How good culture nurtures great careers

I attended Munteme Primary, a Catholic Founded school, for my primary education. Every first Monday of the week, we had a school assembly –

I attended Munteme Primary, a Catholic Founded school, for my primary education. Every first Monday of the week, we had a school assembly – all pupils and teachers had to attend without fail.

The Assembly duration was for 60 minutes only. But a lot would be accomplished.  The standard agenda at the assembly was: National Anthem, Bunyoro Kitara Anthem, School Anthem, and Prayer. These would be followed by the Head Girl’s Speech, Head Boys, and Headmasters Speech.

Thursday was a school mass day. All students were required to attend mass from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, without fail. Tuesdays were for handcrafts – a trek of over 10 kilometres to swampland to harvest papyrus reeds for making papyrus mats. And Fridays were for sports – classes would stop at 12:30 pm, and we break off for sports in the evening. Every class was required to break for sports, in addition to daily sports break-time of 9:30 – 10:30 am, and 3 – 4 pm. At our primary school, they valued sports and handicrafts.

The school maintained such routine throughout the seven years I spent there. Late coming was unheard of. As a pupil, you had to be at school in time for the punishment was not something one looked up to.

Once I was late for the Assembly. The teachers were on the lookout for the latecomers. They always were. Be at the Church or sports or handwork. They never blinked. Whenever one came late, they would be made to make a line just opposite the rest of the students for the entire duration. The teachers and administration made it so clear that latecomers do not deserve respect. Other students looked at them as lazy people.

That day, I was in that line for some 50 minutes, and I felt the shame of not keeping the time.

If you came late and found a teacher already in class, you were challenged academically. A math teacher asked you the last math lecture, a science one asked about science. And an English one asked you to spell or translate a statement from our local dialect (Runyoro) to English which usually left the entire class in tears of laughter.

Another thing I remember at school is the beginning of the term. Every new school year, one the first day of reporting to work, the class teachers required each pupil to stand up and introduce themselves. Your name, favourite sport, your village, and date of birth. Any new student in the class would do the same. We knew one another well.

Looking back, the school had created a powerful culture until the universal primary education arrived. When parents were paying school fees, they made it a point for the children to attend school. They supported them. The pain of selling their goat or farm produce to raise school fees provided the motivation to be interested in the studies of their children. Not anymore.

So, what is culture and how do you implement it?

The way you do things in the company. The habits and behaviour of the leaders. The longer you demonstrate those habits, the better.

To be continued…

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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