28-05-2022. TALK #1: Behavior of Children Post-Covid
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RADIO TALKSHOW #1 – 28th/07/2022
Headteacher – Mr.kalulu
Teacher – MS. Nasiwa
As you very well know, during the lockdown children were studying in different ways, like we heard parents and teachers did a lot to help children study for example they bought study materials like books that helped children to study, they also encouraged children to listen to radios as you remember that studying back then was done on radios during the lockdown, they would also give them past papers, some teachers reached out to villages to check on their learners to help them in their learning, their wellbeing and some parents managed to go their children’s schools to borrow textbooks for their children. At the beginning of this year 2022, schools re-opened and children started going to school. We used to tell you that the situation of the lockdown was temporally so we thank the Almighty God for settling the situation. We are therefore going to share about children’s behavior after the Covid 19.
I will therefore call upon mukyala Nasiwa to share with us the situation at her school. How do children behave in Bwiela village now since parents were complaining during the covid 19 lockdown about the immorality, indiscipline and poor behavior of their children now that they are back in schools?
Ms.Nasiwa: In Bwiela village in Mayuge District, my place of residence, children had forgotten the content they had learned from school and were reluctant when they returned from the long COVID-19 holiday but teachers worked together with parents to see that children come back to school, for example in the first week, children needed to be pleaded with before coming back to school in that when parents would tell them to go back to school they would say no for and claim they were too big for a particular class and who would go on to say they did not want to study in the same class with a pupil who was in baby class, middle or top class but we tried our best as teachers working together with parents, our head teacher called for a meeting with parents and teachers where we discussed many issues. Parents agreed upon everything we discussed and all children had come back by the third week. Parents had started reporting children that had failed to study which yielded good results because children started bending to their will and later decided to come back to school and parents who come to school with their children and say “madam he is here and he has accepted to come back” that’s when we also started reshaping their behaviors until they changed.
Probe: What are some of the ways? [Brenda]
How did the children misbehave during the period they had just re-opened school during the first and second week?[Ms. Nasiwa]. They had a habit of absenteeism, they claimed they were used to eating at all times and if they came today, they would not come back tomorrow but we would always send for them until they settled at school.
They had no respect for teachers in that when you would call one, she/he would just look at another and continue with their journey but now they changed when you call them at any time they respond positively and come, for example, children of Bwiela primary school are now obedient and responsive positively towards the parents and the teachers.
Brenda: During the covid 19 lockdown when the children were still at home we had a chat on the radio talk show where parents and teachers could make phone calls that children were selling pancakes and cutting sugarcane in plantations, what are some of the ways your school has dealt with such children?
The issue of children working in sugarcane plantations was everywhere and most of the children had gotten involved but we started slowly and parents would come to the teachers to seek for assistance and parents would also request us to go for those children that had failed to come back to school and because of our involvement as teachers, very few remained at home.
Brenda: Mr. Kalulu, we request you to share with us the situation at Mawembe primary school and what were the behaviors of those children
Mr.Kalulu: I am very grateful for the opportunity to reach out to a thousand different people. For the two years spent at home, children were affected so much since they got very many issues and everyone knows that Luuka district is a source of sugar cane in Busoga.
Brenda: No not only Luuka but even Mayuge!
Mr. kalulu: So as for the boys who were used to getting money every day, during the time of the RDC Mr. Bwewayo Stephen could not allow any child to get involved in such activities, when he would find any car carrying children he would arrest them but this stopped after he was transferred from Luuka District. When we had just started school we faced a lot of challenges since children had overstayed at home like the boys were used to daily income but during Bwewayo’s time, he had commanded that any truck or lorry found with children heading to the sugarcane plantation should be arrested.
Children who had gotten used to earning daily after work started involving themselves in marriage conversations, they were used to eating all the time yet as a school we would eat at a planned particular time that is after parents had brought food however some parents were not bringing food so their children were not being fed at school. However since the government provided universal education for all children, parents thought there would be free food at school.
There was no respect between teachers and parents but the issue could arise when the parents went to the same schools with the teachers. You find that they could sit with children and discuss with their teachers that “this God can help even this one who was dormant in class, and is earning government money” when the children are hearing so you find that the children get back to school and disrespect teachers.
We had the issue of absenteeism and late coming in school especially children used to get their own money through cutting sugarcane in plantations, planting rice and harvesting for money, that is another problem we face in Luuka district.
