Government suffocating critical thinking – dons

Makerere University dons have criticised government’s move to support sciences against humanities, saying it is suffocating critical thinking among the populace.

Speaking at a dialogue, Mr Mwalimu Bukenya and Dr Arthur Gakwandi described as “barbaric” the political and public perceptions that humanities and social sciences courses are of old age and cannot be at the centre of development, an argument government used to scrap off scholarships to these courses.

The two retired literature lecturers asserted that both Science and Arts courses should be given equal treatment.

“It is a violation of our right to education, self expression; our right to choice…the generalisation that humanities don’t create jobs is not true. Look at the faith industry, the fastest growing industry, certainly every week, a new church is coming up and whenever, a church opens, there is a pastor, assistant pastor, you have a choir, ushers,” Mr Bukenya said at the weekend.
He asked the government to stop yielding to pressure from international donors who discourage critical thinking courses like literature.

Mr Bukenya said the government shouldn’t encourage producing ‘robotic scientists’ who can’t critically question issues such as giving away mineral resources, land or formulating policies on friendly scientific technologies. These, the professors, say will accelerate  neocolonialism.

“Because they (donors) know that technical people know how to do things but can’t ask provocative questions, they can’t be critical thinkers, that is why they train them,” he said.

Prof Gakwandi said civil servants and politicians keep advising youths to create jobs yet they have held onto power and public offices for years.

“Politicians used to say to the youth to go back to farming, now the same leaders are saying they want to create job creators not job seekers. These are people who have held public offices for over 30 years and they don’t want to leave. They are now telling young people to create theirs.”