Why mentorship should be part of Uganda’s education system?

Posted: June 22, 2015 in Ugandan things

The term mentor stems from Greek mythology in which Odysseus entrusted the care and education of his child to a friend named Mentor while the father was away on his adventures and travels. Mentoring has come to be used for a variety of relationships. Some of its synonyms include role model, coach, guide, sponsor, friend, and adviser.Mentoring is a power-free partnership between two individuals who desire mutual growth. One of the individuals usually has greater skills, experiences, and wisdom .The person offering the mentoring is usually referred to as a mentor, while the recipient or partner may be identified as a mentee or protégé. Participants may connect only occasionally or meet regularly according to a prescribed schedule.
Ever year, a women mentorship walk is held in kampala. The Mentoring Walk brings together women leaders to engage in regarding professional challenges and successes thus establishing mentoring relationships, which guide, advise and support their peers. This walk is aimed at promoting a lasting mentoring relationship between emerging and established women leaders.
Is Uganda’s education system against mentorship? From the first day in a Uganda school, we see many subjects are made compulsory. At its most basic level, mentoring helps guarantee a young person that there is someone who cares about them and has gone through what they are about to go through. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. Simple issues that seem straightforward to an adult may appear to be a complete mystery to a young person. One would someone concentrate on subjects they may never apply in their life. Why should a person who wants to be a lawyer law continue with sciences till senior four. Informal education valued mentorship before colonial education systems came. Boys were trained from the word go relevant roles as men for example hunting. Girls also had to be trained.
The Uganda teacher to student ratio does not allow effective mentorship especially in government aided schools. Students are many and a teacher may not identify hidden talents of individual thousands of students.
Mentorship may address the unemployment problem among the youth in Uganda. Mentorship supports education. Mentors helps keep students in school with academic skills on day-to-day basis. Mentorship programmes improve a young person’s self-esteem, mindset, and attitude. Many Ugandan graduates may be unemployed because of wrong mindsets. Mentors can help young people set career goals and steps to realize them. Did you know that mentors can use their personal contacts to help people meet industry professionals, find internships and get job placements? The young people are exposed to professional resources and organizations they may not know. This clearly shows lack of mentorship. Employers complain youth are not only ill equipped with skills to do real jobs, but also that they seem to be ignorant of the career options that are available to them. Career days are optional to some Ugandan schools though The Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports requires that all secondary schools have a dedicated time throughout the year to spend on career guidance. I have met students who lose interest at the beginning or in the middle of the course at university. Choosing the course of study should go beyond scores in a subjects. You may be good at science subjects but the passion to be a doctor is not within you.I know of students who were indecisive at S.6
Mentoring is a positive youth development strategy .It may address the school drop out problem. There is always need to reduce and remove risk factors to prevent students from dropping out. For example things like sex education can help. Mentoring by a caring adult over a prolonged period of time has been shown in countless academic studies to be effective in combating these risk factors. Young people gain wisdom from experienced mentors. People who have walked the journey ahead of us offer invaluable guidance and encouragement. It is hard to get someone under mentorship programmes making bad decisions. Creativity is boosted by ideas generated by someone younger and newer. Young people tend to have questions and new ideas.
Do we have the right kind of people to offer mentorship besides counselling in Ugandan schools? Many people leave decisions about life, careers and relationships to trial and error. Mentoring appears to be one of those good tools but have difficulty implementing. A monitoring system is in place to determine progress and satisfaction. Mentorship must start in homes. An effective mentoring relationship develops over time. A mentor is more than an adviser.

Ivan .N.Baliboola
PR and organizational diagnosis specialist


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