Brenda: So now those issues of children disrespecting teachers, late coming and absenteeism, what measures have you as a head teacher put in place to handle or solve these particular problems?
Mr. Kalulu: In Mawambe, on the issue of the late-coming, we put extra lessons in the morning since a teacher conducts many lessons, it helps in providing extra money because he/she is paid per extra lesson in the morning, evening and Saturdays so it helps both the teacher and the children not basing on these normal lessons only but also in recovering the time lost because of the COVID-19 lockdown which affected schools.
Secondly, we also organized guidance and counseling days where girl children were going to female teachers and boys children to the male teachers and those teachers were led by the senior male teacher and the senior woman teachers.
Then we also conducted management meetings, discussed on how we can lift or raise up our school and the resolutions were to call the parents meeting, had it and we agreed that children must eat, children will be having extra lessons and on my school again the toilets had crumbled to the floor so we told the parents to contribute some little money so that we build a new latrine, however, the parents resisted knowing that its government to build the latrines so people were telling me that other parents would go and report to the CAO and DEO as we were asking for some money but we conducted a meeting on Sunday when I was not but the LC III and CDO were around, the good thing was that the CDO and LCIII know how those issues or matters are handled and later told them that the HM was on a right track and yes, it’s the government to build the latrines but if something is not put into the budget and in the plan then the school is going to be closed.
Brenda: So now when you had the last meeting as you talked about misbehaving of children, did you talk about it with the parents so that you find a way to solve that problem?
Mr. Kalulu: Yes, in my speech I requested the parents to have and share love/friendship because these children are like shock stove which has 3 stones, one the teacher, child and last the parents themselves so among the 3 stones if one misses, then that child will not pass.
Another thing we also agreed on is that we should counsel our children and punish them but not again over punishing like caning as if you are caning a thief or robber they should administer just 1-2 cane.
Brenda: Thank you Mr. HM and let’s go back to madam Nasiwa. Madam Nasiwa, the behavior you have talked about is seen more especially by you teachers who handle lower classes for instance you saw these kids pinching and jumping in class and seeing them grown up, what did you do to see that you reduce or manage those bad manners in kids.
Madam Nasiwa: Thank you, madam, for those lower section children we made the desks facing each other and three in a group so when you find some children disturbing others, you try to counsel him/her if he/she doesn’t change then you pick him or her from the friend and make him / her sit near you the teacher as you warn that if you misbehave you will not study/ succeed and when you fight you won’t be blessed and you will not be like me so that causes him/her to stop fighting and misbehaving because those kids of p.1 are still young so they listen and take the teacher like a parent, therefore, they get back on the right track but they could fight and fight as any other young children in the lower classes and that’s how we as teachers of the lower section handle these situations.
Brenda: So now what advise do you give to the parents with those children who misbehave?
Madam Nasiwa: The advice that I can give to the parents is that they should continue counseling those children, talk to them and not leave them to we the teachers because others have a policy of neglecting their responsibilities as parents of counseling and talking to their children by sending them to us the parents in the pretext of them not having time for them but have time for their daily chores like going to the garden, harvesting their Groundnuts, in fact over the weekends these parents pray so hard for the week to start or for Monday so that they can send their children to us who even show up in poor and unproductive moods that do not study friendly which puts a lot of pressure and burden on our shoulders hence the increase in the poor behavior since the parents have neglected their children. We encourage them to talk to their children at home as we also do the same at school, it becomes simple for example the children of lower classes if we cane them today they will not come back tomorrow so we choose to counsel them at school but I don’t know if the same is because positive results are assured when the teacher talks and the parent also talk to them about, for example, the dangers of fighting and being violent, that way the child takes the initiative to behave simply because the parent and the teacher are talking about the same thing.
Brenda: So you never got any parent coming to school complaining about children’s behavior to you the headmistress.
Mr. Kalulu: Of course, at the beginning term (even last term) in term, I had a lady who came and found me sitting under a mongo tree and claimed she wanted to talk to me, so I took her to my office, she claimed her child doesn’t want to study and also says she has grown up by the influence of her friends and the parent was told that the child promoted herself from P.3 –P.5 but she wants the child to be taken back to P.3, I advised her that since the child not 100 percent willing to study but since she has been studying P.4 class, taking her back will completely discourage her and she may drop out for good because her friends will laugh at her, I told the parent that we would call the child, tell her to go to P.4 which she was willing to do, I asked the parent to ensure that the child leaves home for school, talk to her friends and I will also ensure that we handle the child at school by handing her over to the P.4 class teacher to be following her, the child is now comfortably studying in P.4 and that’s the only case we got.
