socialised education, as like socialised medicine, works if there is political will for it

TYPICAL RURAL SCHOOLS IN UGANDA


Friends,
All politics in Uganda have become dismally bad theater. I don’t care if you’re FDC,NRM,DP, UPC, you’re beating a decidedly dead horse.The system is as busted, if not worse, as UPC was in early 1980s and, unfortunately, there’s no good fix other than to blow ’em all out and restructure everything. There’s corruption, daily murders, moral degeneration, riots, police tortures, unemployment, but most worryingly a disintegrating education system. Frustratingly, most Ugandans don’t see anything changing soon as Museveni looks set to even remove the age limits from the constitution such that he carries on being president. We basically need a miracle from God. How I wish it comes sooner!

When one analyses how “socialized education” – that is, the public education system – worked in this country during Obote 1, Obote 11 and Amin, it is difficult at best not to be enthusiastic about socialized medicine too, as e explained in the previous article. Yes times have changed, and with them their demands, but how far has this government done to make sure healthcare and education are atleast affordable to majority of Ugandans. UPE isn’t really a new concept in Uganda but why has it failed to work under Museveni? Why did the public schools do well in the past compared to now?

“Socialized education” fared quite well especially during Obote 1 and Amin, because the government used to support all our children, from all religions, tribes and classes, which is different today where even simple state scholarships are awarded on the basis of your political beliefs and tribal connections to the government.
Private education, like St.Mary’s Kitende High School on Entebbe Road, appears to do better because its high tuition cherry picks kids from the best families (an obvious fact that is almost never mentioned in our debates). Nobody seems to care about public schools anymore. Most of the changes the president’s wife has announced recently appear like knee- jerk reactions than something that has been thought through.

The fact is that socialised education, as like socialised medicine, works if there is political will for it. For instance, in America,in terms of test scores, the best 20 schools, year in year out, are overwhelmingly public schools, not private.All of this was exposed in great detail a few years back in an excellent book called “The Manufactured Crisis”.

Of course, its important for parents to be involved in their kid’s school work and life, for a child to do well especially here in developed nations.If a student’s parents return phone calls from the teacher,show an interest in their child’s education and read to their child nightly,the child invariably does well in school. Unfortunately, in many of the poor or working class families, for instance, here in the UK, most parents dont have time for their children such that its difficult to get a doctor or super student out of them. Everyone is just chasing ‘kyeyo’ and having little time for kids. Many parents are lackadaisical about their children’s education and some are themselves illiterate.

This is generally the same situation back home but living as a community used to help a lot African families, especially the way their kids turned out. Every time I tried to dodge school during my primary schooling, not only did I have to hide away from grandfather, but the village residents too. But I’ve been told that things have changed–it’s now every man for himself.
Please let us exchange thoughts on how education could be made better in Uganda. May be through such debates, the guys in the Ministry of education will pick something up, instead of concentrating on sanitary pads programmes only (” We don’t have money for sanitary pads ” or ” NGOs must not supply pads without our permission”)!

Abbey.K.S
UK

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Semuwemba is a Ugandan residing in the UK

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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. "~ Martin Luther King Jr. ~

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