Teachers have been urged to revive handiwork practical lessons in their schools to prepare pupils for the current much advocated for skilling programme under vocational studies for an innovative future generation.
Mr Jimmex Busiinge, the deputy mayor for Hoima Oil City notes that despite the early years when schools took pupils through hands-on skills in handiwork, the trend has currently changed leaving pupils without any skill preparing them for their future.
The politician’s urge is in line with government encouragement and advocacy for learners to join vocational institutions so they can get life skills that can enable them create jobs for themselves other than being job seekers.
Mr Busiinge who is also Secretary for Education in Hoima City Council is dismayed that today teachers have totally neglected handiwork teaching yet it is a fundamental and major preparatory conduit that can help pupils easily attain life skills given its practicability.
He says in those days, handicrafts taught in schools helped pupils earn a living through sales of their products during their holidays and even after school life.
Mr Busiinge is optimistic that once revived, handiwork can act as an income generating activity among pupils.
The deputy mayor urges teachers to take pupils through a variety of arts and crafts skills adding that materials used in the skill are at their disposal.
“I pray that as we enter the New Year; let us revive the teaching of handiwork to these pupils. The materials needed for handiwork are available in various schools and others can ably access them. In those days, handiwork was so beneficial a lesson which a pupil could not neglect because it helped them earn some money through papyrus mat making, basket weaving and others.”
“But it is unfortunate that today a child completes primary seven without knowing how to make a table papyrus mat, a palm leaves mat, weave a basket and others. I participate in traditional marriage. But when one is asked to take a table papyrus mat and others, you fail to get it. This is because those who used to make them are no more. Therefore, I urge head teachers to add more effort in teaching pupils handiwork to attain hands-on skills that will help them even when they are out of school,” Mr Busiinge emphasises.
Mr Burhan Kyakuhaire, the Special Assistant in charge of Culture in the Office of the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister cum retired teacher says during his service, he encouraged handiwork that helped many of his learners to sustain themselves financially even after studies.
He cites granary, papyrus mat, basket, pestle and mortar making and weaving as among other handiwork products that his pupils made.
“Teachers should revive handiwork lessons because they groom pupils to engage in vocation at a tender age consequently earning a living in future. Art and crafts are an employment skill that once one concentrates on them, fetch money for their families”, Mr Kyakuhaire observes.
One of the artistes in Hoima, Mr Gerald Mutabaazi known by his stage name as Kantobatobe loosely meaning “let me toil” is minting money from his art and crafts skills he attained while still young at his father’s home in Kacungiro village, Buhanika sub-county in Hoima district.
Mr Mutabaazi told Kazi-njema News that gets Shs600,000 every month from his sales of wooden ladles, trays and others, thus, enabling him to support his family financially.