The Realities – Meeting The Expectations Of Child Education As A Right


Education is commonly perceived as one important and rewarding adventure anyone ought to take. Before the coming of missionaries to Africa, there was the informal type of education prepared for the child; right from birth.

Expectations and responsibilities were outlined for the child through different stages of life -for example; domestic roles, understanding family and clan history, artisan works, farming, hunting, marriage responsibilities, parenthood, social norms, and preparing oneself and others for death.

Then, there came missionary and/or religious instruction, which had isolated places -where children could converge for instructions to become medical workers, lawyers, bankers, office clerks, clerics and teachers.

The earlier (African) education system was compulsory -meant to ensure family and social responsibility, while western type brought in new cultures and marketed them like the best options for Africans.

It even detached communities from their original roles -and Africans began examining themselves more as individuals than community members. And, as of now, not any one can entirely access it, but rather, the privileged few.

With curiosity being an instinctual part of a human being, man’s spiritual-persona and his relentless effort to fill knowledge or spiritual gaps could be fun adventuring in both systems (African tradition and Western traditions). In that way, the different gaps, which might be created under globalization would be filled.

As education disparities rose sharply, more children missed out -because of either poor local attitudes towards classroom-education or strong emphasis for the traditional education system, which emphasized married and family responsibility at some stage. As of 2008 in rural Mayuge, the highest level a child went with education was mostly (over 80%) primary seven -to pave way for marriage and handyman-ship.

It is the successful education modernists, who wanted other community members to make careers through western, and felt African educational arrangement must be broken through initiatives as right to education (western type). In the traditional way, interestingly, it was as though natural going through its educational drills.

In the western type, today, deficits are realized to necessitate the institution of initiatives as education as a right. But, it becomes favorable accessing an all-round education that considers both traditional and western systems -which curiosity cannot hesitate to take on.

But, how ready are Africans to receiving some “strange” lessons from the western education system, as acceptance to homosexuality -with it as alternative sexual lifestyle alongside primary hetero-sexual one?

In some areas of Africa, gay ideology has already taken root and being practiced, while in others like Uganda, it is still alien and being strongly resisted in an attempt to protect cultural and religious positions.

But,then, such would contradictory -having noted that the practice has been in the traditions of Buganda (in the Kings palace) and among some Christians (mainly in the catholic religion), according to history.

Morality to them was another issue. Perhaps, the crusade against gay relationships could focus more on set and desired morals than merely being cultural and religious, since historically both failed to stop gay practice in Buganda in particular and Uganda in general.

It, indeed, could mean having to form expected or standardized social values and behaviors that provides for an African position on gay proposals and practices, and have them approved by people’s parliament.

And about how morality is being defined to those who need to know, must be made clear and explained to support the set moral grounds -upon which gay culture would have been made illegal. Otherwise, human curiosity will continuously be defining and re-defining morality in its own way -and begging for what it finally considers morally right.

In rural Mayuge District, parents -who made successful careers in agro-business, found little “substance” in having to take their children to school. Since the children have grown up seeing family wealth being generated through farming, carpentry, building and transportation business, they would look out to such economic activities, as well.

Following the suppressed feelings about education as an avenue to success, very poor attitudes towards it would contagiously spread through families to communities, as would be for the generations to come.

The children, on top of the conflict between educational pressure and resilience, developed “very poor” attitudes towards seals off their mindsets, so much that it could take a big community (multi-dimensional) intervention to help reverse the then “bad” community trend.

The disabled children, on the other hand, get either the worst audience or simply lack a voice that addresses their educational challenges. Deep in rural areas, they chronically face stigma and abject lack of attention -as though life imprisonment to them by the communities in which they live.

Poverty turns hopes of caregivers having their disabled children get meaningful educational life deem. Besides, their specially-tailored services are limited to towns such that between rural areas and town are several miles -which make it too expensive for a peasant family to travel.

In recent times, education has been categorized as a need that must be matched with other human needs and priority ones taken. As the case for most Ugandans today, if one cannot find food, shelters, clothing and life insurance, he or she could find education as a secondary need or something that has to be relaxed for what is basic.

To some, in the view of others focusing on basic needs, it could seem as though a deliberate vote for ignorance. Doing so, however, would so much of mockery. It is only the very poor, who could best understand the basic needs point.

Now, with roaming poverty, affected communities will view education as a privilege that is hard to attain. Even with universal primary education (UPE) and universal secondary education (USE) programs in place; lack of clothing, child-starvation and inability to concentrate on learning could only lead to subsequent program failures -as policy-makers sit in their comfort zones assuming all is well.

Rather than aggressive and continuous monitoring and evaluation of the program, the boneless politicking on how successful it could have been, coupled with corruption cancer -soon overshadows its progress cyclically as more funding is injected.

Along with domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, matters worsen for child-education in as far as acceleration of failure rate of the program is concerned. Of course, there is a big question of quality education; where it can be found and its affordability -to determine actual right to and benefit from it.

What children see as negative outcomes (as unemployment) from their elders’ education accomplishments could lead to huge discouragement -with it (education) having failed to transform them into responsible citizens, to address real life or community needs, and seem more of time wasted at school than an investment or an asset.

As parents begin to view education as reliability and a source of poverty, they could get tempted to phase out the obligation to educate their children in favor of the much needed economic solutions like investing in a family farm project, hotel businesses or any other profitable business venture.

Because of that, child education could cease to be a right and become a burden, which families and/or communities will want be excused from and, as a strongest appeal to whoever viewed it the contrary.