“Education is the best weapon that can be used to change the world’, Nelson Mandela.
Fellow teachers/educators and all stakeholders in the teaching fraternity, with specific reference to the non-teaching staff in our education institutions, you will realize that we have a duty to accomplish, and that is none other than, transformation of society, through imparting knowledge, skills, and values, among other competencies into the learners.
However, you will realize that since the outbreak of CoViD-19, which ‘pandemic’ has hit the entire world, an insurmountable setback has been noticed, particularly in the education sector, making it hard for us to accomplish our principal task of transforming society, through doing the aforementioned, as already mentioned.
This, therefore, implies, even the much desired change in the world, through the adoption of education, as postulated by Mandela, can hardly be realized, that is, if it can be realized anyway.
You will realize that from the time the President announced the first lockdown on schools on March 20, 2020, the academic calendar, and, of course, the entire teaching-learning process have been adversely affected, and arguably, if we are to come out of this mess, soonest, we have to heed Maama’s call for vaccination.
Needless to emphasize the adversities posed onto the education sector, following the second lockdown of education institutions.
To those of you who read my online article about the on-line Senior One (S.1) admissions, in which I requested the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, to indefinitely suspend the entire arrangement, a request she heed, you must have realized that, throughout the entire write-up I placed a lot of emphasis on vaccination, paying close attention to stakeholders of the education fraternity.
Likewise, those of you who have been following my radio programmes, more so, on 93.9 NAMIREMBE FM, you will also realize that my message on vaccination of the population, starting with stakeholders of the education fraternity (teachers, non-teaching staff, and learners), has been well-relayed.
Therefore, now that the opportunity has come our way, it is better we take it up, before if flies out of our hands, aware of the fact that, many a time, opportunity strikes, once.
Let us put aside all the myths and/or misconceptions we have about vaccination, and get vaccinated, for, without doubt, exclusive of vaccination, there cannot be any progress in education, rest assured.
Lamentations, excuses, and worry, are not going to help us fix the so many problems that have hit us as teachers, and the education sector, at large, especially during this very trying moment-the reason we should drop all these, and storm the vaccination centres, since by so doing, we shall be moving in the direction of dealing with these adversities, as expected.
Thankfully, working closely with the Ministry of Health, the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, has assured us that vaccination centres are going to be brought closer to our education institutions.
Fellow educators, this is a golden opportunity, that we should not let go, regardless. To my dear ‘girls’ and ‘boys’, aged 18 years, and above, please kindly, follow your teachers to the vaccination centres, and get vaccinated, right away, as this is the only shortcut to having a smooth flow of your studies, like it were before. Parents and guardians, and all concerned citizens, please kindly let us spread the message.
Let us encourage these youngsters to go for their first jab, so that they can resume with their studies, soonest. The media fraternity, you are, without doubt, a force to reckon with. You people have been at the forefront of not only sensitizing us, as the public, about this deadly virus, but also educating us, about the same.
My plea, therefore, is to still urge you, spread the message of vaccination, particularly to students aged 18 years, and above, all educators, and non-teaching staff, in each and every education institution, countrywide.
Our local leaders in the community, you have done a commendable job of distributing learning materials, running after children of school-going age, found loitering, counseling parents and their children, throughout this lockdown, as well as extending the necessary help to those in need; indeed, you are greatly appreciated.
Therefore, now that even vaccination is at your doorsteps, please kindly, mobilize the aforementioned groups of people to get vaccinated, so that, as a country, we can be in position to have education institutions, in whichever arrangement, as planned by government.
‘One by one makes a bundle’, so it is said. The doses, so far available might not be enough for each one of us, but let us storm the vaccination centres, and make use of these doses, as more doses are flown into the country.
Thankfully, even the long awaited doses of Johnson and Johnson, are soon jetting in, too. In an effort to continually spread the message, the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, has shared a video-clip with the public, on YouTube, and this is already making rounds on the different social medium platforms, notably WhatsApp and Facebook; you are strongly advised to watch the video, and get the message contained, therein.
The spokespersons of the different agencies, be they private, or public, notably those in the security circles (Police and the army, in particular), I am kindly appealing to you, to equally spare a few minutes, during your press briefs, and spread the message of vaccination.
Actually, by so doing, you would have, not only helped the Education Ministry, spread the message, but you would also have reduced on your work of enforcing the President’s directives, because, once education institutions are re-opened, there is no doubt, as security, you will have less work to do, in this regard.
Please be reminded that, should the President be tempted to re-open education institutions, exclusive of vaccination of the aforementioned groups, there is no doubt, the whole arrangement shall, once again hit a snag, and most likely, the adversities realized, shall be grave indeed-the reason, we should all ensure that children aged 18 years, and above, educators, of all sorts, and non-teaching staff, in our education institutions, get vaccinated, as soon as, now.
The danger is in delay! Worry not, the parents, who, of course, are key stakeholders in the education fraternity, as well, taxi drivers and boda-boda cyclists, who transport us, to and fro, work, suppliers, and the rest of the targeted groups, will also be worked upon, as more vaccines, jet in.
To our children aged 12-17 years of age, there is no doubt, you must be the next lot to be handled, as soon as your vaccine, jets in. Please kindly, do not participate in the ongoing vaccination exercise, since this dose (drug), is not right for your age bracket.
Remember, as put forward by Richard Wright, a renowned philosopher, ‘Man can starve from lack of self-realization, in just the same way as from lack of food’. Therefore, fellow educators, going by Wright’s words, if we are to help our learners attain the self-realization that they are craving for, kindly let’s heed the Minister’s plea for vaccination, and get vaccinated, as requested, since this is for our own good.
You actually ought to be reminded that, besides being vaccinated in an effort to have education institutions opened, it is only through vaccination that your chances of death can be greatly reduced, once you contract the virus. I am for vaccination, and so, you should be, as well.
Jonathan Kivumbi Educationist-communication and language skills analyst 0770880185 (WhatsApp 0702303190) [email protected]