28-08-2022. TALK #7: Absenteeism and delayed submission of scholastic materials at school
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RADIO TALK SHOW # 27th-08-2022
MODERATOR: NAKIRYA BRENDA DOREEN
TEACHER AT BULYANSIME P/S, BUGWERI: KATOOKE SAMUEL
REVEREND OF BUTTE P/S & KIRINYA PRISONS: REV. ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA
MODERATOR: I want to welcome our dear listeners to Busoga One, “Omwooyo gwa Busoga” 90.6 FM, like you have heard from our opening credit that we hold the knowledge in ensuring our children receive the best education, I am Nakirya Brenda Doreen from the Non-Government organization called Community Concern Uganda Initiative, I want to once again welcome our dear listeners out there in Iganga, Luuka, Kaliro, Mayuge, Bugiri and those other districts that we work with in the program of positive deviance, its 12:00pm and I want to thank the guests in the studio that we are going to interact with today, I want to thank Elevate, the partners of Education who sponsor us financially and ensure that we have this talk show.
Today, we are going to tackle ways we can solve the problem of the absenteeism of our children, and the delay of them attaining scholastic materials and requirements that children need to use at school, at this juncture let me let my guests in the studio introduce themselves, I have a gentleman seated on my right and one seated on my left but let me start with the one on my right to introduce himself.
1st GUEST: Thank you very much madam Nakirya Brenda, our moderator, I am Katooke Samuel, teacher of Bulyansime P/S located in Bugweri district, Igombe sub-county, our dear listeners, please be comfortable as you listen to today’s talk show, thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much for coming, our next guest, please introduce yourself.
2nd GUEST: Thank you very much, Moderator, I am Reverend Rogers Gwebawaira, Reverend of Butte and also shepherd of the prisoners or inmates of Kirinya prison, I thank God for enabling us be here so that we can discuss on how to solve the problems of absenteeism and failure and delay of our children to get scholastic materials and requirement to use at school, we wish you a good time as you listen to us, thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much sir for coming, like you have heard he is both a parent and reverend of Butte Primary School, I want to remind you that we have been in a break of 2 weeks since the last show ,allow me remind you that we started these shows on 5th-May-2022, the last show before this one was on 6th-August-2022.
On the previous shows as a reminder to our dear listeners, the first one was about the behaviours of our children since schools were re-opened, the second one was about the roles that parents play in ensuring their children receive the best or ideal education since schools re-opened after the lockdown, the third was about understanding the abridged curriculum and how it’s being applied in schools, the fourth was about whether and how children are continuously studying at home even though schools re-opened, the means and ways its being carried out or ensured, remember during the lockdown parents and teachers looked for ways to enable children study even when they were at school because of the lockdown, so that show was to check whether measures are still in place to ensure it continues even though schools were re-opened, the fifth show was about how the PTA and SMC help in ensuring children get the best or ideal education in schools now that schools re-opened, now the 6th or previous show before this one that I myself hosted Mr. Ngobi James, head teacher of Sagitu Island Primary school, Mayuge and Mr. Mwonda Jesse, chairman LC.I of Kayogera village, was about how parents and teachers can work together to ensure that children feed at school to ensure they get results or grades.
Let me remind you shortly of what we discussed the previous show, according to the head of the school and some parents who interacted with us, they said that the ideal feeding of children at school is, that they have to eat some porridge at 10:00am which is break time and solid food or posho and beans at 1:00pm which is lunch time, they continued to say that every child has to eat or feed at school in order for them to understand what is being taught and if a child doesn’t eat at school, it also contributes to the child’s absenteeism or irregular attendance of school, that if we ensure that our children eat at school, then we shall be assured of good results and grades, a parent who called in brought the point forward that schools with enough or vast pieces of land should grow maize and beans that can be cooked for children at school, they went on to encourage the parents out there to give their children maize and money to ensure they feed at school so that children study very well and get good results and grades. Those are just a few of what we discussed last time and I know that if you listened in last time, you know and got the whole package.
At this juncture or moment, we have a different theme for today’s talk show, the 27th of August 2022, we are talking about finding means to solve the problem of absenteeism and delay of children to get scholastic materials and requirements to be used at school, I want to tell you that as we have been moving from one school to another in the field, teachers tell us that most children come to school without scholastic materials to use at school and others are irregular when it comes to attendance or are absent most of the school days yet the law or education policy states that “it’s the parents’ responsibility to send their children who are above 6 years to school and also provide scholastic materials to use at school”. So that’s where we shall focus our attention and start from that policy, let’s start with Mr. Katooke Samuel from Bulyansime P/S Bugweri district, please tell us, at Bulyansime P/S, what is the experience and what is on ground there?, how is the children’s attendance, is it regular or is it irregular, and are the children given scholastic materials by their parents or not?
