NEW VISIONS, NEW HORIZONS WITH INTEGRITY

Speech "At the Beginning of Year Staff Workshop", 29th January 2018, TUZIMBE MAIN HALL, King’s College, Budo, Uganda; http://www.kingscollegebudo.sc.ug

By Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, Former Presidential Candidate

GUEST OF HONOUR
The Head Master, Mr. Patrick Bakka Male
The Deputy Head Teachers
The School Teaching and Support Staff
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is really a great pleasure for me to be here this afternoon and I'm very excited about the outcomes of this staff workshop. I would like to commend the tradition of organizing an annual workshop at the beginning of each academic year with the aim of revitalizing the school teaching and support staff and preparing them for the academic year.

Right from the onset, I would like to state that your number one stakeholder is the students. Whatever you do is aimed at giving them a life changing experience both academically and socially. The proverb that ‘’It takes a village to raise a child’’ is still relevant today as it was in the old days. Indeed, it takes an entire community of different people interacting with children in order for children to experience and grow in a safe environment and become responsible citizens of integrity.

For instance, most of the students in the secondary education system are in the age range of 12 to 18 years. This period is critical for their personal development and determines what kind of adults they shall become. Those in boarding schools like King’s College, Budo spend more than 70% of the time at school compared to less than 30% at home. The time at school is shared among the school administration, staff and fellow students whereas the time at home is shared among the parents, relatives, the house helpers and the community. For working parents, most of them spend an average of 20% of the holiday time with their children and the rest is spent with the house helpers, relatives and the community. When these students turn 18, they become adults and start on higher education with minimal guidance and supervision from their parents. Furthermore, while in nursery and primary schools, the students spend more than 60% of the time between the age of 3 and 12 at school. Therefore, it takes the parents, teachers and other staff at school, house helpers and other people at home to raise a child.

So who are the persons at the centre of molding our children into citizens with integrity? There are two communities that contribute to the development of our children into adults, i.e. the school community and the home community. The teachers are at the centre of the school community whereas the parents are at the centre of the home community. Due to the fact that the students/ children spend more time at school than home, the role of the school community especially the teachers needs to be broadened beyond teaching. Since students between the age of 3 and 18 spend most of their time at school with the school community, the school community must be empowered to take up a leading role in parenting, spiritual nourishment, career guidance (including selection of subjects for Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and selection of combinations for Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE), handling relationships, instilling nationalism, dos and don’ts, and inculcating a value system of that particular school. Essentially schools need to be empowered to play the additional roles demanded by society in raising children. More specialised staff need to be engaged in proportion to the number of students to provide these specialised services.

As the saying goes, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". This needs to be reflected in the way you teach the students. The students need lifelong learning skills, research skills, problem solving skills and analytical skills among others that they can use even long after they have left school. Most employers are no longer interested in academic papers but in the skills one brings on board. Also there are skills that are not examinable in schools today but are very important in shaping the students when they join the world of work. Therefore, King’s College Budo needs to engage experts to develop the talent of the students in debate, public speaking, sports, music, dance and drama, preaching, innovation, entrepreneurship etc. We need to focus more on nurturing young musicians, innovators and young entrepreneurs as opposed to what is currently being taught in music and entrepreneurship. Can schools like King’s College, Budo focus on producing international sportsmen and ladies, artists, musicians, innovators, entrepreneurs, etc. in addition to training students in the traditional subjects examinable by Uganda National Examinations Board? Going by the world trends, these have the potential to become billionaires and give back to the school. Today it is a shame that we have lawyers, politicians, preachers, teachers etc. who cannot ably deliver their message to the intended audience. King’s College, Budo cannot ably undertake the increasing mandate with its limited funding where a student still pays less than UGX 1.3 million per term. The school needs to partner with parents, alumni, reputable private and public sector sector organisations like MTN, NSSF to raise the additional funds.

Furthermore, King’s College, Budo is one of the best schools that admits the best students in the country. Some of these fail to make it and end up dropping out of King’s College, Budo. The success of the school should be measured by how it turns around the 1% of its poorly performing students into academic giants. The parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:1-7 should motivate you to look out for the lost/ poorly performing 1% of your students. Also there is still stigma among the girls’ community. Most girls still think King’s College, Budo is a boys’ school. So more effort is needed to continue integrating the girls into the school community and addressing the gender gaps with an aim of ensuring that girls and boys in the school appreciate gender equity. Last year, while I was waiting for my daughters here at King’s College, Budo, a girl walked to me and we started talking about national issues. I was impressed by her articulation of issues. Later, she told me that she has to change school to be become a Head Prefect because she cannot realise her dream at King’s College, Budo as girls are not allowed to contest for the position of Head Prefect. I was touched by this. As a father of girls and an advocate of gender equity, I found this very touching. We should be raising girls who are unstoppable and this we can only do by removing such gender barriers. Since 29th March 1906, King’s College, Budo has transformed and can still transform by embracing gender equity amongst students and staff.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can not give what you don’t have. A tree must be bent while it is young. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The alumni of King’s College, Budo are part of its legacy and tradition. So anything you want them to be must be imparted in them while they are still at King’s College, Budo. If you don’t make humility, integrity, ethics, critical thinking, analytics, emotional intelligence etc. part of their personal development while still at King’s College, Budo, don’t expect them to acquire them later in life.

