The media reported recently that children in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nicaragua are unable to complete simple mathematical questions or read simple sentences.
For me, the problem lies in early childhood education. Without a foundation, no child can work out a proper innovative plan, let alone create new ideas. When these children get to upper primary, they simply copy and paste, cram and translate and then reproduce what the examiners and teachers want.
I have tried in vain to look for local Ugandan storybooks in Ngakarimojong, Lugbara, Lumasaba, etc, in book stores in Kampala. So, I resolved to write some myself but I faced a big financial hurdle in publishing fees.
If Ugandan teachers and citizenry can’t write in their local language, what should our children read or watch?
The late Okot p’Bitek opened the way for literary minds but his dream has disappeared as majority Ugandans pour their hearts’ sorrows on issues concerning power, corruption, unemployment, road accidents, etc. Ugandans surely have no time to write with this crazy climate of “tusaba gavumenti etuyambe”.
Let me give my own view on how we can make our children have a good educational background.
First, all teachers should be rewarded from nursery level for any storybook they write in their mother tongue and national awards be staged complete with red carpet just like Hollywood films, instead of hosting several awards featuring musicians in Uganda.
Let’s have our own national writers’ awards to create room for original content spearheaded by the ministry of Education and other donors.
Second, let’s reduce the amount of time our children spend in schools by letting them study up to 2pm. After 2pm, they can go for any other activity such as sports, music, reading, woodwork, catering, tailoring, etc.
In five years, if we don’t create true national thinkers and job creators then, we shall be a cursed nation. This flexible study time worked so well for us at Kyambogo College where we had time to do our extra business and excelled in sports until somebody from ‘above’ changed it.
Third, after nursery education, let children spend five years in primary (P1-P5). Primary 6 and 7 should be turned into a technical skilling year for innovations, metal work, woodwork, technology studies, reading and writing, public speaking courses, sports and drama, etc.
When you succeed, you are promoted to secondary, which should have only four years. From here, a learner can decide to go ahead and join a vocational school by choice, not by pressure.
When a child succeeds, they can choose to go to university or pursue their passion. If this study plan is well implemented, our country can become first-world in 20 years.
Simon Peter Ebonga,
Parliament is not a boxing ring
Uganda’s parliament was trending on the national and international scenes last week for no good reasons. Everyone was shocked at the fighting therein, spearheaded by especially MPs opposed to the motion that seeks to amend the constitution to remove the presidential age limit.
We should know that the old generation will go, and the young generation we entrusted with our votes should be respectful and stop turning our parliament into a boxing ring.
Mityana municipality MP Francis Zaake cited in his statement titled ‘my story’ that he was inspired and indirectly mentored by Gen Katumba Wamala due to his calmness and good leadership skills.
Zaake (one of the MPs who fought in parliament) should then know that he is also mentoring thousands of youths who will act like him if they join parliament.
The images they are showing to the public and to the young generation diminish the respect of the august House and the leaders themselves.
Parliament should be a place for making laws, a place where one stands to present the views of his or her voters. It is a ground for selling one’s idea to others, but not intimidating and fighting one another.
I have seen MPs who were suspended by the speaker of parliament vowing to begin from where they stopped, saying they are representing the views of their voters.
When did we send them to fight and throw chairs around?
Beware of Uganda’s dangerous forest cover decline
I was shocked when the media reported that a recent government report revealed that our forest cover has now declined to nine per cent from 11 per cent cent in 2011, representing a two percentage points’ decline in just two years.
To make matters worse, even Mabira forest, which people shed blood to save from our reckless government, the report indicates that 4,755 hectares have so far been degraded.
If the current government continues in power, at this rate, Uganda may be without any forest cover in the next few years.
Given that scenario, I call on the selfish NRM MPs to spare us the life presidency project they want to impose on us because, in so doing, then we are in for unprecedented climate change and its resultant challenges such as famine.
Let me hope we learned from what happened in Isingiro.
Museveni is playing naive Ugandans
President Museveni is a smart politician. He has played Uganda’s top brains since the Constituency Assembly days to date and all of them seem to have learnt nothing.
How on earth can Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda not know that Museveni is a self-serving man?
Now we are all embroiled in debates about whether he should stand again or not as Museveni moves around the country ‘teaching’ land issues.
Come 2021, Museveni will be on the ballot paper and he will win the election because the opposition has been busy making noise in Kampala without doing grassroots mobilisation.