Memorial Lecture: Nsumba Lyazi’s unforgettable Legacy

He was a great educator, a loving father, very calm despite his level of education, a good listener, a smart guy, punctual, disciplined, religious, Social, trustworthy, dependable, cooperative and great mentor are some of the words used to describe the Late Robinson Nsumba Lyazi.

Mrs Nsamba Lyazi attending the public lecture January 25th, 2023

Speaker after speaker poured praises on the fallen Robinson Nsumba Lyazi, a great educationist, who many owe their success.

This was during the maiden Memorial Public Lecture in his honour, held on Wednesday at Makerere University Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility.

Lyazi is said to have died a contented man in 2022 after 40-years of service to the education sector.

“It takes a lot to raise men and women who are admired and we can stand up and speak about them. If you evaluate yourself, you will have people to celebrate and speak about you when we are gone?” asked Hajjat Zaujja Ndifuna, the Director of Mbogo Schools during her keynote address.

Speaking about Lyazi, Hajjat Zaujja said he always emphasized to people that ‘Our beginnings do not define our future’. Having been born to peasant parents in Mityana, Lyazi rose to the rank of Director Basic and Secondary education. Before serving in that capacity, he served as the Commissioner Private Schools and Institutions, Assistant commissioner Comprehensive education, Chairperson Church of Uganda Schools in Uganda, Head teacher Mityana SS and Head of Laity Mityana Diocese.

The public lecture was attended by different dignitaries including; his family members, officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Makerere University, different secondary schools among others.

Some of the dignitaries who attended the memorial lecture.

In his speech read to the congregation by Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University  Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe praised Lyazi as a great Educationist.

“Robinson Nsumba Lyazi attended Makerere during a period of great political upheaval. Academic and Administrative staff had fled into exile and only a handful remained holding fort; doing their best to ensure that Makerere continued producing graduates despite economic hardships that characterized the period,” he said adding,

“Specifically, the University’s plan 1980-1986 outlined efforts to reintroduce correspondence courses or distance education courses, which included External Degrees. Distance education courses are particularly designed to take the University to the people. This was Makerere’s way of recognizing the challenges at hand and in response, extending the principles and quality of University education to the greater majority of people who are unable to attend full-time courses due to work, financial and other obligations,”

This strategic move by the University, he said could have inspired Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi to pursue a postgraduate diploma in Education immediately after completing his Bachelor of Science to enable him teach Physics and Double Math at Secondary school level.

“Looking back, I think Nsumba-Lyazi was not going to wait for the people to come to the University. He wanted to inspire them even before they embarked on their respective Higher Education journey,” the VC said.

“As one who had witnessed firsthand what his parents’ entrepreneurial skills had helped the family achieve, Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi’s exposure to higher education and science subjects in particular made him an even stronger advocate for the value that education adds to our God-given talents. Education unlocks one’s potential and in so doing, opens many more doors for that talent to shine even brighter”.

It is against this background that Robinson Nsumba-Lyazi was a strong advocate for the competence-based curriculum, and worked hard to ensure that its implementation gains traction before his retirement.

“It is very important that our young men and women graduate with skills and competencies that empower them to make meaningful contributions to society,” he added.

Despite being born to peasant parents, Nsumba according to Speakers broke the chains and became a great person who worked tirelessly in promoting the private schools not only in Mityana but also Uganda as a whole.

“He was passionate about teaching right from his early days, after S.6 he was invited in Mityana to teach fellow students which he took on. He rose through the ranks of a teacher to lead and education institution and finally to the Ministry of Education,” Hajjat Zaujja noted adding,

His family members described him as a great husband, father, relative who worked towards instilling humility, discipline, respect in everyone that knew him.

The children of Lyazi share about their father.

Dr. John Chrisystom Muyingo the State Minister of High Education in a speech read for him by Mr George Mutekanga, Commissioner of Private Education Institutions, asked the people to emulate the works of the late Lyazi whom he said gave his best to humanity.

Mr Mutekanga and some of the Ministry officials give a speech

Nsumba, Muyingo said walked away from the Ministry with satisfaction that he had done his part.

“We liked the way he did his work, there a number of lessons: our beginnings should not define our Destiny,” he said

Lyazi’s services, the Minister noted were always with a smile that lit up the room.

Lyazi is credited for having developed education standards in Mityana and also started the association of Private Academic institutions in an effort to ensure the schools had a voice and could participate in the decision making at the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Lyazi is said to have loved a quote by Martin Luther King, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”. Lyazi is said to have been moving until his death in 2022.  

By. Betty Kyakuwa

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