Two weeks ago, Gayaza High School concluded its annual agriculture camp, at which a few schools sent their students to learn and showcase best practices in farming.
What was notable was the lack of extensive media coverage of the event. However, what should worry more people is the shortage of schools interested in this area of learning.
In many schools, children are being crammed full with all sorts of theories about things that will pale in significance in years to come.
Coincidentally, many who graduate from various learning institutions and make some money in the corporate world, often revert to farming, much of it currently conducted over the telephone, as these farmers are not sufficiently schooled in the basics of improved agriculture.
Thus, beside the success stories that make it into the media, one finds horror accounts of farmers who sunk their millions of precious shillings into a project, only to watch it end in disaster. If your child’s school is not paying attention to basic farming, they are not training him or her for the future!
Farming has been the mainstay of our economy for more than 100 years. It is the one area of the economy where Uganda enjoys a massive comparative advantage over many other countries. To see agriculture relegated to the sidelines by our education system is a scandal.
There have been suggestions that agriculture should be removed from the current secondary school curriculum, since it is too heavy for the learners. However, those remain exactly that – suggestions. Whether the curriculum changes or not, will not affect the significance of agriculture in the economy.
If there is one area where the education sector can genuinely add value to learning, apart from imparting literacy, it is in training learners for the future, through agriculture.
Those schools that fail in this area can be sure that their graduates, who venture into farming in future, will have less than charitable things to say about their alma mater.