The great Bob Marley once said in one of his songs, “With this great future you can’t forget your past”. He was trying to highlight the fact that no matter what, we should never forget our past. As we move forward it is always a great idea to put the past into perspective.
As far as education is concerned, the journey from kindergarten to University is a long tough one. Initially it appears a very long unending struggle but it eventually comes to an end.
Many of us who have been lucky to pass through most of the stages of our country’s education system and earned the necessary qualifications are now preoccupied with work.
Once employed, we tend to forget the role played by the various schools we went through that shaped us into what we are today.
I want to use this column to urge all those who have been lucky to get an education not to forget the schools they went to.
Not forgetting the school you attended does not simply mean being able to spell its name or locate it. It generally means making an effort to continue being a part of that school in any way possible. It implies being proud and supportive of your school.
I was very touched by a story that appeared in The New Vision of 30th October, 2007 titled, ‘President Kagame rehabilitates his former school.’
The title may lead you into thinking that our president had rehabilitated one of the greatest schools in Uganda, Ntare School.
This is because most people only know that our president went to Ntare. Few can readily identify the primary school that he attended.
And yes it was this primary school that benefited from his generosity. Rwengoro Primary School in Kamwenge district, Uganda is where President Kagame attended and completed his Primary Seven.
Rwengoro is a government-aided school that was founded in the 1960s to educate children in the nearby refugee settlement camp of Kahunge.
Our generous president donated 15 million Frw to rehabilitate his former school. This followed a story that had previously appeared in a local Runyankore newspaper, Orutambi, about the president’s Primary leaving Exam certificate, which was being kept at the school.
The school’s infrastructures had greatly deteriorated due to many years of neglect. Some of the buildings were affected by an earthquake and thus developed huge cracks.
The president’s timely intervention was well received by the school administration which plans to use it to re-roof, rebuild the floor, walls and fix glass windows in the classrooms.
The president’s action is not simply one of generosity but also of sound memory. Any student who has passed through a school and has moved to greater echelons of society should be in position to assist his former school to continue being a beacon of hope.
A small donation to your former school helps to keep your school in shape or to even take it to a better level. If your school indeed contributed in any way to the person that you are now, then giving back a little is not asking too much.
Many great schools and universities in the developed word have managed to be that way because of having committed and generous old students (alumni). They support the schools financially and even offer bursaries to bright students.
Helping your school is not limited to making financial contributions only. You may donate books to the library for instance.
Instead of throwing away your old computer, why not give it to the school so that current students can also pick some ICT skills.
An occasional visit to the school can also do wonders. Take time off from your busy work schedule and visit the school.
It also makes great sense if you get to speak to the current students. Encourage them to work hard and to maintain the good name of the school.
Once you have been to a school and left, you are not just an old boy or old girl of that school. You are actually an ambassador who should do everything possible to keep the torch of that school burning.
We can only do this by promoting our schools whenever possible. We need to work hand in hand with the current school authorities to develop our former schools.
An association of former students can be a very helpful initiative. Let us all emulate our president and help our schools to be better places for the current and future learners.