LIKE his name Kitego, loosely translated as ‘the trap,’ Grace Kitego, 40, has ensnared a number of youth to productive life. In his village in Namwendwa in Kamuli district, Kitego is seen as an icon of wisdom for his drive to inspire and empower the youth in career guidance
By Job Bwire
LIKE his name Kitego, loosely translated as ‘the trap,’ Grace Kitego, 40, has ensnared a number of youth to productive life. In his village in Namwendwa in Kamuli district, Kitego is seen as an icon of wisdom for his drive to inspire and empower the youth in career guidance.
Most parents use him as a role model of how he emerged from grass to grace. He is always invited to lecture in schools and communities on career guidance. He offers counselling and career guidance in about 15 schools, in addition to Nabisunsa Girls, where he currently teaches. The schools include Seeta High School, Uganda Martyrs SS Namugongo and Mount of Olive’s College Kakiri. Apart from teaching in
the class room, Kitego has been able to supplement his salary by offering such services like apprenticeship in passing skills, counseling youth, motivational lectures, among others. Unlike most teachers, Kitego is using his knowledge to help a number of youth. He has motivated a number of youth during his lessons, seminars and conferences, besides his teaching profession.
His Catholic religious background, he says, motivates him to ensure that children are shown the right track in life. The single father of one says he started teaching in 1998, while at university. Born to John Kitungulu and Mwayo Baziba of Namwendwa, Kamuli district, Kitego says his childhood was not that appealing. He comes from a polygamous family. His parents refused to pay his school fees, so he had to struggle on his own to make it in life. “When I joined Primary Five, our father stopped paying my school fees, including that of my other six siblings.
This almost marked the end of my schooling,” narrates Kitego. His mother had to do casual work to raise school fees for him. Kitego was just one of the 24 children of his father. “I did a number of activities, including brick making, fetching water and being a potter; to pay my fees,” he added. At university, he tried politics, but was unsuccessful.
The authoritatively sounding and interestingly comical teacher says his other source of motivation, was his massive desire to excel. It is the same will and thirst to excel that he instils in children today. “If students are ready and willing to learn, I can teach them for the whole day,” he says. His day starts at 4:00am when he wakes up and ends at midnight. In a day, he does his daily official work at his school and later traverses other schools on his career guidance and counseling exercises.
“At the end of the term, I ask my students to evaluate me. Through this, I have generated a strong bond with my students,” he says. The teacher of both history and geography says he respects his profession because it made him what he is. When asked how we can improve on education in the country and help students excel in schools, Kitego said his profession is a calling and requires using enthusiastic,experienced teachers who are willing and ready to teach under all circumstances. “And not money minded teachers like most teachers I meet today,” he said.
Adding that some schools tend to use former students of their school who excelled, yet without experience and zeal to teach. He noted that such young teachers are preoccupied on how to make money and better their lives, instead of concentrating on how to make their students excel. “Our bosses, including government have failed to appreciate what we do by considering a salary increment and this has made it difficult for some teachers who only depend on their salary to cope up with the increasing cost of living,” added Kitego.
According to Jude Walubo, the country director of Universal Chastity Education (UCE) an NGO that promotes abstinence especially among the youth, Kitego has a big testimony to share with the young people. “I first met Kitego in 2004 during a youth conference, I had just joined university and his words of encouragement still ring in my mind. He has a big heart and has inspired a number of youth.
Challenges and solutions in the education sector
trueDenis Mangeni, student
Absenteeism by teachers and crowding in schools, especially UPE and USE schools. There are few teachers, most of whom are absentees and latecomers. Government should start monitoring these schools.
Chrysostom Kato,media relations officer
Government is increasingly giving up on education; I think this explains the reduction in the number of Government sponsored students. It would help if Government privatised either primary or secondary education
Rose Wasike, teacher
Most youth have become victims of juvenile delinquency. Government should review its education policy to compel all parents send their children to school.
Kitego: An icon of wisdom and career guidance