The future has no room for expiring degrees

Author: Angella Nampewo. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

‘‘Resilience is one such item that anyone living in today’s Uganda needs to have in plenty” 

Occasionally, I wonder if I am teaching my children the right things. Over time and as events both positive and negative unfold, that thought recurs. The saga of the so-called expired degrees is one of those events that made me pause and reflect. 

When the story broke—because it had been there simmering under the surface—I was heartbroken for the affected people who had been trying to further their education, only to be stopped by an unimaginable barrier like an expired degree.

A degree used to be just a degree period. You either had one or you did not. If you got one from a recognised institution and the right authorities signed off, no one could tell you that it had then expired. However, things have changed and now anything can happen. 
I am grateful to my parents that I have only occasionally needed academic papers to prove my worth. I have also begun to rethink my in-house curriculum to introduce or enhance values and intangible skills that these expiring degrees may not offer.

Resilience is one such item that anyone living in today’s Uganda and the one of the future needs to have in plenty. The moral corruption alone leaves me gaping every time at the number of things I suddenly start to think I have not emphasised enough. I often wonder if the kids will have enough grit and if their upbringing gives them a fighting chance.
And when I say moral corruption, I don’t mean the things that our authorities choose to worry about. I mean the real problems like widespread distribution and use of illicit drugs, growing criminal enterprise among young people, and such.

It is not all doom and gloom though. The issues that often challenge me and sometimes make me smile to myself have to do with the impatience of the young ones with a system that seems to be too slow for them in education and other spheres. 

We have given them technology, basically given them wings to fly but for most, there appears to be a cage over the air space. Sometimes, the discussions we are having are about the kids telling me to get with the programme and showing me examples of their peers within these pearly borders who have broken the barriers and are now cruising at 16, 17 or 18 years of age. 

The conversations, which are backed by names, faces and figures are about demystifying success and whether you have to wait for a certain prescribed deadline to take off or you can just get going now. 
These are good conversations to have. They keep me on my toes and put me back in touch with the world as it is and not how we perceived it or were taught to expect.
Somehow, when we are in this super enthusiastic space with all the bursts of energy and people rearing to go, I am reassured that perhaps I am not doing too shabby a job in preparing my people for what seems to me a scary future. 
The way things stand, perhaps they will find their own way to handle the good and the bad; probably more creatively than their predecessors. 

What I am gathering is that the future is smart and it will be here sooner than we expect because it doesn’t have time to waste with all the roadblocks we have staged in its path. The future, at least part of what I have seen, will have no use for these expired degrees because they are ready to go now.

Ms Nampewo is a writer, editor and communications consultant     
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