A total of 750 senior six leavers are to undergo patriotism training for a period of 13 days starting on 27th this month ending on 8th next month.
Out of 750 students, 500 are senior six leavers while 250 are students from National Teachers Colleges (NTCs) and Uganda Technical Colleges (UTCs), from across the country.
The annual training conducted by the National Secretariat for Patriotic Corps (NSPC) will be held at Shimoni primary Teachers College, Bulindo, Wakiso district and about sh300m has been invested into the training.
Giving details of the training at a press conference held at media Centre yesterday, Commissioner, NSPC, Col Patrick Mwesigye said during the training, students will be taken through a number of practical topics among them, patriotism for nation building and social transformation, leadership skills and development, discipline, health and hygiene.
Other areas of focus include; environmental conservation, constitutionalism and Rule of law, aspects of the country’s history from pre-colonial, colonial and post-independence periods, national resources and their impact on Uganda’s Geo politics, basic military drills, self-defense among others.
Mwesigye explained that the secretariat’s mandate is in line with the country’s constitutional command that as every citizen of this country enjoy and exercise their rights and freedoms; they have a duty to be patriotic and loyal to this country.
According to the constitution Chapter 29 of the national objectives and principles of state policy, then article 17, NSPC is mandated to do such a course.
“Patriotism courses are good because they help people acquire good norms and values to enable individuals transform themselves as well as society,” he said.
“Through this training, we want to develop a resourceful, responsible, loyal and resilient citizenry that are ready to defend and transform this country,” he added.
During the question and answer session, one journalist claiming to have attended one of the trainings and the major focus of the training was on the Uganda bush war of 1982-1986, while another asked if this programme is not indoctrination to get more young people to join National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
Mwesigye responded: “This programme has nothing to do with indoctrination towards any political party or individuals in any political party. It is about teaching young people to love and serve their country diligently, as well as give them skills to transform their lives socially and economically,” he said.
The programme is a presidential initiative by President Yoweri Museveni which he launched in 2009. The ultimate goal is to produce a new breed of enlightened population committed and devoted to national causes, and have love for the country.
Since its inception, over 300,000 senior six leavers and 5000 students from NTCs, UTCs have been trained, and over 4,000 clubs introduced in secondary and tertiary institutions.
However, the target is to train over 1,500,000 secondary school students and their teachers, 6,000 students in UTCs and NTCs, and over 84000 in universities and other tertiary institutions of learning.
Results of the programme
Mwesigye said though some members of the public have a negative attitude about it, thinking it is meant to influence young people into supporting NRM government; he said there is wide scale of good will from parents, teachers, heads of schools and local government officials.
He noted that before the programme started, cases of indiscipline in schools including strikes, arson, were very rampant which have since then reduced.
“From the feedback we get from heads of schools, teachers and parents, indiscipline in schools has reduced, and there is increased academic performance,” he said.
He said due to the programme’s positive impact, many school heads want more students trained, but the limited finances are still a big challenge.