Trivial and Daft Thoughts, Outrageous Escapades and Sometimes Serious Content As Appears In My Sunday Vision Column.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Museveni's Kids Can't Read or Do Sums
Are our children getting the best
education? Weeks ago, I was invited by former students of Kitante Primary
School to read to the children. “P4 students” so Kenneth Kayondo, an old boy of
the school and one of the organisers informed.
I'm In Charge
But hold up a minute, WTF do I TB, know about P4 students! Back
at home I went through my book collection trying to find something suitable and
void of profanity. First book I picked up - Fifty
Shades of Greyby EL James. So NOT a good idea! How about Jackie Collins - Confessions of a Wild Child that The Ex
left behind when she moved out? Never to have read any of her books so I
quickly flipped through it and there on page 68 I think it was, were paragraphs
of steamy and raunchy content which, Father Lokodo and his Porn Committee would
have wasted no time demanding Aristoc remove from the shelves.
Ten books later and with nothing
appropriate I evoked Plan B. Magazines. First magazine that fell out of the
dusty box was err, Playboy which
featured the model Naomi Campbell. Nuff
said. So to Kitante I went empty handed, but I need not have worried because appropriate
books were provided.
One thing about standing at the
front of the class and looking down at 30+ kids staring back at me, is that
within two minutes, I had spotted that boy who was going to drop out and end up
as a taxi tout near Radio One and the girl destined to be a salon assistant.
As the reading got underway with
the book – Greedy Monkey Loses a Best
Friend, there was something troubling about it - nothing to do with content
or the illustrations, but with the grammar. Yes, we writers make mistakes and
on occasion, I have spotted minor errors in this column when reading it in Sunday Vision, but by then it’s too late
to do anything about it.
Full of Errors
In the book, the mistakes were
not minor but unforgivably colossal – almost from page one through to the end. Imagine
the word ‘father’ was spelt as ‘farther’. In a number of paragraphs some words suddenly
sprung up in upper casing. Full stops were omitted and commas put in the wrong
Now how are we supposed to get
our children to read and write to a level that is above par from books that are
littered with spelling errors and grammatical gaffes? Did the author of the
book not read through it before it was sent to the printers? And frankly
speaking, whoever did the proof reading should be banished to the furthest
corner of Uganda to re-read the book – How
To Learn Your Alphabet.
Kitante aside, last month Daily Monitor ran a story that made for the
most disconcerting reading. It said: “Uganda is second in the world with pupils
who can’t count.” At school I was poor at maths, but thankfully when I was in
P4, I could easily count past 5 unlike kids today.
The Damming Report
Days ago, a friend of a friend
asks if I could “lift him to the main road”. I sat rooted to my seat while my
brain tried to decipher what he had said. Brain drew a blank so there was a
need to ask that he repeat himself. And again he said: “Can you lift me to the main
road?” After going back and forth for an eternity, I eventually grasped he was
asking for a lift in the car to the main road. And he’s a Makerere University
Suffice to say Uganda is not
alone in giving children a substandard education. Recently in Nigeria, 75% of
the 21,780 teachers in Kaduna State failed to pass exams set for six-year-olds.
Pictures: Daily Monitor, New Vision, Kitante School Reading Club