By Andrew Masinde
WHO says that being a teacher means being poor? Charles Lukubo Kyasanku is one of the teachers who strongly disagree with this reasoning and has lived a purposeful life; making a mark in some people who believe becoming a teacher is choosing to be poor both in his own life and other people’s lives. He owns a secondary school, rental houses, a storeyed commercial building in Mpigi town and a massive farm with hundreds of cattle. But that is not all. He is also the mayor of Mpigi Town Council.
He is among the richest people in Mpigi with his buildings worth millions of shillings. He has served in a number of schools as a head teacher before retiring to teach in his school in Mpigi. He is now a millionaire, from a few shillings he started with from his salary. He started with a salary of sh1,300 in 1975. At the time he was volunteering at Kyambogo College School. His colleagues say he was a small, darkskinned man, but that is what partly distances him from the rest. Often times he would be teased by his colleagues that he was destined to be a teacher . It would be fair to say no one knew that he was headed for greatness.
Today, he is an owner of Kyasanku Hill College with a population of 421 students. He started the school several years ago with only 28 students. “With inspiration from the then head teacher of Kyambogo College, Gerald Lukwago, I managed to start teaching.
He was very considerate and would always support new teachers,” he explains. After volunteering for five years, in 1980, he was transferred to Gombe SS in Mpigi as a teacher, a place that nurtured his career. “As a teacher, this was not only a demotion, but a punishment. Being transferred from a good school which had good resources to a rural school with almost no resources,” he explains.
Gombe SS had incomplete never absent from any of the school duties,” he narrates. Kyasanku adds that he was always the first in the school. He made sure his job was his first priority. Due to his dedication, he was appointed by the ministry of education as the first head teacher of St Maria Gorreti Katende in Mpigi.
The school had just been opened and had not gotten a headmaster. “St Maria Gorreti had more challenges than the ones I met at Gombe SS. I had to be so creative to manage the situation at the school and with time, things started getting better. The population of the school increased with time,” Kyasanku explains.
Kyasanku says one of the challenges he found were the rowdy students, something he had to curb immediately. In 1986, he was posted to St. Mathias Kalemba–Nazigo in Kayunga; a school he also tried to improve, according to the people in the community.
The school was performing poorly, especially in A’level. But, at the end of his 16 years’ tenure, the performance had greatly improved. In 2002, Kyasanku was given an award as the best head teacher in Mukono district. That year, he left St. Kalemba and joined St John’s Nandele. “I do not know why each school I was posted to was in a bad shape.
St. John’s had been neglected and was dilapidated, and it was my duty to revive it,” he says. “He built a modern library at this school and helped the school improve its performance,” said Michael Muyomba, a community member, in the school’s neighborhood.
Fredrick Luganda, who was the director of studies when Kyasanku was a head teacher at St. John’s SS says, Kyansanku is a man who can get results from scratch. “When he joined the school, we saw a humble man and we did not expect him to do much. But by the time he left the school, everything was amazing.
He set up new structures, improved the performance and also changed the financial status of the teachers,” Luganda explains. He adds that Kyasanku taught them how to be enterprising and avoid complaining all the time. Rev Can. Jason Musoke says at the time he worked in Mpigi, he knew Kyasanku as a co-operative man.
He adds that Kyasanku always left a mark wherever he went.
Starting a school
After completing the construction of his school, he retired from government, to concentrate on Kyasanku Hill College. In 2013, he decided to start Kyasanku Hill College on a piece of land he had acquired while still teaching. “I felt it would not be fair to quit teaching without opening my own school.
I had transformed many schools, and it was time to start my own,” he says. He saved about sh600m and opened his own school. He put up one structure that housed Senior One to Senior Six classes. “I have increased structures and today the school has well-built structures providing a good environment for students,” he adds.
Kyasanku Hill College students walking to class. Photos by Andrew Masinde
“Since I was now having my own school and I was a director as well as a teacher, I decided to start another challenging task; I was elected as the mayor for Mpigi Town Council. “My vision is to modernise Mpigi town, the way I have changed many schools,” Kyasanku says.
He hopes to further his political career in the next 10 years to ensure that there is improved service delivery in his area.
He went to St. Kizito Primary School in Mpigi and St Mary’s Jjanya Primary School. He later joined Kisubi Seminary in 1964 for his Senior One, but later dropped out due to inadequate school fees. Despite the fees challenges, Kyasanku never gave up.
In 1966, he joined St. Edward’s SS Bukuumi, in Kibaale district to further his secondary education. He later joined Makerere College School for his A’level education in 1970 before joining Makerere University for a bachelors of arts in education.
Kyasanku advises teachers in rural schools to utilise the little money they have. “When I was posted to a rural area, I thought it was a curse, but the land I found there made me what I am. I utilised my first salary and started a canteen. So why can’t other teachers also start up side businesses? I advise parents never to sell their property in the name of educating their children in modern schools since a child can succeed in any school.
Kyasanku saw bloom where other teachers saw gloom