- KATOOKE SAMUEL: Thank you very much Brenda, at Bulyansime P/S, we have children who attend school irregularly but we handled this issue by me, myself advising and encouraging my teachers to do roll calls using the class registers because every class has its own register which has all the children’s names per class who go to Bulyansime P/S, so I tell my teachers that before they start the lesson or teaching, they should carry out roll call by reading out loud each child’s name as they respond to find out which child is present on that particular day and which child is absent. Now the next day, the teacher will start with those children who were absent the previous day by asking for reasons why they were absent, some children give us reasons like “I didn’t study because my mother had to attend a burial service somewhere and I was tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the home”, another claims he/she didn’t study because his/her fathers asked him/her to help in the planting of maize in the garden and another during the harvesting season claims I had gone to harvest groundnuts in the garden. So what we do is call the parent to school, tell him/her that what they are doing is not good because that particular time is for the child to study, whether planting, harvesting and a funeral, that child’s program is for studying or going to school.
When the child’s attendance at school is irregular, that child misses out so much; studying is like construction, every day we teachers just keep on adding on, the way a builder does to an unfinished building, the day a child is absent makers a huge difference because when that child returns even after just one day, he/she sees completely new things or content, which makes that child lose focus, concentration and interest because he/she doesn’t understand what is being taught and in the end the performance will be poor which in turn furthers the change in the attitude and mindset about school.
Those children who also lack scholastic materials reach class and just look at his/her colleagues, when a teacher approaches that particular child and asks why he/she is not doing work, the child will simply say I have no book, no pencil, no pen, no set and others which will lead to that child being uncomfortable in class, being worried all the time because he/she is not clueless about his/her fate, some teachers don’t take the initiative to ask those children why they are not doing work but just start abusing, mocking or even punish those particular children, the child in turn loses interest, start absenting him/herself and some even drop out completely. Some parents make empty promises that they would provide and when the promised time reaches, they claim they failed to get and tell the children to sit home since the parent him/herself didn’t go to school which also in turn changes the child’s perspective and mentality about school. If the child is a girl who has grown up a bit and reached adolescence, you as the parent will have started to pave way for that particular child to start being immoral and engage in some mischievous deeds, so please, parents, I am requesting and begging you to provide scholastic materials for our children to use in class because these children are motivated to go to school every day simply because they will not be left out as others are using theirs like sets, pens, books and others. Parents should encourage their children by waking them up very early in the morning, if a child fails to wake up, a parent should ask to find out whether the child is sick, or whether there is another concrete reason why the child shouldn’t go to school and also follow up their children’s attendance to school by checking with the teachers to find out whether the child reaches school when he/she leaves home or not.
But we parents wake up and leave our children in bed, if the child notices that the parent is not so keen and bothered about his/her education, the child will also lose interest and become lazy when it comes to matters concerning education because the parent would have created an atmosphere where the child has the liberty to go to school when he feels like and not go when he/she doesn’t feel like. So please parents encourage and force your children to leave home for school as the teachers do the roll call to ensure the child has reached schooled and he/she is in the classroom, the parents and teachers should work together to solve the problem of absenteeism.
There some teachers whose attendance is also irregular and you find that the children wait patiently in the classrooms but the teachers don’t show up, children may copy this absenteeism behaviour from their teachers, even when the teachers are there, they don’t take the initiative to do roll call and find out whether the children attend regularly or not, this may cause children to copy this behaviour and emulate the teachers, the child stays home simply because he /she is uncertain whether the teacher will show up and follow up or not hence increased absenteeism.
The negligent parent also gets an excuse for not providing scholastic materials and sending the child to school because the child says the teachers don’t show up regularly and even when they show up, the children don’t do anything. So let’s all do our responsibilities in order to get good future Basoga and Ugandans at large. The successful people in society now days were not irregular at school because their parents took the initiative to send them to school daily and provided scholastic materials for them to use at school. The mentality of absenteeism is not good because it stays with you forever, even when you grow up, which is evidenced by some employees who irregularly show up at work for example in the local governments, people show up in need of services but the people to provide the services are very irregular in their offices. So dear parents, we want good future bankers, good future doctors, and others. Those children who don’t study everyday will only have half of the content, sometimes when the child is not around is when the teacher may teach the content that may show up in the final decisive exams (P.L.E) which in the end will lead to poor or bad grades then afterwards the negligent parents will claim the children failed because the teachers don’t know how to teach.
MODERATOR: Mr. Katooke, why do you think these children absent themselves or attend school irregularly?
