Sunday September 8 2013

Reflections: Makerere dons need to retake their exams

By Brian Mutebi

The lecturers’ strikes at Makerere University are pointers to the poverty in our view of education. It is wrong to limit education to acquiring academic information and social status.

True education is translation of information into practical transformation of the nation. Uganda apparently has some of the best brains when it comes to writing proposals and project papers but lacking in implementation skills.

There may be many explanations for this misnomer but there is a major one. Promotion of students and academics without proof of practical application of their studies. Since the past and current academic leaders in the highest institutions of learning missed it, we are caught in a cycle of producing academicians with no practical proof of their great learning. They end up as dependents on the unlearned yet the reverse should be true.

The gospel lecturer at the Life University, Paul the Apostle made this statement to his protege Timothy: “You, however, have followed my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, as well as the persecutions and sufferings that happened to me. I endured these persecutions and the Lord delivered me from them all.”

It is obvious that Paul taught by both word of mouth and practical demonstration in his lectures. No wonder his students all were committed to blessing his life. Our academic leaders missed this exam which they need to take or retake.

The lecturers have what it takes to get the government to be dependent on them other than the reverse. He who pays the piper calls the tunes is what is taught in the literature lessons at the university. As long as government is paying, they will call the tune entitled “go rear goats.”

Yet this jesting by government leaders may be the ‘ eureka’ word for the lecturers that will propel them above their leaders.

David in the Psalms said I am better off than my instructors because I take time to meditate on the Word of God.

There is more to the life of the lecturer than a salary and allowance increment. Lecturers should aspire to be practical in all the faculties at the university. For example, why should the agriculture faculty be languishing when billions are set apart for agriculture in Uganda? With Naro failing, why shouldn’t the professors be profiteering from this business by establishing a system that works at national level and sell it to any government that wants to gain the votes? Why has faculty of political science failed to produce ‘the presidential candidate’ that will swipe all the votes of the nation? Can’t medical school produce top notch doctors, who in conjunction with the top business proprietors run hospitals that will treat these jesting leaders?

Please recognise what you have in your hands. And don’t be deceived to think that salary increment is the answer. Stop striking in the air and go for the real gold that God has put in your heads and hands. Do your retake in practical education and graduate into government masters not beggars.