In the past, the elite fraternity was as small as lions in the whole pride.
Those who managed, went to pursue where to reap in future and majority cared less, others simply ignored and the rest lacked career drives towards the taste of the white man’s culture.
However, it was evident that those who had tested on the white man’s puzzle finder, during those times, were the fountains of prestige, sources of inspiration and the causes of burning sensational desires and ambitions among the folks, to also achieve the noble attainment.
In 1997 and ten years later, the government created a ray of hope to the entire nation as per one of the motives why they shed their bloods in the bush – free and accessible education.
That is worth to be credited, but, did they think about the kinds of products that would emanate their offer?
Those who had been in P.7 when U.P.E was effected, began to complete around 2006 if they proceeded up to university.
So, from 2006 and 2010, I presume, it was when the government would start making a critical survey on whether the Education system was producing a self reliant product of a citizen.
However, given by the “free education” programmes that government implemented for 20 plus years ago, it has become just a norm, a culture, a ritual that each parent or guardian envies their child to attain a certain academic award.
Those parents with less capacity have made all sorts of sacrifices by hook or crook to have an academic award in their house holds. That is good quantitatively, but, has it been good qualitatively?
In Uganda, vocational training is largely undermined. In the last 20 years, it has been assumed as the destination for failures.
Others force themselves on the theoretical vocational and science courses but their instincts are sentimental on offices, matters of policy, leadership and the like.
The government was supposed to put a regulation on theoretical studies the very first time they got the first products of universal access to schools.
Such products would make them judge what was supposed to be fronted and they embark on learner sensitisation.
Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having people graduating engineering and they go in singing, others doing Community Psychology and they end up riding bodabodas.
It is a cry of agony and total absurdity that someone attended school for 16 years, pursued their first class degree, but, that person is looked at as a vulnerable person.
And, that one who completed P.7, went to train tailoring from even an individual trainer, will not be expectant of Shs.100,000/ because he or she has ever received 0.5M on their mobile money account. Now, is that Education for self sustainability?
Recently, the government did the curriculum review.
Yes, we have embraced the move, but, why start it amidst countless loopholes. Schools have no libraries, laboratories are visited conditionally, learning CT knowledge by some teachers is like drinking bitter leaf, teachers themselves are grappling with poor pay, silent corruption in the education sector in unnoticed, school drop out is at the increase, then, COVID 19 has almost multiplied everything by zero?
Where are we heading to?
Uganda economically depends on agriculture. Why is the subject treated with minor emphasis? We actually thought that Agriculture would be made compulsory in the new curriculum because every individual needs food, but, is it the case?
Well, U.PE and USE came, we clapped hands but we are now largely remorseful and the same ordeal, is bound to be the aftermath of the current curriculum change.
Painting a house bright colours amidst a dusty environment is cos 90 in Mathematics. Stakeholders of the system, be informed that every nation is as good as its education system.
The government was blind the day private sector was allowed in the system because it made the sector capitalistic rather than social yet education is a social service.
For the government aided schools, there has been laxity in supervision, corruption is rampant, and going to school has lost meaning among the public.
Going to school in Uganda today, to the majority is like betting where luck is what saves you. Others come out, go to do other things, while others go to school, come out and become prone to negative public opinion.
Surprisingly, someone is keeping a transcript and certificate in their house, but, is also expectantly waiting for Nabbanja’s mobile money message, because they are vulnerable.
In a nutshell, I have not yet seen the government’s effort to make a confident, self reliant, job creator unless the following are done.
1. Completely abolish certain subjects and their topics.
2. Tighten supervision in schools and get rid of being given concocted accountabilities.
3. The Government should study where majority Ugandans are currently earning from and make them key subjects in schools depending on interests and region.
4. Fight corruption seriously. In the past, it was presumed that it was police, the most corrupt, but now, Education is raising the flag. It begins from even class monitor level. Currently, there are schools where capitation grant is swindled and they run the school using the peanuts that students pay. As a result, students are over sent home and they develop negative attitude hence school drop out!
5. Provide learning materials in schools. It defeats my understanding that we learnt Laboratory Preparation of Oxygen in S.2, but, see how lack of oxygen has hit headlines.
6. Regulate establishment of profit oriented private schools, which, compete for results through just cram work and empower government aided schools, pay teachers good salaries and tighten supervision on them that they should not concentrate much on their personal work because what you will be offering them will make them live standardly.
7. Encourage learner guided discovery and let secondary school education be for talent recognition and talent development. 8. Strengthen ICT in schools. Construction of a tarmac road to a school but another one has just one computer and no library, is miserably unfair.
9. The ministry should unveil toll free numbers to be used by even students. Supervisors at lower levels are at times bribed.
10. Have periodic strategic plans.
There should be analysis of the products of each programme implemented.
Once the government agrees with me, we shall not again have a graduate taking back the degree to the university and reclaiming their tuition.
The writer is a teacher of English Language/ Literature