EDUCATION

Education expert Jonathan Kivumbi, takes on St. Henry’s College, Kitovu, over extortion, seeks First Lady’s intervention

St. Henry’s College Kitovu in Masaka City (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA — One of the core principles of the Toyota Production System is, “Making problems a top priority.”

Often times, managers and employees have a tendency of reporting good news first, usually because that is what their peers and superiors want to hear.

The Toyota Production System policy, however, places emphasis on problems, and not necessarily achievements. That is, at Toyota, problems come first.

When the imperfections are completely disclosed, the problem solving capabilities of the full team can then be applied to remedy the situation. Withholding problems for even a moment jeopardizes Toyota’s quest for continuous improvement. To get better remedy, problems must come first always.

It is therefore against this background, that I have always been fast to speak up whenever I see a problem, specifically in the education sector, of course, with hope that the concerned authorities can remedy the problem.

During the last Presidential address, His Excellency the President, made it categorically clear that primary and secondary institutions will re-open in January 2022. I wonder how, and from where, some heads of schools get the audacity to go against this directive!

The headteacher of St. Henry’s College Kitovu for example, on Thursday September 30, 2021, issued a circular, addressed to parents/guardians, in which they were informed that phase two of online lessons resumes on Monday October 4, 2021.

For goodness sake, from where does the headteacher of St. Henry’s College Kitovu, Brother Augustine Mugabo, derive the audacity, to set his own date for the resumption of learning in secondary schools, particularly in St. Henry’s College Kitovu?

Should we, therefore assume that the headteacher in question, has the moral authority, to deliver directives, contrary to those issued by the president, concerning the fate of education amidst the prolonged lockdown?

Sincerely speaking, students and parents/guardians are now in a state of confusion, on whose directives to follow. Should they, in your opinion, follow the instructions from the president or the ones from the headteacher of St. Henry’s College Kitovu?

Should students and parents/guardians wait for January 2022? Or should they do as instructed in the same highly controversial circular, signed by Brother Augustine Mugabo, the headteacher of St. Henry’s College Kitovu?

In the same highly controversial circular, the headteacher continues to assert that each student is required to pay UGX 100,000/= per month to meet operational costs. But surely, aware of the fact that, before the second lockdown in June, students in S1 and S2 had just reported for school, after their parents/guardians had paid school fees, why should the headteacher charge the same parents/guardians again, really?

In the first place, what is this sum of money, according to Brother Augustine Mugabo, going to operationalise, surely?
With St. Henry’s College Kitovu having an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, don’t you think that the headteacher and/or the administration of St. Henry’s College Kitovu have a sole agenda of swindling this money?
By simple calculation, if 1,000 students raise UGX 100,000/= per student, per month, for three months (October to December), it amounts to a tune of UGX 300,000,000/= Hmmmmm!

The circular issued to parents by St. Henry’s College Kitovu (PHOTO /Courtesy).

For goodness sake, what is 300 million meant to operationalise, surely Precisely, doesn’t this whole process amount to extortion of money from parents/guardians?

Those who will not have paid will not be let in to the lessons, the controversial circular continues to read.

For goodness sake, doesn’t this amount to sabotaging the students’ fundamental right to education? Precisely, how does the school administration and/or the headteacher expect parents/guardians to raise this money, moreover after paying school fees the previous term before the second lockdown, of which school fees wasn’t fully utilised, surely?

If I may ask, did the headteacher and/or the school administration seek clearance from the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education and Sports, as the law requires, before arriving at the figure of UGX 100,000? Precisely, can Brother Augustine Mugabo furnish the public with evidence, that the Permanent Secretary endorsed this highly controversial scheme?

Aware of the fact that St. Henry’s College Kitovu is a public school, whose operations are controlled by the Ministry of Education and Sports, is this highly controversial scheme in line with the directives from the same ministry?

When I talked to some of the students from the same school, they informed me that the school administration warned them, that, whatever will be covered under this controversial scheme, will not be covered afresh, upon the resumption of school operations in January 2022, as per the presidential directives! Hmmmmm!

If I may ask, what justification does the school administration have, that all all students will attend these lessons? Is the school administration aware that most students do not have stable network, wherever they are?

According to the circular in question, parents/guardians are expected to supervise learners during this exercise! Hmmmmm!
How possible will this surely be, given the fact that most/guardians are full time workers?

Lessons will be running from 8am to 3:30pm, the controversial circular continues to assert! Surely, does the school administration expect students to afford the required data costs, five days a week?

Isn’t the administration of St. Henry’s College aware of the fact that majority of the students and/or parents/guardians may not afford the required facilities, surely?

Aware of the fact that there are students whose parents/guardians cannot afford smart phones and/or laptops, what arrangement does the school administration have for such students, now that they have been warned, that, whatever will be covered under this controversial scheme will not be covered afresh, upon resumption of school operations in January 2022 as per the presidential directives?

Should we assume that St. Henry’s College is the only school, country wide, running this highly controversial scheme. Precisely, don’t you think that there are other schools elsewhere, running the same controversial scheme?

Should we now sit back, surely, and watch as schools gang up to extort money from parents/guardians?
Precisely, shouldn’t we really stand up and fight for the fundamental rights of children, of which education is part?

For goodness sake, why doesn’t St. Henry’s College and, of course, all its accomplices follow the presidential guidelines regarding the resumption of school operations? Precisely, why doesn’t St. Henry’s College and, of course, all its accomplices, heed to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and/ or the Minister in Maama Janet Museveni’s address on Friday, October 1, 2021?

Our beloved Maama Janet Museveni, all our eyes are on you, students and parents/guardians need your rescue.

Jonathan Kivumbi

Educationist- communication and language skills analyst.

0770880185 (WhatsApp 0702303190)

[email protected]

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kirumira

    03/10/2021 at 9:11 PM

    Mr. Kivumbi with all due respect you are acting shallow minded here……
    Go make research, schools like Namagunga have been teaching their students online since June.

  2. Ernest

    05/10/2021 at 8:36 PM

    It is unfortunate for someone claiming to be an Education expert to reason like this. The school should be applauded for creatively continuing learning at a reasonable cost.l

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