KATOOKE SAMUEL: These children absent themselves because parents don’t give them scholastic materials and requirements to use at school, parents don’t give them hope because they demoralize and undervalue them openly for example a parent may make such a statement “now do you also think you will accomplish something or become a prominent or important person in society?”, it’s even worse if such a parent has a girl child who unintentionally got pregnant once, a parent will make a statement like “ I can’t waste my money on a girl child, for example this one, she had reached P.7 then got pregnant”, these statements are wrong because they only make our children feel bad, the only way forward is to persist, not give up but keep driving our children to enable they attain good futures, if she has gotten pregnant, wait for her to deliver, then when the time is right, take back that child to school, just look around the neighboring society, how those families that give up on their children are and those who don’t give up on their children, there is a big difference, another example is, look at people who go every day and struggle in the garden and those who don’t go, those who don’t go in most cases suffer from famine and those who go constantly have food security, so “success is not accidental but its deliberately worked for”.
MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much Mr. Katooke for those wonderful remarks and points, let me turn my attention now to the Reverend, in most cases as Mr. Katooke has just said, like children not going to school because parents don’t provide scholastic materials and are also not given hope but demoralization by the parents, yet they are supposed to provide scholastic materials for them, we are inquiring, at your school, how many of your children are at Butte P/S and which classes?
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Thank you very much madam Brenda, I am a parent and God has enabled some of my children complete school successfully, I have two children at home, one is in P.4 and one is in S.3 at Butte seed, first and foremost, I always tell them to look at the people who went to school and those who didn’t go to school, then I tell them to compare and contrast, which group is doing better than the other. The results are that those who went to school are doing far better than those who didn’t go to school and are always suffering and to show them which future is better, that of someone who didn’t go to school and that of one who went to school, this makes them choose the second one because of the joy and happiness experienced by those who went to school because they build beautiful and luxurious homes, drive expensive cars, and others.
MODERATOR: Okay that’s good, on today’s theme, we are talking about parents providing scholastic materials and requirements that children need or use at school, the listeners out there want to know what these materials are!
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Thank you madam, most parents just go with the wave of let me take my children to school simply because other parents are taking theirs but are clueless about what entails the process of taking a child to school, when they take their children and the school tells them to bring 5 kilograms of maize, beans, books, money for uniform, etc. when that particular parents calculates that money and comes up with a total, he/she realizes that that money is too much and doesn’t see the reason why he/she should spend all that money, so he/she just dumps that child at school and leaves the child to chance or luck, in most cases some parents whose blue collar jobs give big amounts of money, they drive themselves in Porsche cars yet they didn’t go to school, they don’t give education value and sees it as a waste of time and money, so it becomes hard to tell him/her to bring or give his child scholastic materials and requirements yet if only they could school with their daily activities like farming or digging because you can’t go to the garden to dig without a hoe but they allow to send a child to school for a whole week without a book, a pen, etc. now when it comes to these other requirements like beans , maize and money for grinding, he/she becomes demoralized as the friends eat during time for meals and he/she is not. Eventually he/she decides that he/she will not go to school and study on a hungry stomach, others get embarrassed when their friends wear shoes to school and they go barefooted, even when a child is sent home for like a dress in form of a uniform, the parent may let the child sit home for a week in the pretext of that parent looking for money to purchase a dress for that child but forgetting that for all the days that child is absent, his/’her friends cover new material and by the time he/she reports back with a particular requirement that he/she was sent home for, the friends a far away when it comes to content and coverage, yet there is no teacher willing to go back and help that particular child recover and catch up to speed with the rest of his/her colleagues, so when that content is brought in the exams, that child is bound to fail those particular questions and in the end, the child him/herself or the parent may say the child is stupid and doesn’t understand what is being taught in class.
Some parents develop the mentality that children share when it comes to eatables like pancakesand assume they also share scholastic materials but honestly when it’s time for writing or shading, and that one child has one pencil, how will she be able to share with like three-four friends!, you find that child sitting idly in class doing nothing because he/she lacks the scholastic materials that enable him/her perform a particular task like the friend. Education relies on three things, listening to what the teacher is teaching, contact then writing, now a child who is unable or who doesn’t write misses out on important content that he/she would have been able to revise later on when they go back home, some parents are very insensitive because instead of finding out why the child doesn’t revise when at home, why his/her child gets poor results, he/she goes ahead to brand that child as stupid, so we want to encourage our parents to do the needful because we all come from different areas, some come from the shores of a certain lake or water body, he/she doesn’t see the reason why his/her child should go to school yet that child can engage in fishing, those parents who stay near sand and stone mines want their children to start mining sand and quarrying instead of going to school, now like back home in Mayuge district, where there are sugarcane plantations, you find children working in those plantations instead of going to school, we can attribute that to some problems like weaknesses in families which are so poor that instead of encouraging and forcing their children to go to school, they force them to go and work in the sugarcane plantations in order for them to get what to eat on a daily basis.
MODERATOR: Okay, Reverend, do your children go to school every day?
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Of course, my children go to school every day.
MODERATOR: What has helped you ensure that your children go to school every day?
