Using history to build a solid future

Last week I wrote about the beauty of being able and in position to pass on what we have learnt to the younger generations. Teachers do this almost every day as part of their jobs but others can also do the same every once in a while by simply sharing their knowledge and experiences with those who look up to them.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

Last week I wrote about the beauty of being able and in position to pass on what we have learnt to the younger generations. Teachers do this almost every day as part of their jobs but others can also do the same every once in a while by simply sharing their knowledge and experiences with those who look up to them.

I talked about the need for schools and education authorities to nurture a culture of holding Career Days and commencement lectures. After thinking about it more and more I realised that different schools can tackle this issue from different angles.

For example there are so many schools in Rwanda today that are barely ten years old. Many have just been set up recently to address the increased enrolment numbers and to offer quality education in an Anglophone system. In such a situation, these schools clearly do not have any history worth talking about.

It is these schools that would best benefit from a Career Day where parents are invited to school to talk to the students about what they do for a living. For example a doctor with a son in the school can address a whole class on how to succeed in sciences and the benefits of being a doctor.

On the other hand there are some schools that have been around for quite a while and are blessed with a rich history. One such school is Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare (GSO-Butare) which recently celebrated 83 years of existence. 83 years is quite a long spell of churning out educated people and by now many are quite prominent and successful.

It is such schools that ought to ride on this history to engender a bright future. I must say here that I was lucky to attend a school that is also quite old. My alma mater, Busoga College Mwiri is one of the oldest schools in Uganda having been set up in 1911 (101 years old).

The beauty of a school existing for a very long time while also performing quite well is that after about 40 years, the school will boast of a large number of prominent and successful old students. GSO-Butare for instance has got many successful old students in Rwanda and Burundi.

Blessed with this rich history and people alive to testify, old schools can use this opportunity to inspire their students to achieve greater things in life. How is this done? It is done by mobilising the old students into a strong and proud alumni body. Once this has been done, you then organise what is known as homecomings.

My former school Mwiri recently held one such homecoming and from the posts I saw on the school’s Facebook page I think it is something we can emulate here and enjoy the benefits.

The homecoming involved old students going back to the school and talking to students as a way of offering them more believable career guidance talk. The old students were put in different categories like media, law, banking, agriculture, medicine etc and students got to listen to what they had to say.

Some of the prominent speakers included a former central bank deputy governor who talked about the banking industry while the current Managing Editor of The Daily Monitor newspaper talked to the students about careers in the media. Interestingly enough, this same person is the one who as a student, set up a students’ newspaper.

The stories by such people are much more believable since a few years back they too were just mere students in the same school. I am very sure that schools that are old enough to identify prominent or successful former students in this country should be organising such homecoming events.

All efforts to encourage, inspire and nurture our students into better products should be embraced. And I believe homecomings should be added to the calendars of our older schools. 

 

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