OP-ED: Education should not be reduced to Examination Results and School Buildings

Ismail Lukwago Ntegana
Dr. Isaac Ismail Lukwago Ntegana
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Have gotten opportunities to speak to many  students, parents, teachers and school owners and each time I find most them unaware why education and the entire learning process is important.

To them, a good school is only that which can produce “good results” at end of a particular education cycle and therefore many have learnt tricks of procuring these results in order to get money students and income from the often gullible and ignorant public.

Though the new Lower Secondary School is a welcome and well thought move from the government to make our learners more responsive and ready for current and future national and global challenges, many schools and teachers have not fully appreciated and incorporated it besides the government suspended the Directorate of Industrial Technology Assessment and evaluation which had been planned in year 3 of Secondary School Education.

The new lower Secondary School curriculum without compulsory year 3 DIT Assessments and Evaluation will end up being manipulated for selfish desires of school owners and heads by making sure that results are manufactured as they are currently done at the expense of the future of the learners.

As country we have failed to appreciate that mere speaking English without other skills such as life, learning and literacy skills cannot and shall not help us train a labour force with ability to overcome the challenges of today and those in the future.

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Many of the graduates of the current education system cannot survive on their own despite often posting good results at each education cycle. Where are students who score those As or Bs we see in newspapers?

I have in University where Electrical Engineering University would not do simple Electrical repairs in a building yet many young youths who may not have gone further in formal education but learned from others can easily undertake these tasks.

Many of the parents are cheated by schools that procure results that given them short time joy and satisfaction after the results are released by the National Examination Board while after graduating through this system the graduates cannot do even the simplest of the tasks.

Other than speaking English and may be managing a WhatsApp group what can an A level graduate in Uganda do? Many of them cannot even wake up by themselves early in the morning without the assistance of their parents. Many cannot even do a simple shopping from a market or wash their own clothes after all most schools are now hiring people do task that learners used to undertake by themselves in the past.

We should therefore not allow ourselves to be fooled by schools that are turning our children into warm blooded robots who can cram and recall and not individuals who have been skilled for the life long learning, unlearning and learning process. Our children melt down like icecream the moment they are left to live on their own which partly explains the high drug abuse especially among young so called educated people.

We should instead embrace an education that has the ability to transform the learners into responsible people with personal management and accountability abilities. If the educated cannot manage time, respect work ethics, manage their personal lives, take care of the weak and feeble among them then our education system is hollow and empty. Very often like witnessed during the attempted murder of Gen. Katumba Wamala, while the educated where taking photos of the bleeding General it to the bravery and care of the boda Boda young man to take him for medical care. We have seen educated people park their cars along the road to dump rubbish along the road and move! How about driving in the wrong lane or on the pavements??

The educated among us should be equipped with skills to grow religiously no matter what their beliefs are, otherwise what else would explain the high rates of corruption and entitlement among the elite class despite a claim that over 90% of Ugandans belief in God even depicted in our nation’s motto. How can educated God fearing person allow the sale of expired or fake condoms, medicines or even food to other humans? Are the people working in National Drug Authority or National Buruea of Standards or Uganda Revenue Authority not educated? Why then do things that even animals would not be willing to do to fellow animals?!!

Education should also be able to equip the learners with the abilities to appreciate the challenges faced by their communities and seeking for ways of solving them. Otherwise having educated people so helpless and unable solve our challenges is forgivable and unexplainable. Why should we be stuck with floods, food shortages, death from common diseases or import of simple item despite high number of university graduates each other? Why should our highly skilled labour force be occupied mainly by foreigners? Why are all big infrastructural projects undertaken by foreigners yet Makerere University has trained Ugandans for 100 years now??

There is therefore need to do soul search on what kind of education we want and relevant authorities should be able regulate and pay for its acquisition by every citizen. Education is not the buildings nor the grades but the abilities and skills acquired from learning and teaching process.

Dr.  Isaac  Ismail  Lukwago Ntegana

 Lecturer, Life Coach and Farmer

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