What you need to know:
- Mr Eddie Kayinda, an educationist and founder of Children’s Foundation Uganda, says there are several factors parents need to consider while selecting schools for their children, some of which cut across kindergarten, primary and secondary levels
Most schools across the country officially open for term one today. While this does not include Senior One and Senior Five classes, it is also a moment for some parents to change schools for their children in other classes. However, this presents a dilemma for the parents to choose the schools that offer the right learning environment.
Mr Eddie Kayinda, an educationist and founder of Children’s Foundation Uganda, says there are several factors parents need to consider while selecting schools for their children, some of which cut across kindergarten, primary and secondary levels.
“In a kindergarten setting, we shall know that this is the first entry of the school and most of the children are three years and they have spent about 1,000 days in life,” he says.
Mr Kayinda adds that children at this level do not necessarily go to school to read and write but to learn basic manners such as sanitation, socialisation and confidence.
“Therefore, it’s critical that a parent focuses on the environment of the school, if it promotes social habits, hygiene and safety to make sure your child is not hurt or any intruder that can come in and pick a child without the administration noticing,” he says.
Quality of teachers
“At this stage, parents should also look at the quality of instructors because parents need to read through their home work to see the progress. We know that 80 percent of the teachers in kindergarten are not trained; they are either dropouts of Senior Four and Six and they do not know how to handle children,” he adds.
Mr Kayinda adds that the other issue to consider include the distance from home.
“Most schools pick children at around 6am and return them home at around 6pm when they are very tired. Therefore, parents need to get schools, which are near home so that children gets sufficient time for resting and doing his or her homework,” he advises.
Ms Sania Naggadya, the director of studies at Janan Schools, says it should be the parent or guardian to select the school for the child.
“Unfortunately these days, students choose for themselves and they end up getting problems and failing achieve their goals,” he says.
“While making choices, you must look at the discipline of the teachers and children, the way they respect each other, appearance, how they talk, respond to elders and other manners,” he adds.
Ms Naggadya adds that parents should look at the current standing of the school as well as its history.
“The background of the schools helps the parent to know what their children will reap, it’s not the matter of paying school fees and requirements but parents must be able to know the alumni of that school and how far they have gone especially for traditional schools,” she says.
She adds that parents should also consider the school’s religious affiliation to see if it suits their children to avoid future challenges of change of faith.
Mr Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the retired commissioner for primary education, also says parents should look at the school’s objectives.
“You have to make sure that you understand the mission and vision of the school and how it contributes to the education of your child, because those are the messages, which have a lot to tell about the products that will come out of that school,” he says.
Mr Lusambu adds that parents should do research about the discipline and academic performance of the schools.
“We have heard reports on schools, which are performing well in academics but when it comes to discipline, they are doing badly and this normally happens to those, which are money-minded,” he says.
Mr Lusambu adds that parents should also inquire if the school follows the national education curriculum.
“Through the national curriculum, parents have to know if there is another additional skill apart from the theory they are getting in classes because we are now moving in the world of skilling,” he says.
Mr Fagil Mandy, an education consultant, says parents should also go to schools they can afford.
“Parents must be in position to know their standards in terms of their income and they have a right to tell the school that they are very expensive compared to other schools,’ he adds.
Mr Mandy explains that a good school must be registered by the Ministry of Education, have an examination centre.
“The registration centre number means that the school is accredited to have students sitting for UCE and UACE, which is one of the qualifications for a good school,” he says.