A young boy once asked his father why the whole town perceived him as crazy. His father responded, “Son, the ones dancing are thought to be crazy by those who cannot hear the music.”
This logic also applies to most situations in the world today. Often, because we do not know about the existence, functionality and intricacies of a particular system, we are quick to dismiss it as worthless or worse – a failure.
Take Uganda Christian University (UCU)’s career outreach programme for example. For over a year, I have had the privilege to work with a group of selfless, dedicated and hardworking people not only to give back to communities where the university’s clients (students) come from (secondary schools) but also sell the university brand with the sole purpose of attracting more clientele in this highly competitive era.
It is a fact the number of students joining UCU continues to decline every other intake. This decline becomes more acute when one visits the university’s regional campuses and colleges where a lecturer goes to teach 13 students.
The careers team has therefore been working tirelessly to change these miserable figures traversing over 200 schools in the last calendar year. In spite of this, popular opinion in the institution holds that this team is ‘doing nothing’ except ‘just eat money.’
Ironically, these are the same people whose offices will be directly affected by the falling number of students or whose departments or faculties are struggling with dwindling numbers.
Although they understand that without students, the university will not be able to meet their financial obligations including pay their salaries or finance their budgets, they seem passively resigned to heckling than take action.
Rather than appreciate the people working to keep books balanced, they would rather criticise, mock and demoralise them. It is like being told that a patient is getting worse because of this medicine and their solution is to give him/her more of it.
We all need to suggest alternative means of problem solving. UCU is at a point where everyone ought to be bringing something to the table, other than negative energy, if we are to get out of this pitfall.
If student recruitment is left to the Admissions office and marketing entirely to the PR people as the rest of us sit in our air-conditioned offices, drink coffee and pass judgment on which campaign was the year’s biggest failure, we will be like monkeys laughing at a burning forest forgetting it is home.