By Muriel Iyanu
When I was in primary school, we used to sing a common song which, if I recollect well, went thus, 'surely education is part of our life, when your born you get a learning mind, a learning mind develops as you grow, it only starts from our environment….’
Am sure most of us who attended government schools during the 90’s remember this song.
Unlike the traditional schools, we got a chance to attend parent’s day/ open day; a day when children would showcase skills in poetry, writing short stories, and crafts, among others.
Today, parent’s day is dominated by children modeling and dancing. The children dance as their young parents cheer away.
A friend recently attended a similar occasion in a certain school. The school had children from all races though a majority were Ugandans. The last item of the day was performances by the children.
While the Indian and white children recited speeches from different presidents all around the world, played musical instruments such as violin and piano, and also recited poems by great poets such as Shakespeare, the Ugandan children were either modeling or dancing.
I do not intend to say that what these Ugandan children were doing was worthless, but there is better talent to be groomed in a child other than dancing and modeling. Promote the book reading culture.
I give credit to Ms Angela Bulamu, a mentor and spirited young leader from Luuka District, who has started a book reading project with her savings from her first job. She intends to revive the reading culture starting with her District. Through this, she organises periodical reading camps where children camp just to read several books.
The project is being embraced by the rural schools in the area who view this as a God sent opportunity. So far, the project has been a success. We realise that there are certain children who are actually interested in reading but lack the facilities to. This in turn presents a blared future for these children.
Parents should take personal initiative in grooming their children to be able to compete in today’s world. For those with books gathering dust in their homes, donate them to a rural school.
To the youth who have just finished university, you can still create a difference with what you have. You don’t need to be so wealthy to create change. Begin with those old books your mother always kept aside after you were promoted to the next class. Teach those children in that village school as you wait to graduate and ‘get a job’. These children are the leaders of tomorrow and so need our joint help.
I reiterate my secondary school motto: Aim to serve your country.
The writer is a Human Rights Lawyer