Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 1.5 Points Policy Has Lost Relevance

In a bid to enhance girl child education in Uganda, Government adopted an affirmative action policy that awards additional 1.5 points to girls seeking to join public universities after A-Level. The rationale for this was that boys were favoured to study at the expense of the girls especially amongst the poor and rural folk. Whereas boys went to school and revised their books, girls would be kept at home doing household chores, with the result that the boys had an advantage over their female counterparts. This was reflected in dismal performance of the latter in examinations. The 1.5 points therefore, came in as a relief to the girls for the time spent doing housework while the boys read their books.

Further, there were arguments that brilliant but poor girls were unable to access university education and so the 1.5 points were necessary to help them attain government scholarship. The debates leading to the adoption of this policy indicate that it was fundamentally intended to benefit the poor girls and those in rural areas. Unfortunately, no mechanism was put in place to ensure this. The policy has been a huge success. The girl intake in public universities is at about 47% today.

But one problem has come to light; the primary concern of the 1.5 points has not been met! It has emerged that girls from rich and able families are the ones instead benefiting from it. This negates the rationale for the existence of this policy for three reasons. First, rich parents hire house-servants who do the domestic work such that their daughters cannot plead that housework consumes their revision time. They have as much time as their male counterparts. Second, these parents are in position to afford higher education, so the justification of poverty cannot come to their aid. Third, the rich girls are able to attend first world schools where they have access to the best scholastic materials unlike their rural counterparts. These schools are also able to bribe UNEB officials so that they leak for them exams and also award them high marks.
In a system where university entry is determined by academic excellence, they end up landing government sponsorship in place of the intended under privileged poor and rural girls.

Resultantly, the 1.5 points policy has achieved its direct opposite and has ended up occasioning injustice. As Prof. Bakibinga said, today boys of equal socio-economic standing as their female counterparts have been victimized by it. When a boy and girl score the same marks, the girl is admitted but the boy is left out. Some times, the boy scores slightly higher than the girl but because that mark is not strong enough to out-compete the 1.5, he will be left out. This policy is threatening to wipe the boy child off the academic map. For example, at Makerere University’s faculty of law, girls constitute 67% of us students. It now appears that Government is revenging against men on women’s behalf for past social and cultural gender misconstructions.

Therefore, this policy should be revisited with the view of harmonizing it with its primary purpose. If this cannot happen, then it should be scrapped completely. In the mean time, it should be suspended because it undermines competition and fair play which are essential in any education system. This policy was meant to give women a head start but not to help them win the race. It offends against man and God who created us equally. It has lost its relevance.