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Mindset education as a curriculum

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Prof . Jang Saeng Kim, a professor of RC Convergence at Yonsei University, Korea presenting the findings of the viability of  the Mindset Education in Kampala recently. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE

Makerere University School of Psychology says they have sent to the University Senate, for approval, a new curriculum on mindset education before it goes to the University Council to pass it for implementation.

Speaking at a recent consultative conference for feedback on the Korean Mindset education and its application in Uganda, Prof Florence Nsubuga, an associate professor at the School of Psychology and the coordinator of programmes, said they have already done a pilot study with psychology students and they are reflecting on a few things to change the programme, which is already before the Senate for approval.

“We want to customise the examples being used and the methodology. We will use Ugandan history for students to do deep-thinking. All students who join Makerere University, both undergraduate and graduates must study mindset education. This is the way you perceive things, your attitude, and the way you react to things around you,” she said.

She explained that there are two types of mindsets; the flexible growth mindset which can handle and manage feedback, and it is transformational and the fixed mindset where a person feels threatened by challenges, tends to think from the surface, cannot analyse solutions, and cannot create positive impacts to society.

Asked what they mean by Mindset Education, Prof Peter Baguma, a professor in the school and who also initiated a memorandum of understanding between the School of Psychology and the International Youth Federation Seoul, South Korea to implement the mindset Curriculum for Makerere University, said this is a programme to uplift the social economic conditions of Uganda.

“As a nation, we are educating Ugandans to leave their old ways of doing things which are not helpful. We want people to adopt new ways of thinking, behaving and developing positive attitudes for transformation. We have suffered a long time with old ideas. We shall be a first world if Ugandans appreciate this,” he said.

Asked why Kyankwanzi, which was created as a mindset training centre has failed to achieve its purpose, he said academicians branded it as a centre where NRM indoctrinates Ugandans with its ideologies, and yet its original intention was to make it a centre for transforming behaviour, attitudes, and ensuring Ugandans develop the same vision of building Uganda through attitude change and fighting behaviours such as corruption, which hinder development.

Prof Jang Saeng Kim, a professor of RC Convergence at Yonsei University Korea, told the government to stop asking other countries to implement mindset education in Uganda.

“South Korean mindset training can be a model, but it must be Ugandans to plan, prepare and implement it. Third, mindset education must be everywhere; homes, schools, farms, streets and all places where mindset education is practiced. It is important to educate the mind, body and soul at the same time,” he said.

He explained that the reason the Korean Model of Mindset education cannot apply to Uganda is that the Korean model is based on a Confucian philosophical system that has been a decisive factor in shaping the mindset of East Asia.

He explained that whereas he could not delve into the depth of the Confucian philosophy, he could summarise the background to the rise of mindset education in three ways; first self-cultivation, which is the core value of Confucianism.

“Social, political and cultural activities and achievements are all based on self-cultivation which is fundamental for human beings to follow. Self-cultivation means to wash away self-centred greed and desire transforming us from animal instincts into social and relational human beings,” he said.

He added that this has been the political, social and cultural ideology of Korea since the 14th century and continues to strongly influence Koreans to this day because the Confucian answer is to practice religious, moral ethical values with our bodies because the body, mind and spirit are not separate from each other.

He emphasised that for Uganda to achieve a fundamental change, Ugandans should embrace mindset education, which is when visible economic social and cultural outcomes will be realised. He added that Ugandans should own the education.

Asked why he thinks Ugandans need mindset education, he said the historical and economic background of mindset education in South Korea is not different from that of Uganda. The said colonial experience, civil wars and poverty created a common need for mindset education in both countries, adding that change in civil society must be based on change within itself.