Moderator Brenda: Now we are going for a short commercial break and I want to tell our dear listeners that after the break I will be opening the lines and you will be able to call in and share with us your experiences with your children and how they were behaving at school before the covid 19 lockdown and how they are behaving now that they are back at school, you will be able to reach us on these numbers 0757 906 906 or 0776 999 906 or reach us on our social media platforms like Elevate partners of education on facebook, twitter @ elevateug where we will be able to converse and interact about the changes you have noticed in your children since the schools re-opened.
Short commercial break
Brenda: I would like to welcome you back from that short commercial break, so please call in and let’s share, I am repeating the No. 0757906906 or 0776 999 906 you tell us what you are going through there in your village, how children are balancing and how are studying because I know you are in different places and children are schooling but still there those misbehaving so we are like, you can call in so that you can tell us so that we learn from you but as we are waiting for your call, we shall be continuing to converse in the studio and I would like to ask madam Nasiwa that those children you said who were reluctant to come to school and others who were coming slowly, What did you do to see that they continued coming.
Madam Nasiwa: Thank you, madam, we managed to handle it as teachers together with the parents because as parents of Bwiela primary school, the head teacher and the deputy took the initiative of calling for a meeting of parents and teachers where ideas were exchanged because parents showed up in large numbers due to the fact that children had sat home for so long because of the covid 19 lockdown, parents reached a consensus that their children P.1 – P2 should study and be leaving at 3:30 pm, they paid for maize and children started eating porridge so this would ensure their children stay at school up to 3:30 pm, thee fact their children were going back with homework every day made them happy because children do chores very fast like fetching water and then turning to their homework. And parents handle chores by themselves which gives their children ample time to do homework.
Brenda: we have our first caller!
Kafuko Yoweri from bukutule Buyende: the problem in our village this side is that discipline is rare, even the English have a saying that “charity begins at home”, we the parents neglect our responsibility of counseling and talking to our children and leave that responsibility to the teachers, but if we as parents could adjust and start talking to the children from home so that the teachers just add on, it would really help stop these cases of children going to centers to sell petty things, dress improperly, going to cinema halls at the wrong hours and others, we observe these things but don’t act then leave the responsibility to the teachers and when a community member who notices these things happens to help discipline your child for you end up involving the police, so the advice I am giving to my fellow parents is that 80% of the responsibility of instilling good morals and behaviors is ours and teachers only have the 20%. Thank you for the opportunity and send greeting to my HM Mr. Kalulu in the studio
Awali from Busota Kamuli: I am very grateful for the teachers in the studio because they have done a greater job but for us here teachers don’t care about children’s behaviors but only care about dressing codes that children are dressing the way they want.
I am very grateful for those teachers in the studio and we request them to help us with their telephone numbers.
For us here as children go to school they always go with non-uniform clothes as they go to school, they reach on the way and change they go and get married for two days first then proceed to school.
Mr.Kalulu: Yes thank you.
This generation is spoilt since we think that children are no longer ours but for the government so we forget that they are ours this generation’s parents are not very tough and they are no longer bothered with studies of their children they only say they don’t have money.
Brenda: I thought they are tough in disciplining their children.
Mr.Kalulu: And even me I have no money but leave the child to study and again that government itself said you live the children to come the way they are to change slowly that is why you heard my brother from Busota Kamuli saying that teachers don’t mind and another one said they change clothes on the way you can find children at school when are putting on non-uniform as if some parents don’t know the importance of putting on a uniform that it saves the children from some problems.
Parents with eight to ten children saying that you want ten kgs of maize but where do you want me to get it thus living that responsibility of his or her child to the teachers.
Mr. Kalulu: Yes living their responsibilities to the teachers, who should take care yet it was parents’ happiness thus living the responsibility to the teachers.
So what have you got to tell the parents since even Mr. Yoweri spoke about it?
I am very grateful for this chance given to me to send out my voice since it’s going to reach out to parents we should take responsibility for getting the children a uniform and following up on them.
I want to tell you this Brenda that even when children get a report, it is very hard for parents to settle down to read the child’s report but they only ask what’s there and then ask about the position after which they say keep it up not taking time to study the report and see the HM’s comment, school requirements needed, when are they going to school, how the child’s performance is, where assistance is needed and when children are going back to school.
