While listening to the Capital Gang hosted by Simon Kasyate, sitting in for Oscar Ssemweya Musoke, I keenly listened to Col. Edith Nakalema, DPP Justice Jane Francis Abodo and the two law dons, Dr Daniel Ruhweza and my long-time friend Dr Tusasirwe.
The show was good but not to the point of elucidating practical preventive and educative measures to the fight against corruption. For instance, Col. Edith Nakalema mentioned that Bishop Lwere was leading a team of clergy in the fight against corruption. My reflection on the role of the clergy in the fight against corruption clearly showed the absence of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Church. The orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist and Muslims seemed uninvolved. As long as the mainstream religious bodies which serve as foundation bodies for our schools and hospitals are left out, we are missing the big picture.
The Anti-Corruption Unit at State House should, without fail liaise with the Ministry of Education and Sports to uproot corruption tendencies in our society to redirect the moral compass of our learners by guiding all education institutions to drop the following.
(i) printing and use of posters for school elections by learners in nursery, primary and secondary schools. This is a bad culture copied from national pollical activities that breed political corruption and moral perversion of learners at a tender age. Learners should be supported to develop creative approaches to campaigning and solicitation for leadership positions without bribing their peers.
(ii) Unnecessary interviews for learners at different class levels whose academic attainment does not require any interview fees as long as tuition is paid. This is a money-making venue for the interviewer with little or no educational benefit to the interviewee. Most times, there is no accountability for such monies to parents which of course, is corruption.
(iii) Dependence on past papers and pamphlets as alternatives for practical teaching in schools. This uncouth practice has undermined teacher creativity and research because makers of such documents are after money and not the learning of citizens.
(iv) the use of sweets, chocolate, crayons, bread and any other material items as an inducement to learners by parents and school authorities to vote for those standing for different offices as prefects in any school.
(v) refusing some types of local songs to be played during school concerts. Songs with obscenities like, “teka mundawo,” “Gundi munderi,” Kunyakunya “kunyiza ddala,” “embuziyo” by Gravity Omutujju, and other songs that denote un educative content for learners should not be left to be played by the unprofessional disk jockeys during school activities.
(vi) Commercialization of Graduation ceremonies for pre-school and nursery school learners who transit from pre-school to primary one with big parties and expenditure levied on parents. This exercise serves no academic purpose in real life of the learners but rather fulfils the economic objective of the convener of the graduation.
(vii) airing content and programs that expose learners to pornography and hard content which is responsible for the pervasive acts permeating our schools. This is a looming danger that UCC must arrest without any slumber
(viii) Rationalize with guidance from the Minister of education on content and items (requirements) to be asked by schools every term at the expense of functional fees and tuition. Like it is at higher education, learners school expenses should be categorized to avoid extortionist tendencies that most schools practice. A circular to categorize and classify fees charged at lower levels to address inhibiting costs should be issued.
(ix) Address the rampant proliferation of drugs and substances in schools especially in secondary schools. The use of drugs in schools must be tackled through routine school checks for their cause depression, addiction, intoxication and funny behaviour among learners.
Finally, the anti-corruption agenda should not be for the big fish but rather be managed in a cascade model to bring all on board.
If consulted, I have a wealth of experience in anti-corruption work, management and advocacy dating way back from the time of Counsel Raphael Baku, Robert Lugolobi, Rev. Jasper Tumuhimbise, Abon Muzamiru, the late Shem Byakagaba.
The writer is the Executive Director of Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association