School Physics better in Uganda or in Canada?


We have to celebrate our stunning success in Uganda’s School Science Standards – specifically Physics, and Chemistry not far behind. Teachers, Parents, Watoto, etc.. we should all march in a ticker-tape celebratory parade along Kampala Road for this success after an effort of forty years.

Also as I have stated several times we are ahead of Canada at least in School Physics.

On the surface, even to me, that kind of claim seems outrageous; even silly.

But here are the facts:-

In 1964 or thereabout President Milton Obote, out of the blue and with no prior public debate, outlawed the Imperial System of Units and Measures and ushered in the UNESCO (Metric) MKS System. He did it “Cold turkey” !! All the old Al-mizane were collected for scrap metal.

The law that Dr Obote made had a very stiff sentence: Luzira for any saboteur caught selling, say meat, there in Nakasero Market using the old Al-minzane of lbs (pounds).

To look at it now we should thank our beloved Dr Obote for pulling us out of barbarism into civilization.

(I have since fallen in love with the Acholi kids who at height of tribulations still were so clear in their speech regarding Units- how far they had walked, the time it took, the speed- in km per hour…………beautiful kids those Acholi kids. They make me very proud.)

We also note that a year or so later after Obote’s move the then British PM Edward Heath copied Obote and introduced MKS in Britain.

Soon after Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trdeau also made the Metric System the Law of Canada. But unlike Uganda Canadians never accepted the MKS System.

To the peril of children they vehemently rejected it.

And unlike Obote Trudeau could not force them at the point of a gun.
Trudeau accomplished so much for Canada but the Metric System proved his Achilles heel.

The compromise was to use both systems simultaneously. And that was the tragedy. The two are incompatible and many kids end up mastering neither. Even worse at the basic psychic level the Imperial System becomes destructive “noise” to the Metric.

And this is serious stuff. If you set 250 as the temperature of a Boiler it really matters whether it is 250 deg C or 250 deg F.

If you look through the Canada Grade Thirteen (equivalent Uganda’s S.6) School Textbook you would agree with me that it is just trash. I never keep this book at my place. I always toss it into the garbage bin.

Where Canada beats us is in Maths.

Indeed there is no Maths in Uganda. None at all. That is why even our success in Physics is meaningless.

In the 1960’s Uganda had Double Maths. Today Uganda’s Maths is below General Science.

It has even been made subordinate to the fleeting fad of so-called IT. ( Physics, Chemistry and IT are now compulsory at Budo. Maths is not even mentioned, imagine the shame)

So folks, this is a partial explanation why Uganda’s School Physics/Science is a higher grade to Canada’s. Just partial.

Mitayo Potosi.

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