Use school visits for career development

By Dickson Tumuramye

We are a few weeks away from the end of the second term. The majority of schools have already had midterm exams, and the end-of-term exams are just around the corner. Do you know how your child performs in class?

I like visiting children at school, as I get to sit with them and motivate them to make informed career decisions.I like visiting children at school, as I get to sit with them and motivate them to make informed career decisions.

You don’t have to wait for a visit day or an end-of-term report card to know how your child performed. These days, many schools have career weeks; different days for different classes are organised for parents to visit their children and know about their progress.

This is an excellent opportunity that parents should never miss. When your child knows that my daddy or mummy is interested in my performance and s/he is soon visiting me, the child will work hard to impress you.

If your child’s performance was not the best in midterm exams, please don’t condemn him or her. This is another time to affirm to your child that s/he is doing well. If a man can appreciate his spouse for cooking well when actually it was the maid who cooked, or a woman can appreciate her husband for taking proper care of her when the wife may be doing it herself, why can’t we do the same to our children? Your positive comments can inspire your child to improve in the final exams.

These days, universities put their courses online, and depending on which universities your child is interested in, you can download the application forms and programme or course requirements and discuss together during the school visit the different options to enable your child to study with a focused mind. You don’t have to wait for the university application period to prepare your child for his or her career.

The two of you should discuss areas for improvement, knowing that a child has the potential to excel with your support. Parental participation in school programmes does not only foster educational and cognitive development; it is also another way of noticing issues that can enhance your child’s future. Discuss how they perform in other areas at school. Find out where they see themselves in that career, how they balance academics and other skills, and discover other avenues for development while still in school.

We should aim for holistic child and youth development, though our Ugandan education system is more theory-oriented than vocational and skills development. Work with one of the teachers who specialises in the talent area of your child.

The child can maximise that skill or talent development at school and get to where you need him or her to be. Therefore, let your child go to school not only to acquire knowledge but also practical skills provided at the school that will be an added advantage after school. That means your child’s school selection should consider other benefits beyond just academics.

When you take your child to this school, especially in Senior One or Senior Five, encourage your child to participate in other areas of interest. This can shape her or his career.

You can also visit your child to see how they perform and how they spend the rest of their lives in higher education institutions. With a lot of freedom and excitement, some university children get easily spoiled.

Let us not give up the habit of visiting our children and inspiring them to greatness.