Raising children and the creation of wealth
Posted Tuesday, February 12 2013 at 02:00
According to National Planning Authority, by the year 2040, Uganda will be “A transformed society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country.”
Some of the evidence of this transformation will be the following:
• The rate of employment will rise from the current 70.9 per cent to 94 per cent.
• Life expectancy at birth will climb from the present 51.5 years to 85 years.
• The percentage of the population with access to electricity and clean piped water will grow from the current 11 per cent and 15 per cent respectively to 80 per cent.
In those days of great wealth the percentage of standard paved road to the total road network will increase from the present 4 per cent to 80 per cent.
Let me attempt to put the development indicators into context. With 94 per cent employment level we will not need wedding meetings to raise money for intending couples and as if that is not good enough the incidence of premature death is going to drop greatly with the higher life expectancy.
As for the dust and potholes you suffer with, in 2040, they will be things that are discussed in history classes because most of the country’s roads will be paved.
Now that you are smiling because of the wonderful picture provided by Vision 2040, you and I need to quickly wake up so that we start working towards achieving this dream.
It is important to realise that the people who will deliver and sustain the vision of a modern and prosperous country are neither sitting in the Parliament nor on the Army High Command today.
The real drivers of our vision for prosperity are the young people who are 15 years and below today. The choice we must make therefore is simple; we either raise our children right or kiss Vision 2040 good bye.
If we are committed to raising children into future leaders of a prosperous Uganda, the starting point is teaching them to be responsible. Many people who are in the middle income bracket like to complain about the white collar mentality that is prevalent in our society.
Funny enough it is these same people who cannot or will not tell their children to clear up the table or make their beds but to leave such tasks to house servants. The greatest favour a parent can do for any child is to teach them to be responsible. Irresponsible citizens will not bring about a prosperous nation for the simple reason that prosperity cannot be imported.
Secondly, a prosperous nation cannot be built on a foundation of dishonesty; dishonest citizens equal a fake labour force. There was a time when lying was a monopoly of vote hunting politicians but nowadays dishonesty and lying have been nearly nationalised.
Parents connive with teachers to steal national exams for students; public servants shamelessly steal government money; a person on a Mukono bound taxi will answer a telephone call and claim that they are on a bus that is 10 minutes from Masaka town. We cannot expect a fake labour force to produce genuine products and services needed to propel the country into great prosperity.
Thirdly, the kind of education we give Uganda’s children is very important in determining what kind of citizens they turn out to be. The other day newspapers carried photographs of smiling parents and children who scored aggregate four in Primary Leaving Examination.
The truth is that the national exams have become nothing more than a national elimination process which allows for few enough students to move to the next level of education while stamping those who don’t pass well enough with a failure label.
What is even more sad is that many of the students who pass with flying colours lack important skills necessary for success in business and work; skills such as problem solving; creativity; working with numbers and the like.
We need to give children an education that goes beyond filling young minds with facts.
At the risk of irritating the Education Minister who was all praise for the performance of UPE, I am proposing that the education and examination system followed by Uganda needs urgent reform if we are to realise the dream of vision 2040.
In my humble opinion, better parenting, strong morals and a good education are three necessities for achieving vision 2040.
James Abola is the Team Leader of Akamai Global, a consulting firm. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.