Lessons from Tororo Primary One pupil

Ugandans need ‘childish’ thinking to live with high expectations of public officials and ask bold questions on public accountability. This is what a Primary One pupil of Namwaya Primary School in Tororo District did.

The boy surprised his school assembly when he tasked Tororo District Council chairperson Emmanuel Osuna to explain why his school operates without a pit-latrine. Mr Osuna acknowledged the problem and pledged to intervene but blamed it on the laxity of the school management committee.

Currently, this report of show of courage is trending on social media. The story carried in Daily Monitor last week had 47,360 readers viewing the post, and another 4,099 having read it. And 316 readers liked the story another 176 posting comments on it, and 64 shared the story.

This incident exposes one of 10 unmet demands in the Teachers’ Manifesto, an audit of NRM Government’s Performance on Commitment to the Teachers’ Demands, issued in June. One of them required government to ensure sustainable and meaningful citizen participation in education. Another tasked government to address the weak management links in public schools, which include the weak Boards of Governors (BoGs) and School Management Committees (SMCs).

But Tororo boy’s concern endorses the Teacher’s Manifesto audit that government has not progressed in educating the parents, elected leaders and administrative leaders to play their role in supervision of schools. The problem also shames government for not having in place awareness programmes to educate the community. The Teacher’s Manifesto report says only 24 per cent of schools have functional SMCs. This also points to mixed signals about parents’ contribution under universal education schemes, and also no clear policy on roles of Parents Teachers Associations. Little wonder our children go to schools without pit-latrines.

Ugandans must be worried that it now takes a P.1 pupil to point at the logs in adults’ eyes. As many readers cited, the little boy has proven wiser than the school authorities, the district inspector of schools and education officer. Another reader said the boy should be made the school’s chairperson of board of governors. These viewpoints should wake up the government to fulfil the Teachers’ Manifesto.
As extraordinarily intelligent young Adora Svitak says, the grown-ups need willingness to learn from children as much as willingness to teach them. The little schoolboy, more than teachers, SMCs, and BoGs, has shown more mark of duty and responsibility as a citizen.
The Tororo schoolboy knew his rights and claimed them. This is a lesson for us all.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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