To the Catholic fraternity

Dear Parents, guardians, friends and relatives.

This letter is largely addressed to our Catholic fraternity with prospects of securing placements for their form one pupils come year 2018. It is meant to inform, warn and encourage our faithful to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to this activity. Having been at a Mission station for more than 3 years now, I have repeatedly experienced mistakes that our Catholic faithful make year in and year out with regards to choosing places for their children. This has been the experience also with other Catholic schools. It is a fact that when it comes to looking for places for the loved ones for form ones, Catholics are outclassed by brothers and sisters from other denominations. This outbalances the policies of the schools for Catholic and non-Catholic ratio. The recent appeal of application forms for form ones for St Ignatius college highlighted this aspect. Fr Ignatius Padya urged parents/guardians from the Catholic fraternity to respond in time and respect the dates given, sighting that Catholics are very slow in doing that, or respond way after due dates, making it very difficult for them to be included. I now highlight mistakes that our Catholic friends make and actions they do not take which result them failing to get Catholic places for their children.
•    Taking it for granted that it is our school, that they have a relationship with the priest or some member of staff at the school concern.
This often makes many Catholics reluctant to act quickly or on time. It also makes them not fulfill the requirements. Such false confidence has proved that it does not work.
•    Having a favorite school that becomes the sole choice.
Usually, parents or guardians dream of their child going to a particular Catholic school due to their particular reasons. They put all their eggs in one basket such that when they fail to get a placement for that particular school, they loose on all other Catholic schools.
•    Not knowing requirements of different Catholic schools.
Different Catholic schools have different ways of enrollment. There are Catholic schools which use the entrance test system and others that use the grade 7 results. Others use both and others add up on the requirements and even require past reports of the child. It is important to enquire way beforehand.
•    Over relying on priests or religious as a gateway.
This is where many people have their downfall as they think that a phone call to the priest seals the deal. One has to know that they will be hundreds of other people doing exactly that. There are so many people referred to by others, connections, relatives and friends. Even after having a nice chat with the priest or sister, there will be many others who would be doing the same. The greatest possibility is that the priest/sister will forget, or will delay processing your request because in many cases, he is not directly part of the team that does this work.
•    Children staying with elderly.
It so happens that some children stay with their grandparents who do not follow the media reports etc, but have a child who may want to secure a placement for form 1. It is important for the neighbors, people in the same section/zone, friends and relatives to be aware of it and help the child earlier.

We should be realistic with the situation we have in the country. We have many Catholic schools, but these schools are now few compared to the demands for them. Most of our schools were built in the 1960’s, the population has increased tremendously from that time.

Advice to Catholic fraternity.
Awareness of the competition and choosing wisely.
If a school requires 4 units at grade 7, coming from 4 subjects – a child who has 5 units is very much unlikely to get a placement there. There are so many children, more than the number required, who would have scored that mark. 
Let us also work with plan Bs and plan Cs and have several choices.

Lastly, we implore our Catholic fraternity to follow procedures laid by the ministry. Last time many Catholics did not register online due to reasons mentioned above. However, that is how schools were expected to choose from, because many Catholics ignored this exercise, the names of their children could not be located and ended up not getting the places they wanted.

To sum up, we urge the Catholics to act on time, follow the instructions or the requirements needed, use the right school channels

Yours faithfully

Fr Admire R. Nhika SJ
Visitation-Makumbi Mission.

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