Dear Mother Janet Kataha Museveni
Mayi, nakhuselele ni shitibwa which you deserve. May, mulembe naabi. Mulembe naabi naabi.
I write to you out of respect. You are a mother. So am I. I would like to remind you of something.
Banning pre-P1 (Grade 1) kids from returning to school has a double sword. As a fellow parent and pedagogie (you and I), we know the importance of Early Childhood Education. So, I read with shock that your Ministry of Education and Sports was not allowing pre kindergarten kids back in school per your plan of re-opening schools. I think you should fire your Edcucation Advisors and Consultants. I can help you for free for you to appreciate the importance of Education. You should not even be paying those people because there are many Ugandans who have better ideas.
Children need Early Childhood Education. Children need structure. Children need social skills which are learned by interacting with their peers (age mates). Granted, some children do not have to go to nursery or kindergarten because they might have parents who are teachers. However, the majority of children in Uganda are being raised by Emiyayu and Emisegge. Do not even mind this. Most parents I interact with in Uganda are hustling. They are working day and night, every day that ends in Y. Then, how are these parents supposed to be reading for their kids (Always read to and for your kids) or help them to learn social skills for their age group.
Corona has been a gift of some sort. Kinda like a Silver Lining. Do you know how many millions or billions of people in the world don’t appreciate teachers. Until Covid. When schools closed, suddenly, most every parent learned about the WORTH of a TEACHER. We are all now stuck at home working via ZOOM while supervising school assignments and projects. Gosh, even reading the damn homework assignments. Most of us have been out of school for many years. However, suddenly, we are now having to correct the Maths assignment, Chemistry, History, English, French… nebilala nebilala. AND imagine, we still have to cook and clean. How do teachers even do their jobs?
Back to the reason why I am writing to you. Please find a way to re-open all schools for all ages. Uganda does not have many free daycares and nurseries but these little kids should really be at home instead of schools. I think that if we get the age group of 4yrs and above back in school, it will be workable.
Let me finish with a story. When my daughter, Rebecca, was age 3, she went from the daycare (Grace Church Daycare, Toronto, Ontario) to school for Pre K. In the Province of Ontario, kids start K in the year they turn age 4. We also had Natasha (age maybe 9mths). So, when Rebecca started at St. Elizabeth School (Roman Catholic School District), she had no people skills at all. She lacked social skills. One day, her teacher sent home a note with the kid “Rebecca is nice but she does not hang up her coat in her slot. She also leaves her boots lying all over. She also never does her homework. We need to meet and talk about how we can help Rebecca to integrity into society”.
I flew into a rage you cannot even imagine. What??? A child of age 3 is supposed to know how to hang up her winter coat and take off her winter boots and put them some place. She is also supposed to do 30mins of homework daily? The child is only age 3 for crying out loud!!
To cut the long story short. I drove into the school the next day and demanded for an AUDIENCE. “She is a child. She does not need homework. She will learn to place things in the right places if you teach her. Do not send any homework. I am not raising a genius. I am raising a child. By the way, she still bites her little sister (Natasha). May be teach her that biting her little sister is not good. Do not ever send me any homework for a child. Thank you.”
Believe me, by age 5 when Rebecca was now in Senior Kindergarten, she was no longer biting her little sister. She also had learned to put her coat in her cubicle. She had learned to unlace her winter boots. She was no longer throwing trantrums at the other kids or calling her teachers “They are so mean mommy”.
Consequently, some of the things you expect us as parents to teach our children are better taught in a school environment. Not many of us parents have the luxury of hiring nannies and tutors to teach our kids basics. In fact, it is a proven fact that children who are home schooled have a hard time when they go out in society. For example, our Natasha was raised at home till she joined K at age 4. We had been traumatized by Becks’ experience in going to school at age 3. Yes, bla bla… one of us had to quit a job to raise the kids.
First day on the school bus, age 5, Natasha announces “My name is TashaBooBoo. if you bully my sister sitting over there or me, I will beat the shit out of you. I am 5yrs old and I have been taking Taekwondo lessons”. The child had ZERO social skills. This is what happens when you leave parents to raise kids. But then again, the person who was rasing this kid at home had been watching WWF (World Wresting Federation)!!
PLEASE OPEN ALL THE SCHOOLS. Even nurseries. Parents are struggling just to pay bills. You should not entrust the future of Uganda in the hands of parents who can barely pay school fees or feed their kids.
Thank you. MLN
PS: You should consider putting me on your Education Consulting team. I have a lot of experience and this is a FACT. Nothing I ever learned or did prepared me for parenthood. I gambled through it all. Yet, it is what I consider my most important achievement in my life. Being a Parent is a Gift.