J. D. Chesswas

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John Douglas Chesswas (born 1919) is a British author, linguist and policy advisor. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the Pioneer Corp during World War II. He was a pioneer in the development of Luganda language orthography, held a high post in the colonial government of the day, and worked as a leading educational evaluation theorist for programmes in the developing world.

Orthography of Luganda[edit]

Chesswas is the author of The Essentials of Luganda (1954); the third (1963) and fourth (1967) editions of which are commonly used as a textbook for courses in Luganda language.[1][2][3][4]

Chesswas was employed by the Luganda Language Board as a teacher of Luganda when, in 1949, the Government for the Uganda Protectorate began to offer free courses in Luganda to any officer wishing to take up the study. Recognising the lack of teachers in the language, Chesswas took the opportunity to publish a textbook for stations where no teachers of the language were available. Chesswas cites Sir Apolo Kagwa's Engero z’Abaganda and Michael B. Nsimbi's Olulimi Olugand as his major sources, and acknowledges Nsimbi as his primary aid in developing the text.[5]

With Nsimbi, Chesswas went on to produce An explanation of the Standard Orthography of Luganda; first written for The Eagle Press in 1958,[6] and published as a book in 1963, with second, third and fourth (1985) editions.[7][8]

Educational evaluation[edit]

Chesswas spent 19 years in the education service of Uganda, predominantly as Provincial Education Officer, Buganda, and finally as Officer in Charge of the Educational Planning Unit within the Ministry of Education. He was subsequently appointed to the staff of the International Institute of Educational Planners, where, as a theorist in the field of educational evaluation, he authored a number of important books and articles, collaborating with other notable theorists such as Raymond Lyons, Jacques Hallak and John Vaizey.[9][10]

Chesswas's works include:[11]

  • Changing the existing educational system: some basic implications for the educational planner (1966)
  • Educational planning and development in Uganda (1966)
  • Productivity and the teacher (1967)
  • Educational structures in English-speaking developing countries in Africa (1967)
  • The Costing of educational plans (1967), with John Vaizey
  • Methodologies of educational planning for developing countries (1968)
  • Are there really too many teachers? (1970)
  • Planning and implementation of educational development within governmental and educational administration: Uganda (1970)
  • Tanzania: factors influencing change in teachers' basic salaries (1972)
  • Uganda: behaviour of non-teacher recurring expenditure (1972), with Jacques Hallak
  • Educational development: Pakistan (1974)
  • Planning the distribution of primary educational services: Trinidad and Tobago - (mission) 10–21 March 1975
  • Prospects for educational development: Barbados - (mission) (1977), with Everard, Kimmins & Taylor


  1. ^ University of Cambridge Language Centre: Luganda
  2. ^ University of Wisconsin–Madison: National African Language Resource: Materials for Distribution
  3. ^ Electronic Bibliography for African Languages and Linguistics, Jouni Filip Maho, 2007
  4. ^ Michigan State University: African Languages Database: The Essentials of Luganda
  5. ^ Chesswas, J. D. (1954); The Essentials of Luganda
  6. ^ Review of An Explanation of the Standard Orthography of Luganda, A. N. Tucker, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Apr., 1959), p. 208
  7. ^ Michigan State University: African Languages Database: Ebinnyonnyola empandiika y'Oluganda entongole (4th edition)
  8. ^ Buganda.com: A Primer on Speaking and Writing Luganda
  9. ^ Chesswas & Vaizey (1967), The Costing of Educational Plans
  10. ^ Chesswas (1966), Educational Planning and Development in Uganda
  11. ^ UNESCO: Documents and Publications: Chesswas, John