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: First of all I put incentives that make them want to go to school, I am friends with them and I keep on reminding them of the delicious fruits that come from the tree of education, I show them the difference between those who went to school and those who didn’t go to school, I encourage them to create friendship with the teachers because one they don’t understand something in class, they are in position to ask the teacher to re-explain to them in order for them to understand, plus if a child is friends with a teacher, it’s hard for that child to deliberately be absent, if a child isn’t friends with a teacher because of some circumstances, sometimes a tense atmosphere develops between a teacher and a child which may lead to that child absenting him/herself to avoid being scolded, abused and punished by that particular teacher, so the incentives and friendship bond I have with my children makes them want to go to school every school day, if there arises a time where I have to be tough, then I change immediately for example if that child misses school without a valid reason, he/she must be disciplined.
MODERATOR: Okay thank you Reverend, we shall get back to you, let me turn my attention to Mr. Katooke again, you have heard some of the requirements that Reverend has mentioned, he has mentioned quite a lot of them in his own way, like feeding, meaning maize and beans, pens, shoes, pens, and others, do you think he has left out a vital or any other scholastic material or requirement?, from the perspective of a head teacher because Reverend is just a parent, we don’t want parents out there to negligent and skeptical about providing particular materials simply because they were not mentioned over the radio in the presence of a head teacher.
KATOOKE SAMUEL: Thank you very much Moderator, I want to thank the Reverend who is also a parent, for his contribution, let me add on that back then when government had just started the UPE program in 1997, feeding was controversial because teachers wanted the children to eat at school yet the government wanted the children to take leftovers from home to school, others wanted parents to contribute maize, but as time has passed by, the government officially wants children to eat at school that’s why these days when we ask maize contribution from parents, they no longer report us to the RDC, if you don’t bring maize to ensure your child eats at school, you as the parent would have laid the foundation for your child to fail or get poor grades because he/she cannot perform well or study effectively on a hungry stomach, so feeding is a crucial requirement, providing for the child a school uniform is also crucial because it’s what shows that the child goes to a particular school because these uniforms have badges, this uniform is security, it’s a source of pride for the child, for example if it bears Bulyansime P/S, Butte P/S and that child loves his/her school, it shows where to take a child incase need a rises, an accident or unfortunate incident like the child getting lost, when good Samaritans look and identify the badge, they can always take the child there, if that child is smartly dressed in the school uniform, he/she is free and confident when interacting with the teacher because teachers like smart children, when a child is not dressed in uniform, he/she is shy and nervous and may fail to approach the teacher because the first thing the teacher will do is ask that child where the uniform and sometimes the child may need help with a topic he/she didn’t understand.
All these make a child absent him/herself because the child is afraid the teachers will always ask him/her where the school uniform is?, shoes are very important because they protect the child from germs when visiting the latrine, infections and sharp objects in the compound, when it comes to books, now days we are shifting from the small to bigger and longer books called city books, 96 pages, they are 1,500/= when it comes to classes from P.5-P.7, please parents buy a dozen of these books for your children, they are cheaper when you buy a dozen than buying a single book whenever one gets used up, when you buy a dozen and you put at home, its cost friendly because when a child’s book gets used up, you simply get one from the dozen you purchased than going to the shop every time need arises, you become being fed up, same applies to pens, buy dozens at once and put at home, give that child 2 at the beginning of the term, buy 5 pencils and give the child 2, keep the three for when need arises, buy a mathematical set, a child who is in classes from P.4-P.7 needs those materials that are in that set for math, there is a number in PLE that requires instruments of a set, it carries 8-12 marks, your child is highly likely to miss out on those marks if he/she doesn’t have a mathematical set, then when results come out and the child performed poorly, you brand him or her as stupid yet your child a mathematical set from P.4 because that’s when the child starts using a set when studying angles as a topic then other topics start accumulating that require a set up to P.7, buy a long foot ruler, when a child has all these materials, his/her confidence grows because he/she is sure when the teacher asks the class to take out their requirements for a particular lesson, she will also do the same which in turn motivates him/her to attend school regularly.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Mr. Katooke, I think our listeners have heard, you should not only think that requirements and scholastic materials end at books and pens but all those that have been mentioned, now, Reverend, I have heard Mr. Katooke talking about some other issues that prevent children from coming to school on a daily basis but now from the point of view of a parent, are there some other reasons why children may choose to absent themselves from school, some reasons that prompt parents not to send their children to school and some reasons that your children tell you?
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Thank you very much madam Brenda, in the beginning I didn’t tell you the roles that these people play, the parent willingly taking his child to school constitutes 70%, because he is the one who knows the time the child leaves home, the distance and how long it has to take the child to leave home for school, whether his/her child can handle the wind that blows one when being transported using a boda boda, that information is known and enforced by the parent, the child is at 10% plus the teacher at 20% because the child is simply brought to him/her. The love that the parents show or offer the child is very important because even though you just chase that child with a cane, later on in the future is when that individual will realize that my parents were not tormenting and assaulting me but were doing me a favour.
