Literature in English

About the Subject

The teaching of Literature in English dates as far back as in the 1950s when the East African and Malaysian Cambridge Syndicate.  At that time, there were three papers with the first being English Literature which focused on Shakespearean Literature, the second on prose and poetry and the third paper on other Literature.  1970 saw the formation of the East African Examination Council which combined the three papers into one paper with different sections.  This paper code named 208/1 remained so even when the East African Council was dissolved, and Uganda National Examinations Board was born in 1980.

In 1992 an attempt was made to integrate English Language and Literature in English.  This was because the two subjects were seen as compatible.  The argument was that in order to give the language skills their most meaningful practical and relevant application while giving the learners the necessary tools for full exploitation and creation of literature, there was need to see the integral parts of both subjects.  English language and Literature in English as a single subject.

Although the Integrated English language Syllabus is now in existence, the teaching of Literature in English as a separate subject has also continued hence the need for the teaching syllabus.


Purpose of Teaching Literature in English

  • It has been noted in various for a that there is a poor reading culture in Uganda.  This has largely contributed to the decline in the standards of oral and written communication.  As a result many Ugandans are unable to access both oral and written information.  Literature in English can reserve the situation since it provides a wide range and rich exposure to a limitless variety of reading materials.
  • Lack of effective communication skills has affected the quality of human interaction and information flow, Literature in English offers a rich means by which literary and linguistic skills can be imparted to the learners to enable them communicate more effectively.
  • Oral literature has for long been ignored in the formal Secondary Education System.  Yet it is taught at primary and tertiary levels.  There is therefore need to bridge this gap by introducing the teaching of oral literature at secondary level.
  • Written literature is expressed mainly through three genres of poetry, drama and prose.  These genres employ language figuratively and creatively.  This stimulates and enables the learner to appreciate aesthetic, moral and linguistic values.
  • Literature provides an opportunity for the learners to appreciate their own cultural heritage and that of others. 
  • Literature in English enables individuals to develop life skills and values such as problem solving, conflict management, information gathering, negotiation, decision making, critical thinking, tolerance, sharing, respect, self esteem and confidence.
  • Literature gives an individual an all round education.  This it equips the individual with cognitive, effective and psychomotor skills.



Aims of Teaching Literature in English

In the course of the four years, this syllabus will be used to:

  1. Encourage and promote the reading and writing culture.
  2. Assist the learners to appreciate a variety of Literature, both indigenous and foreign.
  3. Introduce the secondary school learner to the rich field of Oral Literature.
  4. Enable the learner to appreciate differences across the various genres of Literature.
  5. Develop the learner’s ability to communicate more effectively and creatively through speech and writing.
  6. Develop the learner’s literary skills of comprehension, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, application and organization which can be used in other disciplines.
  7. Assist the learner to create works of literature in form of poems, prose and drama.
  8. Assist the learner to respond to specific oral and written texts meaningfully.
  9. Lay a foundation and prepare the learner for further academic and career pursuits.
  10. Enable the learner to develop critical thinking, understanding and appreciation of human nature and human behavior.


 Ordinary Level Literature Set Books 2015 - 20120

O level Literature set books have been changed with effect from 2015 with the new S.3 Students.

New books for teaching Literature in English (2015 – 2020)

Section A


Betrayal in the City                                   by        Francis Imbuga


The Merchant of Venice                            by        William Shakespeare


Carcase for Hounds                                  by        Meja Mwangi


The Alien Woman                                     by       Laury Lawrence Ocen


Section B

The Government Inspector                        by       Nicol Gogol

Voice of the People                                   by       Okiya Omatatah Okoiti

The Cowrie of Hope                                  by       Binwell Sinyangwe

The Curse of the Sacred Cow                     by       Mary Karoro Okurut

Mema                                                      by       Daniel Mengara




Growing up with Poetry                            by        David Rubadiri


An Anthology of East African Poetry           by        A.D. Amateshe


Please note that the set books for Luganda will remain as they have been.