What you need to know:
- Science in isolation of the Arts is certainly like a person devoid of a personality.
There has been plenty of grandstanding on the issue of Arts teachers’ salaries.
Our Members of Parliament, always ready to err on the side of indiscretion, have called on government to treat all teachers equally following the increment in the salaries for Science teachers in public schools.
Also, members of the public have termed the lopsided increment of salaries in favour of Science teachers discriminatory. They agree that increments should be across the board, and thereby the soul of fairness.
However, development is not about fairness, this is a by-product, it is about the pragmatism which comes with cutting your coat according to your cloth. Anything else is surplus to our national requirements.
That said, we need to ask ourselves why government favours Science teachers over Arts teachers. The answer may be found not in the importance of Science teachers, for they are very important, but in the ignorance of government regarding the importance of Arts teachers.
The importance of the latter is found in what the Arts themselves bring to a nation.
Beyond cultural economy, it is clear to anyone with half a brain that Arts and culture-related industries provide direct economic growth for the State and local communities.
They are essential complements to community development and the enrichment of local possibilities.
Arts and culture create job opportunities, stimulate local economies through consumer purchases and tourism.
Tourism is always based on culture as the Arts thereby contribute to national economic growth by providing revenues therewith.
This creative sector also attracts young people to and sustains them in the contemporary workforce.
Any Arts teacher will tell you this.
Two, and most importantly, cultural and art assets such as museums, theatres et cetera help preserve culture and, in turn, our national identity.
Such assets thus give expression to a Ugandan personality, in echo of what Kwame Nkrumah called the African personality.
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This personality presupposes individuality as individuals are expected to serve their family and community. As a result, the individual also benefits from the overall success of the family and community.
It is this interpenetration which creates a cultural symbiosis leading to a shared interest that is distinctly ours.
Also, other nations are defined not by what they are but who they see themselves as.
This infuses their activities with a purpose to rise up together, as one personality. This begs the question, what is Uganda’s personality?
This question can only be answered through the Arts and how they serve as the matrix of our society by giving free reign to our abilities as reflected by our heritage and history.
Therefore, Science in isolation of the Arts is certainly like a person devoid of a personality revealed by how we store our indigeneity in cultural instruments born of the Arts.
There is, sadly, a force against the creation of a Ugandan personality, and that force is neo-colonialism.
Imperialist forces, of which neo-colonial impulses are subsets, are essentially there to ensure Ugandans are torn personalities who are neither here nor there.
This schizophrenic reality exhibits psychotic features on a national scale such as popular delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thinking (speech), extremely disorganised or abnormal motor behaviour leading to widespread negativity.
If you look at the Ugandan psyche, you will see these symptoms. This is why we never have a united vision as to where we want to take the country and so we tend to self-sabotage through corruption, tribalism.
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The ruling elite is now cementing this state of affairs by separating the importance of Arts from Sciences through giving Science teachers increments and Arts teachers an insult which they call middle income status.
Mr Matogo is a professional copywriter