Madam Brenda: Someone called and said that teachers don’t mind is it true?
Madam Nasiwa: For we teachers do care may be those ones from Kamuli don’t, since they said Kamuli but I am not sure about that.
Moderator Brenda: What could be making teachers not care for children and what makes teachers not care for children?
Brenda: Because what I know some care and some don’t so what could be causing that teachers are not minding?
One-half of the teachers care but parents also cause this, he later also talked about children’s dressing code because teachers will not force children to stop coming with no uniforms thus easy for the child to pack any cloth of her choice in the school bag to head where she wants to go, for example going to get married for two days. So what do they want the teacher to do in such a situation, should the teacher go and look for that one that went and got married for two days?
Brenda: So the teachers should add on the job.
Yes we the teachers do a lot of work although those ones from Kamuli don’t we do a lot of work but parents should buy uniforms for their children.
Brenda: Yes sir, thank you for calling please tell us your name and where you’re calling from?
Kalinaki Joel from Kamuli town
Those teachers, the issues they are talking about are true but some parents who never went to school may not take the child as an important thing and another thing for me when I went to school there were those teachers whose job was just to cane,
Caller: Yes canning children
Brenda: But now day’s government stopped teachers from canning students.
But there is that situation of canning a child one – two three when she/he has done mistake so that he/she Can know they have made a mistake, now let me talk about the H.T where I used to study from, H.T of Bulswa P/S he was called Mr. Balawinya Hahad, but his job was to cane and he would start from 10 onwards.
Brenda: Maybe he was canning to discipline you.
Caller: So I want all those teachers in the studio to handle children with care as if they are handling their own children.
Moderator: But how are children behaving in your village.
My name Budha,
I am very grateful for those teachers you have hosted in the studio today but we have a problem with smartphones, instead of spending time talking or engaging with their children about behavioral change, they spend most of the time on their smartphones, even teachers don’t really concentrate and give the children attention even in class but concentrate on their smartphones, some teachers even leave the children in the class and go outside to look for network because there is no network inside the classroom not minding about the children’s behavior, not checking their books to see whether they are doing the work or not and also children engage in noise making yet the teacher is right in front of them checking his/her smartphone unable to tell them to keep quiet.
MOD: HM, how are children behaving that side in your village more especially now schools have opened are they going to school and are they studying well or how are they behaving?
H.M: Children are trying to study only that parents are not bothering to find out whether the child has reached or not.
Brenda: You as a parent what have you done to help these children either yours or in the community?
H.M: Although mine are still young, it cannot prevent me from knowing the way children are behaving in and out of school.
I am Waaka the owner of goats from Kilinga
I have heard when one caller saying that when children are blamed for doing bad that they get annoyed, so that is bad, that when you cane or talk about the wrongs of a child it brings stubbornness. People, Teachers are doing well to cane that child because you the parent who doesn’t blame or talk to your child are the ones spoiling them so now like parents who have children who have started misbehaving if I blame your child and you take the child’s side do you know that that child develops stubbornness.
Brenda: so how are the children behaving in other ways?
Waaka: Now you see it depends on how you are handling the child. Whenever you handle the child in a good way as you parent the child moves on your principles as a parent like now my child when found acting stubborn by any adult can be caned for playing on the way and delaying going to school and when a child will fear to report since they did something bad I, therefore, second those teachers that discipline our children. So I remain Waaka the owner of goats from Kikinga Buyende District.
Brenda: Thank you sir.
And let us hear from our visitors we hosted Mr. Kalulu and Mrs. Ms.Nasiwa You know those who have called have talked much as they were telling us how children are behaving and parents which behavior have they left them with.
Brenda: For you madam, do you think caning children is true?
Ms. Nasiwa: Thank you, Brenda, Caning children depends but it’s not fine. You can only give one to two strokes and counsel him or her but should not exceed 4 – 6 strokes.
Brenda: Not just caning anyhow but there should be a reason as to why you have caned that child.
Ms.Nasiwa: These days life is short if you go beyond one stroke a child ends up fainting and some cane on the delicate parts of the body so you cane one, the child understands thus fulfilling what you want but parents also leave punishing to teachers thus saying that the teacher is the one going to manage him so when they send them to us although so we are not beating them children will always fear us.
Brenda: Ok thank you Madam now let’s hear from Mr. Kalulu what do you tell us about what listeners have said about disciplining children.