MODERATOR: Okay, let’s first go for a short commercial break and when we return, our listeners will be able to call in and share or interact directly with us in the studio on today’s theme, you will reach us on 0776 989 906 and 0757 906 906 so that you share with us your points of view and experiences concerning absenteeism of children and availing the children with scholastic materials and requirements.
SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK
MODERATOR: Okay, I want to welcome our dear listeners from that short commercial break, I am reminding you that today’s theme is solving the problems of children absenting themselves from school and children not getting scholastic materials and requirements for use at school, let me remind these numbers 0776 989 906 and 0757 906 906, ladies please call in and share with us, we have noticed that men dominate when it comes to calling in to interact with us, so please ladies, let’s not let men dominate, when you call tell us your name and where you are calling from and then share with us concerning today’s theme.
MUKOBOLO MOSES ELIOT, HEAD TEACHER BUYINDA P/S: It’s me who was in the studio as we talked about the abridged curriculum.
MODERATOR: Yes please, talk about today’s theme of solving the problem of absenteeism and children lacking scholastic materials and requirements, how is it in Buyinda?
MUKOBOLO MOSES ELIOT, HEAD TEACHER BUYINDA P/S: I have been listening in from the start; I want to thank Mr. Katooke, my fellow comrade in the profession of teaching, the Reverend for discussing and brains storming this issue, they have put a lot of emphasis on parents playing a very big role in whether their children go to school or not, I want to add on that the school also plays a very big role in either bringing the child at school or not.
MODERATOR: Please help throw some more light, how does the school play a major role?
MOKOBOLO MOSES ELIOT, HEAD TEACHER BUYINDA P/S: The school must have or put in place incentives to attract the child to go to that school every day.
MOGOBOLO MOSES ELIOT, HEAD TEACHER BUYINDA P/S: As a head teacher I have to put in place those incentives like instilling discipline and good morals into my teachers, there are very many teachers in Uganda today who don’t wholeheartedly care about the children, many teachers in Uganda torture and administer corporal punishments to children when they give a wrong answer or make a mistake in class, I want Mr. Katooke and Reverend to know that children choose to absent themselves from school because of fear of the corporal punishments that teachers administer so as a school we have to ensure children have a good learning atmosphere where teachers will not bark at them, beat them, shout at them, etc. a good atmosphere will encourage and drive them towards school on a daily basis but a hostile learning environment will drive the child away from the school.
The other issue is that other schools only care about teaching children, for them to pass and they don’t care about finishing and following the curriculum, some children may be talented in other activities like sports, MDD and athletics, yet the curriculum caters for all those activities but some schools tend to keep the children only in class and in doing so neglect these other talents that these children may possess, this also causes the children to dodge school simply because some of them may be dull or slow when it comes to the curricular activities but active and talented in the co-curricular activities, which may cause absenteeism, so we should value and follow the curriculum, when it’s time to implement the curricular and co-curricular activities for the satisfaction of our children hence solving the absenteeism problem.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much sir, let’s have our next caller.
NGOBI AARON, A TEACHER FROM NAMAGANDA P/S BUSEDE: I want to thank our fellow teacher Mr. Katooke and Reverend Rogers Gwebawaira who have given or shared that very important information concerning the theme of solving absenteeism and delay or not availing our children with requirements and scholastic materials to use at school, I also want to add on to what my OB Mr. Mukobolo has just said that, there are very many reasons why these children go to school and then after start absenting themselves, like he has said, we should not only look at the parents bit the schools also because they play very big roles like putting in place measures that will attract these children to attend regularly, sometimes the child compares and realizes that being at home is better than being at school, because of over flogging, mistreatment and others by the teachers, but if there is a healthy relationship or friendship between the teachers and the children, the children will prefer coming to school on a daily basis to staying at home.
I want to tell our dear listeners that another problem that we face is child labour, most children are now engaging in activities like working in sugarcane plantations because they are given some little money, hawking silver fish (mukene), tomatoes, etc. once they get that little money they choose to provide the cheap labour other than going to school hence the increased absenteeism. To make matters worse, some parents are so negligent about carrying out their responsibilities of providing for their families that children have taken on the responsibilities of being the bread earners or winners for their homes, so if we solve all those problems, we shall have regular attendances of children in schools, I have remained Ngobi Aaron, thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you for calling in, let’s have our next caller.
SALEH: Thank you for serving the nation madam Brenda, I appreciate the people you have brought in the studio, and the theme of finding solutions to the problems of absenteeism and delay or parents not giving their children scholastic materials and requirements, good thing is that most parents have taken up the responsibility because they now know the value of education and are doing the right thing, I am using this voice to appreciate the parents out there since this radio station is listened to, by most parents ,there is a lot of poverty right now and the third term is almost beginning but they are working really hard to take their children back to school, but I am begging or pleading to the teachers to take the initiative, report to school regularly because it hurts so much for a parent to sell whatever they have, pay that little money as school dues then you start dodging the children at school.
