Arthur W. Foshay (1991) once said “the purpose of education, since the ancient times, has been to bring people to as a full realisation as possible of what is to be a human being.” West Ankole diocese has been keen in ensuring that its Christian access education in order to fight ignorance, disease and poverty. The reason in early 1980s a number of schools were established by the then Bishop YoramBamunoba’s administration.
These schools and those started earlier were taken up by government to support them (schools) through paying teachers’ salaries and other administrative work. The government has also gone ahead to construct structures at these schools to create a conducive environment for both learners and staff.
In some schools, the foundation bodies have pulled out, allowing the government to take responsibility of management. Although foundation bodies appoint management committees, these committees do not have much say on several issues concerning the management of these schools. This is because government has the responsibility of paying teachers which leaves foundation bodies lose the power to implement what they think should be done in these schools.
The Foundation bodies have always asked government to be consulted on whatever governments wants to do in these schools especially on deploying teachers. According to the West Ankole Diocesan Education Secretary, Rev. Benard Mushabe, it would be proper if government involved the foundation body in the management of schools.
“There has been noncompliance to foundation interests in our schools. As a foundation body, we are telling government that there should be moral concerns in our schools which should be put into consideration. Uncoordinated transfers shock and surprise us,” Rev. Mushabe said during a recent seminar for headteachers and school management committees held at Bushenyi multipurpose hall in Bushenyi Municipality.
He wants consultations to be exhausted such that foundation bodies are aware of who is coming into their schools. He adds that the major interest of the foundation bodies is to have sustainability of their projects and as West Ankole Diocese, they will not allow nonperformers to continue managing their schools.
At least most Ugandans are aware of the importance of education. As many people have always said, a nation that does not invest in education has no future. The quality of teachers handling learners in schools determine the development of a country’s human resource.The introduction of free universal education has affected the quality of teaching in public schools. Most parents, who are driven by good grades, have to dig deeper in their pockets to facilitate their children in private schools.
The Bushenyi-ishaka Municipal senior Inspector of Schools, Ms. Anne Tumubweine explains that the major problem is the environment in which teachers are operating in, especially in government schools. She says parents who are taking their children to private schools are fed up with their fellow parents behave. According to Ms Tumubweine, some parents do not pay a fee they agree on, noting that if a teacher is not facilitated, he/she gets demoralised. This fee levied on parents should be used to support the capitation grand from government.
The Bushenyi District Resident Commissioner, Mr Jolly Tibemanya urges that the contribution of teachers towards national development should not be taken for granted because teachers are key and without them, the nation is not there. He calls upon head teachers to be proud of the position they hold and the fact that they can be entrusted to that responsibility.
Mr Tibemanya cautions teachers against absenteeism and alcoholism saying it is wrong to find a drunken teacher in class handling young children. He adds that teachers must avoid being cynical and stop demoralising those who want to teach.
In a nutshell, educating a child requires a combined effort from parents, teachers, foundation bodies and support from government. Parents need to own schools in their communities and give support where the need comes.