Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7
Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7

16 University academic staff oriented to effectively teach a Bachelor of Cultural Heritage Studies.

University academic staff on a tour to Igongo Cultural Centre and Museum

In 2017 the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda embarked on a journey to introduce heritage education in institutions of higher learning with a UNESCO-funded 2-year project which resulted in Cultural Heritage Studies being introduced in 4 Universities. The universities include Kabale University, Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi, Kyambogo University and the Islamic University In Uganda – Mbale.

Some of these Universities are reflecting a slowly growing, but noticeable realisation of the importance of the course.  Others are, however, still grappling with the challenges of the marketability of the course and the demonstration of explicit opportunities for future income and/or employment for students. The capacity of university academic staff to design and teach courses on culture – and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in particular – and to project such heritage as a pillar for sustainable development are still major hindrances.

In light of the above challenges, and with renewed support from UNESCO, CCFU organised a 3-day capacity enhancement event for the University academic staff drawn from the 4 universities mentioned above. The training event which took place in Mbarara aimed at enhancing the capacity of the academic staff in charge of the cultural heritage studies to appreciate the value of intangible cultural heritage and its relevance in facilitating the delivery of the bachelor’s degree. It was further aimed at enhancing their capacity to mainstream cultural heritage studies into the universities’ academic programmes especially, in light of the new dynamics in the employment sector. The training did provide opportunities for the participants to discuss and agree on areas for possible collaboration, networking, and partnerships. Some of the practical sessions such as the mapping of cultural resources within the universities and their immediate vicinities provided lessons on how universities can facilitate learners to identify and document cultural heritage sites as part of their research projects.

During the training, Prof. Manuel Muranga from Kabale University emphasised the need to promote tri-lingualism (English, Swahili and local languages) as a way of embracing foreign languages without losing our indigenous languages because they are important vehicles for the transmission of our diverse cultures especially to the young generation.

To appreciate practical interventions of promoting culture in Mbarara, the academic staff visited the Igongo Cultural Centre and Museum to learn about how the museum is providing employment opportunities for local communities; and promoting cultural pluralism and inclusion. They also explored how the museum is providing opportunities for cultural heritage transmission for young people.

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