For many at the helm of the education sector, last week was one to pay attention to where the ministry will be heading in the next year.
Thus, the captains gathered in Kampala for two days in the education sector review, where every facet of this vast sector was examined and solutions proposed.
However, what caught many in the plenary by surprise, started as a casual viewing of a documentary, in which the sector showcased various achievements.
Just like that, the minister and first lady was seen touring a school with children, wearing torn and dirty clothes. The school itself looked like it had not been cared for in a while.
With the documentary dispensed with, speaker after speaker lauded the ministry. However, it was left to the minister to chastise the audience on the things that she had witnessed in her various tours.
She was unhappy that teachers had long forgotten about their responsibility to teach children about hygiene, through practice.
“These teachers claim to be too busy teaching,” she complained. “What are they busy with if they can allow the children to be filthy, and teach in such a dirty environment?”
The minister reminded the audience of past practices, where teachers inspected children for their hygiene every week, and asked that these practices be brought back.
And her call was not reserved for only the teachers.
“These children are falling between parents who have no time for them and teachers who don’t care for them. This tragedy that must stop.”
The minister’s call is not to be overlooked. Health workers are agreed that the lack of hygiene is a major contributor to disease. A diseased body is also a great inhibitor to learning.
If teachers and parents are serious about their children’s learning outcomes, they need to consider ensuring good hygiene practices, including short clean hair, nails and the rest of the body.
They also need to entice the children to appreciate a clean environment through such practices as sweeping and mopping their surroundings.