For a 98-year-old, Yosam Lukwago is a strong person. He maintains the poise and dress code he cherished as a teacher, a reason he says, he will die one. Lukwago who started his teaching career at Lubiri Primary School in 1942, notes that there are two categories of teachers; those born to teach and mere teachers. The teacher who retired in 1980 after serving as a teacher at Kyebongotoko Primary School in Sembabule District, explains that teachers born to teach pursue their calling passionately whereas the rest simply choose teaching for the sake.
Asked what the characteristics of teachers born to teach are, Lukwago says they teach despite the challenges they encounter in the profession and even after their retirement, they remain influencing society in various ways.
Many people, according to Lukwago, think that teaching is only limited to ‘chalk and talk’. This too, he says, is characteristic of “mere” teachers.
“When I dress smartly, it means I am training someone to be smart. When you see me respecting people at my golden age, I am teaching the youth to do so,” Lukwago shares.
Lukwago’s 38-year career was stretched in various schools which include Lubiri Primary School, Kako Primary School in Masaka District and Kyebongotoko Primary School in Sembabule District.
He says he had the priviledge of teaching some of Uganda’s top politicians, including the former Uganda Land commission chairperson, late Joash Mayanja-Nkangi ,whom he taught at Kako Primary School in Masaka District.
Those who know him say Lukwago is a go-getter who never liked being transferred to well-established schools. “You would rather send me to a struggling or a new school and give me chance to show my potential, rather than to one which is already doing well,” he noted.
With the current events in the teaching sector where male teachers are said to have sexual relations with their female students, Lukwago says those are not teachers but people who join the profession because they lack what to do.
“How do you sleep with your daughter? Literally, when learners are at school, teachers are their immediate parents, and sleeping with them amounts to incest,” Lukwago said.
Asked about the declining academic standards, especially in public schools, the senior citizen blames the poor investment in education by both the government and the parents.
“Teachers are poorly paid yet many do not have the passion for the profession as compared to our times where we could teach happily within the conditions at the time,” notes Lukwago.
He, however, says parents should, just like their youthful days, give their children preliminary education from home before sending them to school.
Yosam Lukwago was born to Yeremiya and Zerida Mugerwa on January 20, 1920 at Kajuna, Buwunga Sub-county Masaka District. He went to Kako Primary School from 1928 to 1934. In 1936 he joined Mengo Secondary School up to 1938. He then joined Bishop Tucker College in Mukono from 1939 to 1941 where he emerged as a Grade I teacher. In 1942, he started his career as a teacher at Lubiri Primary School and retired in 1980 at Kyebongotoko Primary school, Sembabule District.
What they say
“He loved pupils and always wanted to see them excel. When he left Kako, the pupils missed him a lot.”
Daudi Lubega, former pupil
“His character as a teacher was far different from the kind of teachers we see these days; very exemplary.” Tukiko Mulenga, former colleague