Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Two Students Shot, What Bugema needs to do

It was sad to read the newspapers that two students were shot in Bugema Adventist Secondary School, where I happened to be a former student.

The circumstances of the shootings are unclear, and the Police Commissioner, Major-General Kale Kayihura orders the arrest of the Commander at Bugema and further investigation.

The wounded (Wilma Obega, a Kenyan and Mariam Odiera, a Sudanese) are hospitalized at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala. But was the situation too bad for the police to shoot unarmed students?

It is reported that the students had gone on strike complaining of poor feeding and harsh treatment by administrators.

Why international students run to Bugema
Since the year 2002, Bugema went out to source for students mostly from Kenya and Tanzania. Its purpose was purely business out of the desperate parents that wanted to further the education of the children.

For sure, Kenya still has so many form 4 leavers and each year almost a quarter a million graduate but the tertiary institutions have failed to absorb even a quarter the figure punching Uganda A-level as an alternative. Tanzania’s education standard is a bit low opting for Uganda’s O-level and A-level education.

Bugema too has a history of producing some of the best students in the region.

This shooting has opened a can of worms
In early 2002 I was in form 6, and I vividly remember that almost 20 classmates were suspended indefinitely for they had only refused to transfer from the upper dormitory to the ones near the classrooms. The next time they appeared they were asked to pick their belongings and suffered so much to get admissions in other schools in the capital city, Kampala. Don’t ask if they were refunded the school fees after all it was a few days into the term, and if the reason for the indefinite suspension was proper.

Year in, year out, Bugema went for a huge number than its infrastructure cold hold. Congestion remains a challenge but Bugema has its simplest mechanism to curl out the huge number and that is indefinite suspension which is equally an expulsion. Alternative methods of disciplining are never employed more so for the A-Level students.

A student raising a simple complaint against the administration will automatically mean resistance. Not even dialogue is encouraged over very simple problems. On the other hand, the Seventh-day Adventist, Uganda Union, seems to act slow on matters arising from its institutions as well as appreciate and implement some recommendations from former students.

Today, A-level teachers have a hectic time balancing the many classes which will slowly impact on the results. What is the essence of having more than 200 A-level students yet 50 of them can’t join credible universities across the country? What defines “quality” education?

Getting back to the shooting incidence, the school should try to reach the real cause and not only put records straight but act accordingly. Is the problem emanating from the administration or the students?

Students have been sent home as they await "issues" to be addressed.

For the better of the institution (Bugema), I suggest change from the top administration and reduced intake, or if business is the catch word then improve the services through the quality expansion of infrustructure.

posted by ombui at 10:58 AM | Permalink |


  • At 3:47 AM, Blogger Kevin the Kenyan

    This is totally unacceptable. In the strongest terms possible, no parent with children in BASS, or any parent with children at all, should let this go without asking for an explanation. I went to this school for two years, and I know the highhandedness with which the administration can sometimes act. the concept of respect has been trashed and replaced with that of fear. there is no viable conduit for grievances to be listened to and sorted.
    it is like a horror movie unfolding, the consequences perfectly known. If the administration could offer an ear to the students' complaints, what are the chances that two kids would be lying in hospital?
    Bugema is not a correctional institution and It should therefore not be run like one. I had my times with the administration and for some reason they listened when i presented students' grievances.. what has happened between then and now is a mystery, but a pointer would be a failure to adapt to the current state of affairs. academic institutions must be separated from administrators keen on control than on instilling knowledge. greater knowledge ultimately negates, even nullifies the need for top-down control. We used to sing "Bugema, shine on".. but not that light is stained, the shine dimmed with the innocent blood of paying students asking for a better meal. Didnt jesus ask "what kind of father would give his son a serpent when he asks for fish?" (Luke 11.11)

  • At 1:31 AM, Blogger Spartakuss

    dude, i totally feel your pain. i am with you on taht one.
    a school cant go around shooting its students because teh poliemen teh property being destroyed is "part of governmnet property" or just because "they threatened" to strike.

    embecile behaviour.
    thank you for calling it out!

  • At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Wot pple r commenting about the skul is totally true.Am currently a Senior six student in the skul.Life has bin the way some of the guys hav just said.The administration ha sbin too stiff in terms of freedom of expression and catalogue with the students.In most cases, laws are always imposed oo the students without consultation wotsoeva.They r expected to follow all tht they r told.Issues hav bin amounting over the years and wot hapnd in skul was the crux of everything.Someone who's wise enough cn gauge tht for things to turn out tht way in BASS,then there must hav bin serious problems tht the students had,and it was no joke.RThat was horrific,three days of total unrest and tension.Wot the administration should do to make things better is to create links which the students can use to express themselves and their issues be addressed in a mature manner.That wuld help create a democratic society and a better Bugema.

    Eric Otieno
    Chief Editor
    News Agency Club

  • At 5:21 AM, Blogger Elle B

    Its sad about the students. I don't understand how that happened. I realise that sometimes, our cops shoot in the air to disperse rowdy crowds but for them to have hurt two students means they aimed into the crowds and fired. How can we trust our protection to such people?