By Donald Kiirya
MAYUGE - A 48-year-old father of 19 has rejoined Primary Seven at Bufulubi Primary School saying he wants to learn fluent English and get to know mathematics so that he can know how to calculate.
Swaliki Tezikuba Awali, who is also the chairperson LC I of Bufulubi Zone B in Imanyiro Sub County, Mayuge district registered to sit this year’s Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) at Bufulubi P/S.
On Thursday July 31, Tezikuba who treks a kilometer to the school, was found in the P.7 classroom together with other candidates doing mock examinations.
He sat for the Mathematics and SST papers on Thursday and English and Science papers on Friday. Tezikuba was optimistic that he would pass very well.
Donned in light blue short sleeved school shirt, cream trousers and old sandals, Tezikuba mixes up very well with the rest of the 62 class members.
He rode a bicycle and carried his mathematical set and sat in the middle of the classroom while one of his daughters, Janat Mukisa, sat at the front row in the same class as they did the mocks.
Tezikuba adds that another reason he went back to school was to motivate his children and encourage them by example to stay in school.
He said he read the New Vision of March 17,2014 which published an article under the headline that “Teachers fail P.4 Exams” and was dismayed why teachers would fail exams yet they entrust them with their children.
Tezikuba narrates that he completed his P.7 at Namalemba P/S in 1982, joined secondary but because of the NRA liberation war, he dropped out of school at Jinja College in 1986.
Swalikii Tezikuba (2nd R) with six of his 19 children whom he studies with at Bufulubi P/S. With them is Juliet Were (2nd L) the headmistress of Bufulubi P/S. Photo/Donald Kiirya
He later joined Bukoyo SSS in Iganga and sat for his S.4 in 1989 but later he realized he was speaking broken English and had difficulties in calculations.
“SST and Science were a little difficult because in our times, those subjects were not taught. We used to study only three subjects; English, Mathematics and General Paper,” he recalled.
“I had not learnt enough English and Mathematics yet these are very instrumental in our day to day life especially to a parent and local leader like me,” Tezikuba observed.
Tezikuba said his two wives are blood sisters and both of them consented with his idea of going back to further his studies.
He said the two wives share the same house and they engage in sugarcane farming on large scale and trade in various produce to pay school fees for their 19 children and also buy scholastic materials.
“Our youngest child is in Nursery while their firstborn is at Makerere University in his last year. Six of other children are in this same school with me spread between P.2 and P.7. Three of them are in P.2, one in P.4, another in P.6 and one is in P.7,” Tezikuba explained.
He added that the rest of his children are at students at different secondary schools including St. Mary’s College, Iganga SSS, Joy Dominion Academy, Kawempe Moslem and Buckley High School.
Asked whether he doesn’t feel small to be in the same school with his children, Tezikuba said being a father had nothing to do with school life.
“When am at school, I am a pupil just like any other pupils. I treat my children like we are all pupils of this school and indeed they are also used but they give me respect as their father,” he explained.
The head teacher of Bufulubi P/S, Juliet Were said that Tezikuba is polite and a hardworking learner.
Were said that other pupils don’t tease Tezikuba because they know he is a pupil just like them but respect him as an adult which act she says is not bad.
One of the teachers in this school, Immaculate Nahumita exclaimed that Tezikuba is a very good and friendly learner in and outside class who always helps so much during class discussions.
“Sometimes he sits his fellow pupils down and gives them guidance and counseling and indeed they listen to his counsel because he is a mature person,” she observed.
One of Tezikiuba’s biological children who goes to the same school with him, Aisha Bakulimya, P.4 said he wakes them early enough and joins them in preparations to leave for school.
“When he his bicycle breaks down and has no money for boda-boda, we walk with him to school,” she said.
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Father of 19 goes back to school, sits P.7 mock exams