For all the parties that are concerned, even in this era we still have teachers who instead of going to school end up in drinking joints to take local brew (waragi), even those who report don’t indulge with the children but spend most of their time on social media like watsapp, Facebook, etc. some teachers just pass by school but afterwards engage in the boda boda business, so I am advising all listeners to take on their responsibilities whether you’re a teacher or a parent to solve the problem of absenteeism.
Another issue that makes the children skip school is that some teachers abuse their parents, like those ill-mannered head teachers who openly insult children’s parents like “that’s why you have a big head like for your father”, and other insults, do you think that child will have love for that school?
MODERATOR: Of course not.
SALEH: That’s why I strongly stick to my notion that teachers have played a major role in the absenteeism or irregular attendance of our children at school.
My last request is to the government of the president of Uganda to reduce taxes on the private schools because it’s the reason why there is increase in the school dues and prices of scholastic materials and requirements.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Mr. Saleh, lets first hear from the head teacher as he comments on the information mentioned by one of the callers who talked about the teachers taking responsibility and being at school when required or full time, Mr. Katooke, what can you say about this because the caller said the teachers play a role in children’s absenteeism?
KATOOKE SAMUEL: Thank you Brenda, I want to thank all the callers for calling in because they have been on point or in line with today’s theme, they have made very strong contributions, now to comment on the caller’s view, teachers and head teachers who absent themselves from school cause children to absent themselves, that school’s standard is going to drop because the head teacher is the head of the school and pivot on which the school runs but there are some head teachers who are like visitors in their own schools, the head teacher only goes to school like once or twice in a week, it will lead the teachers to emulate him/her and also keep absenting themselves because they will also show up on the days that the head teacher is present since he is supposed to monitor them, when the children notice the status quo, they will realize the school has no worth or standard, they will also attend irregularly, so the caller who mentioned that point is 100% right, like the saying goes “show me a good school and I will show you a good head teacher”.
MODERATOR: Thank you Sir, there was another one who said that some teachers abuse children’s parents, is it the same case at your school and if not, what do you think would cause a teacher to abuse a parent?
KATOOKE SAMUEL: Thank you madam Brenda, teachers are not meant to abuse parents, because we (teachers) are supposed to be exemplary in whatever we do, we are supposed to use good, constructive and healthy language when talking to, or about parents, that encourages the parent to buy scholastic materials, requirements and take his/her child to school. But some teachers bring all the problems and stresses from their homes to school, sometimes that teacher met his/her land lord on the way to school who forcefully demanded for rent, so that teacher brings all that anger and stress to school, that’s why I am requesting the teachers to leave all your problems at the school gate, so that you enter the school when your fresh and ready to build the nation through teaching the children, that child your abusing and harassing is innocent and is meant to gain knowledge and content from you, we teachers are meant to be parents and counselors who are supposed to rejuvenate these children, make them want to study and love their school.
Like one of the callers said, if the child realizes that the school has no worth and standard, that child will lose interest to go to it every day hence absenting him/herself, even if it’s in the disguise of punishment, once your over abuse or cane the child, he/she will start coming to school irregularly. If the administration doesn’t add any value onto the school, children will absent themselves, so please schools and teachers, let’s make our children and parents love their schools in order to curb absenteeism.
MODERATOR: Okay, thank you Mr. Katooke, let’s get like 2 more callers as we proceed.
SIMON PETER DAMBA: Thank you for bringing those prominent people in the studio for us, I am requesting the parents out there to listen and learn from them, now back to the theme of the day, most of the points on the issues have been mentioned but the side of the girls, other parents take the matter of providing sanitary towels (pads) to their girl children for granted, because a girl child lacking those towels can prompt her to dodge school when it’s her time of the month and she lacks them. Another issue is we should understand that girl children are also children but some parents only consider and care about the education of boy children and have negative sentiments when it comes to educating the girl children, they even make comments like “now that girl, even though I take her to school, she will not become prominent or successful in the future”, I am requesting my fellow parents who still have that mentality because they are still many to change it for the benefit of their children regardless whether their boys or the girls.
Parents and teachers should work hand in hand to also help the slow learning children because if that child is shouted at in class by a teacher when he or she asks for a repetition in explanation of content he/she hasn’t understood, then that child goes back home and the parents also shout or backs at him/her, that child will choose neither to go to school nor stay at home but will leave home and branch off in the centres simply because he/she faces hostility both at school and at home.
