Monday, May 21, 2012

City Secondary School!

We knew we were in for quite a treat today when the students from City Secondary School greeted us when we stepped off the bus with a marching band. After the warm greeting we got to learn about the history and make-up of their school, the education system in Uganda, as well as a few of the 55 cultures that are represented at their school through dance and comedy. We were then showed their art room and given the opportunity to create some of our own art. Many of us had tie-dyed before, but I think the method we used was new and quite different than what we were used to. Following tie-dying we got a brief preview of the school campus before breaking off into groups for lunch and discussions. For lunch we had the opportunity to begin interacting with the students and having various conversations about culture, how school is different in the two countries, and what we like to do in our spare time. Once we finished eating, we continued getting to know the students. Some groups played American games, taught American dance moves, and some listened to American music. The education majors and professors also had a chance to talk with their teachers about differences in schooling and what it takes to obtain a degree. To wrap our visit up we interacted some more with their students by playing volleyball and futbol (soccer). Our visit ended with saying goodbye to the students we met. How does education play a role in sustainable development? What specifically does City Secondary School do to promote this? Was there anything that surprised you from the visit today? What comparisons or contradictions can you make between their schooling and our schooling?

11 comments:

  1. I believe the first words Braeden and I said once we stepped off the bus to the marching band were, "Wow...I feel under-dressed." I think what we all saw today continues to amaze us of the Ugandan hospitality (which was actually described as "African hospitality" by my newly made friend David). As the day went on, I was fortunate enough to talk with a couple City Secondary School students and get to know them very well. Once all was said and done and it came time to sign the visitor's book, I commented on what I felt captured my experience at the school: "Everyone here has such great aspirations and the motivation and devotion to ensure they achieve the successes they seek." As a result of the trip, I noticed just how pivotal of a role education plays in equipping the citizens of Uganda with useful skills and knowledge that can help move them forward as a society as well as individuals.

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  2. Being at the school today was a great way to really see the Ugandan culture. I thought it was the most fun day of the trip so far and really enjoyed talking with some of the students about cultural differences. On the other hand I was slightly put off by the way the students reacted to the gifts. I know some others felt the same way too. I gave a student a bracelet that I didn't plan on giving away and the student said nothing and just walked away. Nothing beats the feeling when you give, but that is not the feeling I got after that. It was closer to feeling robbed. Overall going to the school was a great experience I just had those feelings and was wondering if anyone else felt the same way!

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    1. To clarify, this was not meant to be a generalization - some students were very polite when given gifts.

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  3. Seeing the City school, I believe that sustainable development cannot be fully achieved. Through the speeches and chats with the students, I noticed how difficult it was to maintain the school. Also, the amount of money needed to go to the school was very difficult to come by for most of the students. Affordability, accessibility, and how well the campus and technology is maintained are extremely important in looking at Uganda's success in the future. In my opinion, the current schooling system seems corrupt and unfair because students that have the ability to perform well do not get the opportunity because they can't afford it. According to the teachers and students, most students do not get into the university before the age of 20. The current schooling process does not allow for a timely graduation and life with a career. Honestly, the visit was very surprising because the children did not seem too happy that we were there at first. I had a bad experience at lunch; I did not feel comfortable and felt disrespected by a few of the students I was sitting by. Although the majority of the students after lunch were very friendly, I still felt like I wasn’t welcomed until gifts were handed out. For example, I had a girl come up to me and grab at the bracelet on my wrist and ask if she could have it without saying hello or introducing herself. The bracelet was too tight on my wrist to take off and when I politely apologized and said I couldn’t give it away, she ran off without saying anything. I do have to say that the majority of the students did not act in a disrespectful manner and really enjoyed the whole experience, but the few that did really disappointed me because it wasn’t what I expected. Did anyone else besides Sean experience this at all?

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  4. I had a wonderful time at the City Secondary School. It was nice to see how the schools are different than schools we see in the United States. I was surprised that many of the students board at the school. They won't see their family for 3 to 4 months at a time. This seems very long to me. It seems that they take their education very seriously if they are willing to send their kids away from home at this age. Education is important to sustainable development because educated people can make better informed decisions. Problem solving improves so much when education is present. City Secondary School promotes development by using technology in the classrooms and preparing their students for the future by talking to them about attending college. This was a wonderful day and I learned so much from the students at the school.

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  5. I had a good time at the school and learned a lot. Like Emily, I was shocked that they board at their schools. I cannot imagine leaving home at such a young age and not being able to see my family often! For the most part, the children were very nice. I think some of them just didn't know how to act around us. City secondary school is trying to provide valuable education to children for the cheapest price. Education is one of the most important things in sustainable development and helps the country to grow.
    -Micah Garton

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    1. Sorry...I am just trying to comment on ones of mine that are marked as "Unknown", so it is clear that it is me.

      Education in general is one of the most important aspects of sustainable development. Without education people would not have the knowledge to prosper and grow as a community and a country. I am surprised how much that is emphasized here in Uganda (ex. At the graduation, the speaker thanked those who understand the importance of education).

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  6. As an education major the school was a great experience. it was an eye opening experience to see first hand how this type of school works in uganda. One huge difference between our school and there school was the class size. One of the teachers said that he had about 50 to even 80 students in his class. I know in my high school we had 30 max in one class. Another comparison i could make is their view on education vs. our view on education. I know that when i was in high school there were days i didn't want to go to school. or i would say i hate school. These students i talked to said they enjoyed school and the teachers spoke about how education is really valued there.

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  7. I had a good time during our visit to City Secondary School. Most of the children that I interacted with were very polite and friendly, and it was interesting to discuss with them the differences between the Ugandan and American education systems. For example, they were shocked to find out that we were in college but we were still teenagers, because in Uganda students don't start at university until a couple of years later.
    One thing that struck me about my experience at the school occurred during the presentation of the school's history and education in Uganda. While the speaker was standing up in the front of the room presenting there were a number of conversations going on at the back of the room between the students, and the presenter did not seem to notice or care. I found this particularly interesting, because in American schools that would never be allowed to happen. I also noticed that when Dr. Bishop stepped up to speak she spoke loudly so the entire room could hear her and made sure that all the students were listening. I found the contrast impressive and fascinating.

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  8. As soon as we stepped off the bus, I knew this would be a memorable day. Being greeted by their marching band was unlike anything I have ever seen. The Ugandan culture is truly about it's hospitality. I had such a great experience at the visit! It was nice to watch the dances they performed for us at the beginning, and I loved listening to the different American music they were familiar with during our free time. I found it very interesting that they think we talk really fast and are hard to understand, because we feel the exact same way when listening to them speak. As many of the others felt, I also felt very taken aback by the way they reacted to us when they found out we had gifts. When students realized I had things with me, I basically got attacked. I also found it interesting how everyone seemed to want our name, email, and phone number. I think to us, this came across a as a little bit too much. Especially from people we barely know, but maybe this kind of friendliness is just part of their culture?

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  9. I agree with Micheal that the school is not a good example of sustainability. To build on what he said, one of the girls at the school told me that the students are not taught in English. In the Ugandan education system, you must pass different test to be able to move on the next level of education. These test are given in English so the students form City Secondary School are put at a disadvantage because they are taught in the local language. This factor alone does not help to foster the success of the students and if the students are not successful they do no have the option of furthering their education, which is imperative for sustainable development.

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