Concept Note for the Centre for Basic Research 2018-2019 Monthly Expert Seminars on Critical Civic Education Issues in Uganda
Centre for Basic Research (CBR) has received funding from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) to implement a project titled: ‘Strengthening Evidence-based Democratic Governance Agenda Setting and Engagement by Civil Society in Uganda’, to be implemented from 1 June 2018 to 31 December 2020. The primary focus of the planned project is knowledge production, management, and dissemination. This will be achieved through a three-pronged strategy.
The first strategy is undertaking research on pertinent civic education thematic areas, analysis of primary and secondary data generated and appropriately packaging and disseminating the findings of the various researches, via different kinds of publications, media events and activities tailored to inform democratic governance agendas and interventions by DGF Implementing Partners (IPs) and other civil society actors engaged in civic education aimed at enhancing citizen engagements with government as their primary undertaking.
The second strategy is establishing an elaborate documentation of published and unpublished literature on the broad agenda of civic education that is relevant to the promotion of democratic governance around the intervention areas of DGF’s civic education partners, for use as reference materials during current and future studies and researches on emerging civic education dynamics on the basis of which lessons can be learnt and best practices inferred.
The third strategy, which complements compliments media activities, is to encourage continuous online interactive debates on different thematic issues regarding civic education not only to raise civic awareness and competencies, but also to solicit for and respond to citizens’ views on pertinent civic education issues from the public domain, as a way to engender greater citizen participation in democratic processes based on an increased understanding and acceptance of their rights and responsibilities.
The entry point for CBR in undertaking these civic education activities is the comprehensive review of civic education in Uganda, which is underway. The field data collection carried out using participatory research methods involving wide stakeholder participation in 20 districts selected from all regions of the country has been completed and data analysis is being undertaken. The comprehensive review study will contribute to our understanding of not only how civic education has been conceptualized by state and non-state actors, but also how it has been organized and delivered, as well as the impact it has had over the years. It will also reveal community perspectives regarding critical civic education issues in the selected districts of the country. The findings of the comprehensive review will not only inform but are also being complemented by planned Monthly Expert Seminars on critical civic education issues in Uganda.
- The Purpose of Monthly Expert Seminars on Civic Education
The Monthly Expert Seminars on critical civic education issues in Uganda are considered as an important avenue for the convergence between theories and the practices of civic education in Uganda in general. The Expert Seminars provide opportunities for civic education practitioners to engage with emerging issues from on-going researches to understand not only the contribution to the deepening of democratic governance discourse of the civic education that has been undertaken so far by state and non-state actors, its approaches, delivery mechanisms and impact, but also the intellectual debates on the appropriateness of the civic knowledge generated in which are embodied the country’s core values and principles, to civic competencies and dispositions.
The Monthly Expert Seminars provide an interactive platform for researchers, academics, policymakers and the general public to continue with the debates on the practical necessities of how civic education can become a better vehicle for providing citizens with skills and tools with which to enter the marketplace of ideas to engage in a deliberative process in which ideas of the democracy we desire are as a country are discussed openly and truthfully to generate a minimum consensus.
These Monthly Expert Seminars therefore enable those who are involved to think beyond their current political, occupational, intellectual and cultural dispositions in order to engage in critical inquiry into broader issues of the conceptualization of civic education, the structural constraints in civic education pedagogy, including its approaches and strategies as a way to understand how to do democracy in ways that strengthen citizenship. In other words, the Monthly Expert Seminars are aimed at influencing the democratic governance processes by enhancing the responsiveness of government to needs of citizens through continuous constructive dialogue and engagements.
- Topic for Discussions during Monthly Expert Seminar
As an intellectual undertaking, these Monthly Expert Seminars are Centre for Basic Research’s quest to re-problematize the engagement of the democratic governance agenda in the country as undergirded by a nuanced understanding of civic education. The 1st Expert Seminar was held at the Centre for Basic Research at 15 Baskerville Avenue, Kololo, on 26 July 2018. The keynote address was delivered by the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) on the subject: ‘The Challenges of Implementing Civic Education in Uganda’. The 2nd Monthly Expert Seminar on Civic Education was held on 20 September 2018 and focused on discussions on Political tolerance following the violence in parts of the country in the wake of events that happened in the aftermath of the hotly contested Arua Municipality bye-elections titled: ‘Condemn Bobi Wine’s beating minus roughing up Bebe Cool: Civic education and Political Tolerance’. It was delivered by Mr. Bernard Tabaire, the Director of Programmes at the Africa Centre for Media Excellence. The 3rd Monthly Expert Seminar on Civic Education was held on 30th October 2018. The Keynote speaker was Mr. Robert Kalundi-Serumaga, a media Consultant, Journalist, Filmmaker and Cultural Activist whose presentation was titled “Refashioning Uganda’s Political Dispensations: Civic Education and Building a Democratic Tradition”. The 4th Monthly Expert Seminar on Civic Education was held on the 28th November 2018. The keynote speaker was Mr. Jonah J. Bakalikwira Assistant Commissioner, in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance addressing “The role of the Directorate of National Guidance in advancing the contribution of civic education yo Uganda’s Democratic governance agenda“.The 5th Monthly Expert Seminar on Civic Education was held at CBR seminar room on the 12th December 2018.The keynote address on the topic : “The Ugandan Elite and Patriotism: What can be done differently to build a stronger democratic tradition in Uganda” was Ms. Beatrice Bananuk and the two discussants were: Mr. John Ssenkumba, Research Fellow CBR and Prof. Ndebesa Mwambutsya, Makerere University.The 7th Monthly Expert Seminar on Civic Education was held on the 28th February 2019. The keynote address of the topic was : “Understanding the paradox of civic deficit multitudes of Civic Education initiatives in Uganda: A curriculum perspective of Civic Education. ” and it was delivered by Prof. Ndebesa Mwambutsya ; a re-known social an political analyst and research fellow at the Centre for Basic Research.The 8th Monthly Expert Seminar was held on March 28, 2019 and focused on the topic: ‘Civic Education, National Integration and the Buganda Question: Reflections from the Book: ‘Protection, Patronage or Plunder?’. The keynote speech was delivered by Owek. Apollo Nelson Makubuya, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Attorney General, Buganda Kingdom.
The April 2019 seminar is aimed at raising civic awareness and consciousness of the challenges we face in practicing the democracy that we practice, and how we can begin to have conversations on how to make the most of what we have, but also think of doing better in building a stronger democracy that works for all citizens without any exceptions. A Keynote address titled: ‘The Challenges of Contemporary Democratic Institutions, Traditions and Practices: What is the way-forward for Uganda?’ will be delivered by Rtd. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, Founding Party President, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), and former President, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Political Party. The seminar will be held on Thursday April 25, 2019, at Centre for Basic Research, Plot 15 Baskerville Avenue, Kololo, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided to all participants.