I have chatted to several missionary friends, charity volunteers and researchers here in northern Uganda about what they perceive as the biggest need currently on the ground. Almost every time the answer is the same: improve the quality of primary education, and specifically: teaching children to read and write in English with an emphasis on training teachers. I have been quite convicted and challenged after these conversations and believe God has been leading me into a slightly new direction. I have prayed about this and believe a door of opportunity is opening.
Here in the north, anyone with a good job and decent income will send their children to boarding school in Kampala, the capital. I often hear: “there’s no good schools in Gulu”. Mission organisations and charities have started up their own private schools here with some international support, which I think is brilliant and certainly a need for, however some local private schools and particularly local government schools receive very minimal, if any, assistance. In true Ugandan style, high-up government officials actually ‘assist themselves’ and ‘eat’ some of the school funding before it even gets to the schools; leaving head teachers with a shoestring budget.
Two days ago all head teachers from Gulu municipal primary schools met together. I was invited to address the teachers and put out a proposal that I would assist the schools in training infant teachers in phonics and helping to teach reading and writing if they would help to co-ordinate this. I received a very encouraging response and the head teachers plan to meet next week to try and co-ordinate this.
There are more than 50 primary schools in Gulu municipal, so this will certainly take some co-ordinating. I will still be teaching at Layibi Techo Primary; however I will be dedicating more of my time to visiting other schools and training teachers. Well that’s the plan anyway. Exciting times…