A child lacking scholastic materials to use at school also weakens the child’s ability to perform well as one of the guests in the studio has mentioned, whenever it’s time to use a particular scholastic material like a pencil, pen, and others weakens the child because instead of that child concentrating on what the teacher is teaching, he/she is looking out for whoever can help him/her with an extra pen or pencil and in the end misses out a lot.
Fees is also very crucial because some schools are really strict when it comes to school dues, the child may have love and interest to study but the administrators or teachers keep chasing them out because they are fees defaulters, when this is continuous, the child becomes embarrassed among his/her friends which may cause that child to start absenting him/herself.
Another issue is, the responsibility of the parents like the Reverend has mentioned, some parents don’t care whether the child wakes up to go to school or not, parents need to be strict and ensure that they don’t leave children in bed because all of a sudden, the child develops a mentality where he/she will think he is at liberty to decide whether to go to school or not, whether to be early or to be late, so the parents should always wake the children up and tell them that he wants them at school at 7:00am in the morning to solve the problem of absenteeism, thank you very much.
JACKSON FROM MAYUGE DISTRICT: All the points I was going to put across have been mentioned so I am just appreciating you for the wonderful show.
MODERATOR: Okay, Mr. Jackson, thank you for calling, let’s have our next caller.
BOSCO: I want to appreciate the theme of today’s show, the teachers of our area also first find out the family that a particular child comes from and uses that as a basis for abusing and humiliating the child plus his/her parents, sometimes the parent is poor, has managed to at least send the child to school with half the school dues but he/she abuses that child and then chases or sends that child back home, that sort of behaviour affects both us the parents and the children at large which leads to our children skipping school and then later on performing poorly, that was my issue madam Brenda, thank you once again for the wonderful show.
MODERATOR: Thank you for calling in Bosco, hello next caller!
KALORI LWANGA FROM MAYUGE DISTRICT: I am also still at school but some of the things that make us skip school are, you go to school and come back home to find nothing to eat, the parents and younger ones are also seated hopelessly, so you choose to stay at home and work or provide the cheap labour in order to provide something to eat for your parents and younger ones. But to the side of the school, you go to school and stay at the school hungry, teachers are also gloomy because they also have nothing to eat, the head teacher absents him/herself, you report to school as early as 7:00am but the first teacher makes an appearance in class at 10:00am when it’s even time for break, so you weigh and discover that it’s better to stay home and look for money than “wasting time at school”.
MODERATOR: Thank you Kalori Lwanga and everyone who has called in, thank you for being on point with today’s theme of the show, Reverend, please add onto what the parents who have called in have talked about, first of all, you said parents contribute 70% and you were still sharing with us before we went for that short commercial break, so please continue.
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Since I have come to represent parents, but I am still a man of God, others may be wondering why I am not quoting some scriptures, so let me quote some scripture, Psalms 27: 3, because we are on Busoga one, let me read it in lusoga “kale bona eno, abana n’omugabo musengwa gwakuwa, nga ekirabo” so if a parent doesn’t realize that a child is a gift from God and these days children have become more of problems, a woman becomes pregnant and says I got an accident , in this incident, that person doesn’t realize that it’s a gift from God, so the care that that parent gives that child he/she calls an accident of mistreatment, abuse and harassment is not the same care that a parent who prayed, fasted and searched for, to get a child gives of love and cherishment, the luganda Bible translation says “children are our inheritance” it goes on to say that they are like arrows in the fog at night, wherever those arrows land receives a blessing, the translation is where the arrow lands is the family, the arrow is the child, I want to tell my fellow parents out there that today it’s you who is the parent, but if you live long enough and grow old, the equation changes and the child eventually becomes your parent, so the child whom you didn’t really prepare, love and cherish, by the time your time comes of eventually calling him your father, he will not be able or in a position to provide food, sugar, food and others when your now elderly and unable to fend for yourself, instead of appreciating him/her, you end up cursing him/her simply because he/she is able to fend for you because your old and cannot fend for yourself.
But then you forget that the situation that he/she is facing in the future, he/she also regrets and says “I wish my parents had taken me and ensured I received good education, I wouldn’t be suffering like this”. Yet had you the parent, taken and ensured that your child receives good education, you and your child would be living good lives and you wouldn’t be cursing as he/she also suffers in the world.
Children are like maize, banana plantations, etc. if you only plant maize and you don’t weed or take care of it, it will not give you good yields but if you take care, through weeding, applying fertilizers, etc., you will receive very good harvests or yields. The people from Kaliro have a saying that when you don’t take good care of your millet, you will receive poor results.
We also have a belief that a every child comes into this world with his/her own gift, so if you don’t cultivate and nurture the gift in your child, by the time your old and vulnerable, you will want him/her to take care of you but in vain because he/she will also blame you for nurturing or developing that gift that he /she was born with, he will end up admiring the people who drive Porsche cars, admiring the people who employ him to dig their pit latrines because they went to school which will make him/her wish he/she had also gone to school when he/she had the chance. There was a child who said when he thinks about why he didn’t receive an education, he chooses to go and beat his father’s grave, that’s why I earlier on said that the parent contributes 70% to the child’s attainment of education.