Integrity and morality are intertwined. Morality means principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad; a particular system of values and principles of conduct; or the extent to which an action is right or wrong. On the other hand, Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or the state of being whole and undivided. King’s College, Budo, just like any other great school with a great tradition must guard and protect its legacy. In historical terms, a legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. In case of a person, legacy is what will speak for you long after you are gone. So what is the legacy of both current and former staff and students of King’s College, Budo and how does it contribute to the legacy of our great school? The legacy of King’s College, Budo is the sum total of the legacy of all the people that have been part and partial of King’s College, Budo. For instance, the alumni of King’s College, Budo include three Presidents, one Vice President, two Prime Ministers, and one Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, and 3 Kings of Buganda Kingdom, various royals, justices of the supreme court, politicians, chief executives, academics, doctors, engineers, clergymen and sports personalities among others. This is part of King’s College, Budo legacy. So what kind of alumni has King’s College, Budo produced over the years? As they say, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. ‘’Birds of a feather flock together’’-- people of the same sort or with the same/ similar tastes, characters and interests will be found together. By and large, Budonians have remained people of integrity whether in politics, legal practice, private or public service to mention but a few. Budonians must continue to stand out in society and should never be associated with social ills like crime, delinquency, discrimination, drug addiction, corruption, rape, sexual harassment, cheating, stealing etc.

As King’s College, Budo, you need to make it clear to students about the dos and don’ts of staff and alumni of King’s College, Budo. You need to give them vivid examples of people who should be their role models and the people they should detest. For example, people who aid cheating or cheat in examinations, people who steal, people who are corrupt, people who are rapists, people who sexually harass students and staff, people who have no morals, people with no values, people with no integrity have no place at King’s College, Budo and should never be allowed to associate with King’s College, Budo. King’s College, Budo should have a policy of withdrawing recognition from its alumni and staff if they go against what it stands for. For instance, doctors, lawyers and accountants can have their practicing certificates withdrawn from them by their professional bodies on account of gross misconduct.

Below I give you two great examples in the bible of people who had integrity:

Joseph never gave up on his religious culture but became Prime Minister of Egypt. Genesis 37-41 gives Joseph’s journey from having dreams to being the 2nd in command (Prime Minister) to Pharaoh in the whole of Egypt. One statement that demonstrates Joseph’s commitment to his God is in Genesis 41:16 “‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’” Yes, if we want to serve God we had better forget thinking about how clever we are, or how gifted we are, or how lucky God is to have us serving Him. The truth is that without Him, without His Presence, without the power of His Spirit, you and I can do nothing, for as Jesus said: “apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

On the other hand, the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi teaches us the importance of being loyal and the blessings that God can pass unto us when we are kind-hearted, humble and act with utmost integrity. Ruth 1:16-17: But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

God rewards people of integrity; Joseph became Prime Minister over the whole of Egypt and Ruth, a Moabitess got married to Boaz, a well-to-do landowner of the tribe of Judah near Bethlehem (Ruth 4: 1-12).

In Africa, we proudly talk about our Icon Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary. A man who stood by his word; sacrificed any relationship with anyone who acted contrary to his values of promoting peace and human rights; led South Africa to independence; and worked for the good of the then oppressed black and coloured population of South Africa. Today his legacy is recognized world over. In Uganda, we talk about people like Justice James Ogola, Hon. Abubaker Kakyama Mayanja (RIP), Matthew Lukwiya (RIP) and others.

As an individual, do you ever wonder if anyone would gladly add you to such a list? Do you ever sit back to think about the legacy that would live long after you are gone? Today, I challenge you to do that because when you work towards having a great legacy, you will know the importance of it living long after you through the people you influence and in your case, these are our children at King’s College, Budo.

It is unfortunate that people of integrity are becoming endangered species. If we don’t step up as teachers and influencers of generations, we risk this specie going extinct. Is that what we want for this and the generations to come? I want each one of us to think about what role we have played to protect this specie? If we can’t see it right away, chances are high that we haven’t done our best. I urge us all to influence our students to uphold the great legacy of being a Budonian, but also the great legacies of us as individuals.

I cannot end my speech before urging all of you be to be leaders in whatever position you hold. The greatest act of leadership is what happens in your absence. For teachers what will happen in your absence i.e. when you retire or die? Success without a successor is failure. So your legacy must be in people. The greatest act of a leader is mentoring. So who are you mentoring to take your place as an English teacher, as chemistry teacher, as head cleaner etc.? Jesus mentored and restored Peter (John 21:15-19) to take over from him and the church has grown by leaps and bounds in His absence. Let us emulate Jesus in whatever we do.

Humility, hard work, networks, persistence, faith and much more are all important for one to succeed. With the Lord as our God and Saviour, we can achieve much more. As I end my speech, permit me to share with you a word of God from the book of Genesis 18:14 "Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son." Indeed, it came to pass; when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90, she gave birth to Isaac. With God nothing is impossible.

"Gakyali mabaga".

I thank you.