Makerere University Department of Philosophy together with the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO (UNATCOM) on 17th November ,2022 joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 20th World Philosophy Day with a call for reforms in Uganda’s education system to make Philosophy a cross cutting and compulsory course.
This year’s celebration under the Global theme, “Humans of the Future”. Uganda chose to refine the theme to speak to pressing challenges hence the theme, "Harnessing Philosophy for addressing Uganda’s Development challenges”.
The World Philosophy Day coincided with Makerere University’s celebration of 100 years of existence and service to humanity and offered an opportunity both to celebrate the immense contribution made by Philosophy in understanding the world and to further reflect.
Amidst the ongoing debates on the importance of the Humanities, the debate at this event steered conversation among the academia, government, civil society and the general public on how Philosophy can inform progress in various aspects of individual and national aspirations.
Scholars argued that Uganda has a creativity, anticipation and the empathy gap premised in philosophy and that the humanity and humanism in this country cannot be restored unless the philosophical approach is resustated. Unfortunately, philosophy is taught at higher levels in universities and when people search for courses, philosophy becomes the last opt option not taken as a serious course yet the country needs people to be patriotic, hopeful for the sake of development.
Convening at Makerere University Senate Conference Hall, the celebrants stressed that development cannot be achieved without including philosophy which starts with developing the human mind philosophically so that man is at peace with the environment sustainably.
When young people are in malaise bored in the morning, scholars asserted that you can only harness their strength to work for the development of this country when they have the philosophy and tenets for hope. Philosophy in that regard, brings that hope, critical thinking in humanity that is why philosophy should be a crosscutting course like communication skills, ICT and Ethics.
For example, people are downgrading all the swamps, trees are being cut but people do not think about tomorrow. Shall we teach that in textbooks and examine that? The fact that people do not have the philosophical mind even to think of what they are going to leave for their children and the future generation, is partly the reason humanities scholars say need philosophy in colleges and institutions of higher learning.