Problem is that families have two different categories of people, if the mother’s side is full of educated people; the children have very high chances of going to school, because where she came from, they know the value of education, even though the man or husband is negligent about buying like a book for the child, the mother will always look for ways to get a book for that child, now if the husband is the one whose side has the educated individuals and the wife’s side is not educated, it becomes very difficult to convince her that we should take our children to school because she will pose the question that, don’t those who didn’t go to school eat?
All those problems and hindrances are common but once you discuss, negotiate and are on the same page about the children being a present or gift and not an accident, when you both realize that these children are the ones who will fend for you when you’re old and unable to fend for yourselves, it’s like planting a tree, when the tree grows up and it’s too hot and bright, that tree can provide shade when you sit under it, the child is the tree, during germination when it’s too hot and its drying up, you need to apply a watering can to revive it, when it’s time for resting, that’s when he/she will fend for you by providing sugar, tealeaves, medicine and other basic needs.
So please parents, let’s take the education of our children as first priority for their benefit and our as well.
MODERATOR: Okay please send greetings to two people as we conclude the show.
REVEREND ROGERS GWEBAWAIRA: Thank you, I want to send greetings to my head teacher Samuel Waziko Napeera, because we have a very healthy and good relationship, I also want to send greetings to my boss the sub-deacon of Baitambogwe, to my people of Butte, to assure them that I am coming back because I have to be present at many of your functions, my family. Madam Musobya and our children who are listening in and all the listeners, May God bless you all.
MODERATOR: Thank you Reverend, Mr. Katooke, please send out your last message to parents out there and send greetings to your loved ones.
KATOOKE SAMUEL: Thank you very much madam Brenda, I want to advise our dear parents to continue loving to educate our children, Busoga’s standard has dropped because of our poor education standard, lets change our focus and put it on the education of our children, good education is made up of teaching as you counsel and advise these children accordingly, our dear teachers, once a parent brings his/her child to school, take on the responsibility, initiative and do what you were trained to do, those teachers who don’t go to school regularly cause these children to also emulate them, hence absenting themselves as well, parents end up hating the school, head teachers, let’s find ways and incentives to make schools vibrant places for both the teachers and the children like sports, MDD, athletics, etc. in order to develop these children’s talents because some of these children may be slow in curricular but very active in the co-curricular activities.
So please parents, third term starts on the 5th-September-2022, start early to buy scholastic materials and requirements, my parents of Bulyansime P/S, please start early to prepare the 3 kg of maize that we agreed on and the 12,000/= to ensure your children start at the beginning of term to eat porridge, that money buys the firewood, buys the cups, pay the cook, by the way, our children don’t move with cups from home to school daily but we buy and keep them at school, if they move with them, some may even go with them to the latrine in the pretext of keeping them safe, now days firewood is scarce in the villages, when you tell the children to bring firewood daily, it will cause them to dodge school as the firewood is also bulky and heavy.
I want to send out greetings to my wife who is at Kampala University, Kafuko Beatrice, my lovely children that I have left at home, my parents and teachers that I love them and we should continue to love our school Bulyansime P/S so that it continues developing, thank you for listening to us.
MODERATOR: Okay thank you Mr. Katooke, thank you our dear callers for sharing with us and being in line with today’s theme, a lot has been mentioned but let me just remind you that as one of our requirements, girls need sanitary towels (pads), so if you are a parent and you know that your child is in the menstruation age but you fail to provide the towels, that child will sit at home when it’s her time of the month, so please provide her with those materials in order to enable them study smoothly. Another reminder is that children deserve to be treated equally whether a boy or a girl, parents should avoid discrimination for the benefit of the children and control or prevent absenteeism like all that has been said.
At this juncture, let me send out greetings to ELEVATE, the partners of education who are our financial sponsors and enable us to have this talk show and I want to remind you that we will back again on 10th –September-2022 for our next talk show which will be a fortnight from today, let me thank Busoga One 90.6 FM, (Omwooyo Gwa Busoga) who ensure that the machines are working and running smoothly during the show, if you want to listen to the programs like this one of Elevate Partners of education, you can visit our platforms social media handles and websites of Elevate Partners for education www.elevateeducation.org, Elevate partners of education on Facebook and twitter @ elevate ed.UG under resources, you will find all our previous talk shows that we have held from the first one to the one of today.
I want to send greeting to Community Concern Initiative Uganda and some of my parents at Magamaga, if you are in town and want to have a good meal, go to Gabula, my friends opposite Alshafa, I want to thank you all and ask you to keep listening to Busoga One 90.6 (Omwooyo Gwa Busoga).
I have remained Nakirya Brenda Doreen, until next time, good bye