Friday, July 15, 2011

Uganda part 6 - School in Uganda

I know I've posted about schools in Uganda before, but being a teacher, I am always amazed at the conditions of the schools. We complain about the number of students we have and the condition of our classrooms, but there is no comparison to the schools in the villages or the cities.

The cities have somewhat better school buildings, but it all depends on where you go to school. All schools are "pay" whether you go to private or public. Apparently there are very few public schools and they are in worse shape than the ones I will show you here! This year I did not visit any of the city schools, but I did get to visit the school in Busanna and peek in at the classrooms in Kasana since they were right next door to where we were sewing (in the church)

Many of the schools in Uganda are owned by one church or another. There are many Muslim schools, and they offer some tuition-free schools in order to build up their "clientele". There are also a lot of Christian schools and then schools that teach both Muslim and Christian theology (I don't see how that happens)

Teachers are allowed to beat the children. However, you never see any discipline problems and all of the students are quiet and attentive. Even with 50+students in a classroom! It is my understanding that many of the teachers in Uganda are working for free right now and many have not been paid in 2 years! I don't know if this is only in the villages, or in the cities as well. The pastor of the church in Kasana is also a fourth grade teacher, so I am going to try to get some pen-pal letters going with my students as soon as school starts.

Most of the schools in Uganda do not have books. Can you believe it? One school I visited a couple of years ago in Kampala had a whole room full of books, but there were no class sets of anything, so they really couldn't be used for instructional purposes. The students have composition books and copy whatever the teacher writes on the board. The teachers do not even have teacher's manuals. School in the city starts at 7am and goes until 5pm. Many of the schools are boarding schools, so even though the parents may live in the same city, the children would live at the school. Students start in "baby class" at age 3 and they have a shorter day - they only go until 1:00. I think the shorter day goes all the way up to second grade. In the villages some of the schools get out earlier, like at 2:00, but it just depends on the age of the students and the village. Many go until 4.

The students put on an assembly for us. Here they are lining up

We don't have any of these at my school. When the director saw me taking a picture of the goat, he asked me why. I said, "We don't keep goats at our school" He laughed and said, "These goats do not belong to the school! They belong to a neighbor. We are just keeping them here" (oh, that explains it.)

I am getting ready to start school again. Our teachers go back on August first and the students come on the fourth. I will not have 50 students in my class. I will have desks, books, and teachers manuals. I will get paid. I will have to remember these things when I am going crazy and feeling all of the stress and pressure that our schools have today!

I have more pictures here if you are interested.


Elaray said...

Wow, Nancy. I'm a school-based speech-language therapist in a large city and I complain about the conditions at my schools all the time. My favorite complaint is that speech-language therapist seldom have a nice speech room and when we do, we are the first to get moved out of the room. Your post really changed my attitude. I'm glad you are posting about your experiences in Uganda. You are helping the the people of Uganda directly and people like me indirectly. God bless you.

Lynn said...

Nancy, Hypatia taught both Atheists, Christians, and Jews and it worked out well for her classes until the radicals.

My husband went to Catholic schools and they would often read and have the children take dictation, much like Charlotte Mason did. This method seems to teach listening skills, writing skills, and memory skills, all pluses in my book.

I do wonder about children with undiagnosed eye problems. How do they handle those situations? Hyperactivity? Is this a problem or is our American diet to blame?

Dharma said...

Nancy, thank you for writing about your school visits. I teach at a private school and some days can get stressful. I need to remember my blessings. I have parents and grandparents that give their support in many ways. Also, I have more than enough in the way of supplies and curriculum.