Mr.Kalulu: will start with my brother who called from Buwaiswa, who said that Mr. Bulunya Muhamad was caning as if he wants to release his anger on you.
Brenda: So now phones are for studying,
Mr. Kalulu: Yes, you may be seeing a teacher outside when he/she is studying. For instance, yesterday we had a lesson with raising voice Uganda when they were teaching us all head teachers from Luuka Mbarara but when it is online, now telling that the world has gone digital and has come out from analog he just agreed and emphasized teachers that if it has come time for teaching children, go and teach and let that be done because the lesson is for 30 – 20 minutes but my friend is saying that teachers spend time on phones, some people do different businesses on phone like buying things outside on phone so that is the way the world is heading so let him just stay learn. But we emphasize teachers do their jobs.
Brenda: So let me receive some two people and we go-ahead
Caller: This is Faith Bazalanda.
Caller: Children in 1st term misbehaved because they were going with phones at school and were taking teachers’ photos but now they have come back inline.
Brenda: we are soon closing and time is running out. There is a parent who has said that at first children were going with phones. Did it appear even at your school?
Mr. Kalulu: now it could be there but illegally. You can’t know so I will not tell you whether it was there or not.
Brenda: Maybe in other schools, was it there?
Mr. Kalulu: I think in urban centers like Buwenge, Iganga, Jinja it was possible for a child to come with a phone.
Brenda: Anyway, like the way, they were studying on phones during lockdown.
Mr. Kalulu: Even me, my District Secretary in Education Department asked him and told me that I left the phone to my children, they study on it.[Brenda] so they had got used to it. As we are running out of time I want you to have what you tell the listeners which ideas you give to them. I will start with Madam Nasiwa which advice do you give to the parents, children, and teachers as we close up and send greetings to two people.
Ms. Nasiwa: thank you madam, I do beg parents to work with teachers then we can handle our children very well and parents also should not listen to what children say for example I reached madam caned me because sometimes you might be giving out work or exercise and they fail deliberately.
Caller: I am Owen from Buyende. I want to give those teachers some advice. During those days, they visited children especially those with bad manners, even now it is still possible. They should go and visit those parents and talk to them.
Caller: This is Kisira a boda boda cyclist from Kaliro.
Mr.Kisira: Those days before the government stopped teachers from caning children, community members who would meet children in wrong and had the right to report or discipline them themselves but these days, it’s not the case.
Brenda: So, what have we done to help each other, especially helping children?
Mr. Kisira: Madam is not disciplining but just talking to them today and tomorrow.
Brenda: Okay let us conclude! One by one
Ms. Nasiwa, Let me greet my mother Namaganda from Naigobya whom others know as Mama Gobbu, and my brother Paul LC I. My staff of Bwiela P/S, head teacher, Deputy, and teachers have played a big role in the school having a big number of students at school. I also thank the teaching staff of Bwiela P/S and the parents.
Mr. Kalulu: I will say that teaching a child is like shocking stove, that of teachers, parents and children. I ask those people to work jointly because if a parent puts effort when a child is not bothering nothing is going to come out. When a child puts effort and a parent is not bothering, nothing is going to come out. Therefore, I do beg to work together and we see that a child comes out useful and there still I do ask the government itself to be caring for us in time to give us materials or requirements than when you spend a term without being given money.
I would like to thank my staff all the 18 as we do work together and all workers at the school especially, I thank my Deputy Mr. Muyinda because whenever am away, he does the work of teaching, Deputy and work of Headteacher. Among people I know at that school is a senior Education Officer. I would like to greet my family although my two children are at school one at Kamuli Girls’, another one at Kamuli Boys’ I greet them and the two in Iganga and also their mother.
Brenda: I would like to thank our listeners for being able to listen to us and calling in to share with us and I want to tell you that as you heard what was said by those who called that “parents should not ignore children”, teachers also if you find a child misbehaving, you talk to him /her in order to handle together with parents and groom these children to be good and useful citizens in the world.
I also want to thank the people at Elevate Partners for Education, for financing us and enabling us to deliver this message to you and the government of Japan for enabling this program to reach out to you. I would like to let you know that this program will be continuing and will always be there after every one week so it will be there next Saturday but one at this very time and even these talk shows are there on the website or media pages of Elevate Partners for education on www.elevateeducation.org. You can go there under resources and see all talk shows since we began and I want to greet you all I work with in Community Concerns Uganda and I greet my parents Mrs. and Mr. Gema.
Stay well all of you