school their seven-year-old daughter, and it did not seem to be working for them. Firstly, they said it was difficult for them to access curriculum which could only be accessed from the US. Secondly, they told us of how they tried to enrol their daughter in one of the few true Christian schools in the country, which also uses an American home school curriculum, but they had been asked for two thousand dollars per term. A school year in Uganda has three terms. This would translate into over six thousand dollars per year for a seven-year-old girl to afford a true Christian education system in Uganda! To this day those figures still ring in my mind, and I still recall that conversation with this couple whom we visited about five years ago

The Kyazze family

At that time Olga and I were barely a year in marriage. Of course we were already discussing education for our children when God blessed us with some. And we were considering home schooling the children God would put into our hands. This was because we had come to believe that the mandate to educate a child is primarily the parents’ role. But also we had come to believe that true education should be Biblical in worldview. And here we were that the available curricula were not only very expensive but also foreign in context. It is here that God started us off on a journey to figure out how we could put together a curriculum which is both Biblical in its outlook, contextualized to meet the national needs, and also accessible by anyone who would wish to use it in the country of Uganda. The curriculum would also be recognizable by our national universities, unlike the foreign curricula available, whose products cannot be admitted in our universities. Most home schooled students currently opt for universities in the US, UK and South Africa. I am not against studying abroad; however, my point is that very few Ugandans can afford this type of education though everyone needs it.

To cut a long story short, we started on the journey of looking for all kind of resources that would enable us to re-work the Ugandan National Curriculum to a Biblical perspective. And by God’s grace in a period of two years, we have already re-worked our High School History, Bible and Biology curricula to a Biblical perspective, and they are already being experimented on both by some home school families and Christian schools. They meet the entire national goals of education over and above, so that we are not worried about the students’ performance when it comes to examination. This is a critical matter in a country like Uganda where education is very examination-oriented. We have also embarked on engaging the government education officials so to advocate for both home schooling and Christian education as viable alternatives in our national educational framework. It all sounds so overwhelming but at the same time exciting. We definitely crave your prayers and encouragement and any other support that anyone can offer us in Uganda.

Godfrey and Olga Kyazze live in Uganda with their two children. Send them an email.