HE is probably the best time keeper the country has ever had in its civil service.
Back in school, he was brilliant and a head prefect at King’s College Budo, taking on from his committed, serious and ruthless time keeper of a father. This is the former Premier Apolo Nsibambi(right).
Intelligent as he was back in school, like his brother Dr. John Nsibambi; he proudly picked almost all his education career attributes from his late father Simeon Nsibambi–a man who built up the group that became the foundation of the balokole (Saved Ones) in Buganda.
Nsibambi’s father used to demand that all his children work four hours ahead of the schedule.
If you are to report at school at 10am, you should have showered and fully dressed, ready to set off by 7am.
“He nurtured in us a strong sense of time keeping and discipline. Excelling was a must,” the former Premier Apolo says.
For Irene Muloni(left) the energy and minerals minister, at one time his father had to plead with the wife to sell off one of her gomesi’s to raise fees for daughter.
Much as he was a primary teacher with a meager source of income, Muloni says, “He always yearned to ensure we stayed in school and performed well in class.”
The current education minister Maj. (Rtd) Jessica Alupo is another living testimony to her father’s zeal of her academic performance. “My father used to say that education is not a one day activity. If you want to excel, you have to be full of humility and interested in what you are doing, to fight on every other day,” she explains.
Her father was a head teacher. “Humble, truthful and down to earth; values which he expected us to inherit in school,” Alupo adds.
Studies have shown that committed, resilient and loving fathers; who are always closely involved in their children’s upbringing, have a positive impact on their academic achievement.
Dr. Sheilla Ndyanabangi, a psychiatrist says that, many children always run to their mothers for love and pampering. But, for the fathers, she says, children always hinge on them as a symbol of unquestionable authority and order. “When the parents demand and follow up on their children’s academic performance, it is easier for the children to quickly follow their fathers’ demand,” she notes.
“It is not that mothers are not influential. But with fathers, children at times get that hard drive that fathers are ready to instill with ease,” Peter Tusubira, a retired head teacher and parent adds.
In another research done by the Oxford University last year, in a period of four decades, shows that the involvement of fathers when children have reached the age of seven “is strongly related to later educational attainment.”
But, the study notes that, it does not mean that parents have to be living together for children to feel the impact of their fathers in academic performance.
Caring, involved fathers exist outside of marriage. The Oxford study shows that separated fathers could exert a positive influence by getting involved in activities of their children like listening to them read or helping them with their homework.
The same study also shows that step fathers can be of great value to children’s learning.
A better influence of the father, however, is more likely, to be found in the context of marriage.
“There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which being the legal and social norms associated with marriage that connects a father to the family unit. That may also explain, in part, why research consistently shows that the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the cohabitating mother-and-father family,” explain the US Department’s study.
Locally in Uganda, there are no concrete studies done in this area, but the psychologists and counselors attest to the influence of fathers in children’s education attainment.
Other studies show that, one of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children.
A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier.
A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.
Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness.
They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.
The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood.
Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents.
Joseph Musaalo, a counseling psychologist at Uganda Christian University in Mukono also says that the presence of the father in a home is very vital.
“When a father plays his role in a home, children feel loved and cared about. It opens them up for asking for help in their academic work and other education related issues,” he explains.
George Musuba, a counseling psychologist says, “Children always need love from both parents. If a child does not feel loved and cared about by one of the parents, he automatically loses concentration in all activities especially in class.”
“They start showing signs of loneliness, being elusive and their self-esteem lowers; and all this affects their academic performance,” Musuba adds.
If a child is hated at home, or loses the bondage with the parents, especially the father; he says such children tend to look for support from peer groups, which at times are bad groupings.
“Fathers need to create time for their children and pay attention to their needs, learn them and listen to their problems,” he adds.
Psychologists say fathers are a primary source of learning for a child, and that they need to be role models in homes. Since the father is the head of the family, children grow up, following their fathers’ steps; if positive, you get positive results from the child.
Good leadership and responsibility in a child starts from the father, according to Musaalo.
Counselors also note that if a father only disciplines by beating, it might explain the reason why the child likes fighting at school or abusing teachers because he thinks that inflicting pain is the only way to settle matters.
Fathers need to always counsel their children as well.
Fagil Mandy the national examinations boss and parenting expert says that, “If the children fail to meet other role models in their lives, and also have fathers who are not caring and detached, they are destined to be failures in life,”
He adds that, “Fathers should learn to get more involved in their children’s lives, since it always determines their future career paths.”
“Ensure you get to know what they love doing most, go to school and see what the teachers say about your child’s performance and follow what they do,”
John Mugisha, a teacher at Namirembe Hill says that children will always feel lonely and rejected and will never concentrate in class, if they have their fathers are living but have abandoned them.
“Fathers should know that when it comes to academics, it is not just class work and exams. It more of an emotional issue, meaning that children need the love from their fathers, to feel confident, protected and brave to fight on,” Mugisha explains.
Ruth Senyonyi, a counseling psychologist says that, “The biggest role of a father in a home is to have his presence felt in the child’s life. It is just about providing school fees, clothes and food in a home.”
It has been suggested in a number of studies that the lack of male role models involved in reading and other literacy-related activities during children’s early years is one of the possible causes for the declining rates of school achievement for children, especially boys.
Research also shows that parental involvement in their children’s learning positively affects the child’s academic performance in both primary and secondary schools.
If a child has the father’s involvement, with the help of the mother, this leads to higher academic achievement, greater cognitive competence, greater problem-solving skills, greater school enjoyment, better school attendance and fewer behavioural problems at school and a greater career path.