21 February 2013

Uganda: Makerere Strike a Great Embarrassment


The same day the media reported that Makerere University had improved ranking 9th among all African universities; her students went on a violent strike over the university's demand that they pay 60% of their tuition in the first month of the semester.

The students were shown on TV vandalising university property and grabbing food stuffs and drinks from neighbouring kiosks while the owners ran for their lives! What an embarrassment and contradiction to MUK!

Over the years, MUK, like some other institutions of learning, has almost become synonymous with unending violent strikes for reasons sometimes a little justifiable but not so bad to warrant nasty strikes as we've come to witness. They could well be settled in-house!

Ok, be it insensitive and unfair as some students would want the public to see of MUK, but still do two wrongs make a right? Is violence the best option or doesn't it simply perpetuate the problem? And if they are rioting over a month's ultimatum for 60% of tuition, why attack neighbour's small businesses, who are also struggling to patch lives and keep their own children in schools?

But it all goes back to poor parenting and upbringing! Our society is slowly dissenting into a generation of highly learned and informed people but with a gross lack of morals! Some, of course, lack good example from their own parents who may even be worse! More so, most of such children are "products of Maids and TVs".

True, not all maids are immoral, but even the very few that may be good have less time for other people's children and much less will give them the exact care and moral instructions as would their own parents.

Sadly, most parents today in hoping to buy their children's love actually pamper and spoil them both at home and in school.

They give them everything they ask for without considering their relevance and consequences. Why would you give your child pocket money that supersedes their school tuition only to hang out in places you, their parents, can only dream about?

Can you teach them the importance of working for something one needs or a little patience, when they can't have what they want, when they want it? Most youth today demand and never kindly request for things: "I want..." Can you teach them to say: "May I..., please?!; I would like... Could you please..." What's hard? No wonder, please forgive the phrase, they behave like rapists! You either do what they want or they'll get it forcefully!

And to my dear youths, the Baganda say: "Okalya dda kada dda!" loosely meaning that the consequences of your actions today will be felt in future! Do you want to be shown in the media, rioting violently, stealing sodas and cakes from poor businesses? Who will risk to employ you or take you for their spouse after school? What will you tell your children in future when they come across pictures of you stealing sodas when you were at university?

A story is told of a man who forged a terminal report in P.3 and many years later his son did the same in S.3. When he showed his disappointment at his son's mischief, the son reminded him: "Dad, I'm sorry but it could be something hereditary because grandma told me you did the same in P.3. At least for me it's S.3!" Parents please take time to instill in them good morals and be exemplary. Universities may have to be stricter on such bad characters. If you've ears, listen!

Patrick Katagata is a parenting specialist and family therapist. 


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