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Kaloke Christian High sets new stage for Nakaseke education

By Richard Wetaya

Added 27th July 2016 07:25 PM

A cool breeze blows through the tree branches as I make my way in. I stop under a tree shade for a while, enjoying the cool breeze waiting for the head teacher.

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A cool breeze blows through the tree branches as I make my way in. I stop under a tree shade for a while, enjoying the cool breeze waiting for the head teacher.

As the sun hits its mid morning ascendancy, a pastel shade forms under the huge tree at the entrance to Kaloke Christian High School in Nakaseke.

A cool breeze blows through the tree branches as I make my way in. I stop under a tree shade for a while, enjoying the cool breeze waiting for the head teacher.

 
The school compound and classroom blocks are spotlessly clean. Right from the entrance, the compound, though slightly bushy is beautifully adorned with flower gardens. The overgrown grass is understandable since the students are on holiday but the aura of serenity pervades the environment all the same.

 

When Mugabi Ssebuliba, the head teacher finally joins me, I had had more than a treat, from the bird chirp serenading to the nippy tree winds. 
 
Ssebuliba tells me the school stays quiet and tranquil even during school time.  
As we tread around, the tranquil environment is only interrupted, on occasion, by the frequent bird chirps, which I had now gotten used to, and the sounds of children pumping water at a nearby bore hole.

 
From Ssebuliba’s account, Kaloke’s has one of the best, if not the best study environment in the whole of Nakaseke district due to its location, roughly six kilometers from the buzzing Namayumba Trading Centre. Records indicate the school was founded in 1987 by Phares Katamba.

 
“The school started off as a mixed private institution with one mud and wattle structure. At the threshold, the school had 20 students.  The student population remained low because Kaloke was distant and many villagers could not afford paying fees for their children.

 

Katamba wanted to provide affordable education to the many disadvantaged children, orphaned by the war in Luweero triangle. He later handed over the school to the Seventh day Adventist church.

 

The school is still under the auspices of the church, though the partnership agreement signed in 2001 between the government and the church, means it receives grants from the government under the Universal Secondary Education (USE) scheme,” Ssebuliba explains. 
 
Through the years, there has evidently been gradual improvement at the school.

 
Much of the infrastructural developments started off in 2012 under the auspices of the African Development Bank IV project. With ADB funding, a computer laboratory, a library with a sitting capacity of 120 students, two science laboratories, each with sitting capacity of 55 students, six classrooms and a girl’s dormitory and counseling room were constructed.

 

More three water borne toilets with 14 stances, a fully furnished administration block, and a housing unit for the head teacher and his deputy, running water, furniture for the laboratories, laboratory apparatus, laboratories re-agents and textbooks covering all subjects were also provided.

 
“Standards at the school have improved substantially since the ADB project took root. Unlike in the past, the school now has almost all the provisions to efficiently teach students and a tailor-made environment and rudiments to enable students to study well and pass,” says Katamba.

 

 

There is now a computer laboratory with over 30 computers, provided by the government. The student to teacher ratio has gotten better overtime. It is now at 60:1. The school however needs more teachers. The ideal number should be 34 but we have only 20.

 

Ssebuliba who joined the school in 2012, says by the close of last term in 2015, Kaloke Christian High has 381 students, both O’ and A’ level.

 
“In the next 3-5 years, we hope to attract as many students as possible because the school has capacity to accommodate 1, 000 students.  We hope to attract more students by improving our academic performance and putting a premium on student excellence in co-curricular activities like music, dance and drama.

 

 “The school has 18 graduate teachers paid by the government, two teachers off the Government payroll and seven non-teaching staff,” Ssebuliba reveals.

The school now has adequate furniture in the laboratories and in the library that was built. There are books in the library, running water, gas and furniture in the laboratories, a sick bay and a girl’s dormitory,” Ssebuliba notes. 
 
Beatrice Nalubwana, a resident of Kaloke says the current school structures have changed the image of the school.

 

“There was not much appreciation of the school at its beginning and the school did not have as much infrastructure as it has now. Gradually however, locals and people from other areas are picking interest in the school. As of today, there are facilities in the school, that you will be hard pressed to find in other rural schools in Uganda,” Nalubwana says. 

 

Academic performances
In terms of academic performance, Kaloke has registered minimal progress.
“The school academic performance through the years has been wanting. Factors such as enrolling students with mediocre academic records and discipline problems have not helped much,” Ssebuliba says.

Over the last 10 years, the school has failed to get even 10% of their students in Senior Four national examinations passing in Division One.
In 2013, Kaloke Christian High had its first batch of A’ level students. Eight out of the 14 students who sat for the national examinations got two principal passes; the bare minimum, instead of the three required principal passes.
In 2014, 10 out of 16 students who sat for A’ level exams registered two principal passes.

The school administration is however, determined to turn the tide.
Ssebuliba says the vast Government investment at the school will bring changes to bear, not only in terms of academics but also in terms of teacher commitment.
“Emphasis is going to be laid on encouraging students to work extra hard, now that the school has a fully equipped library and science laboratory. The student to textbook ratio is now at par. The school is also going to vet thoroughly the students it enrolls because one of the reasons for underperformance has been recruiting students with poor academic records.  Emphasis is also going to be laid on bettering discipline,”

Ssebuliba adds that the new structures will also come in handy in terms of bettering hygiene.
“The school’s old structures were dusty and not conducive enough for academic study,”

 
Improving prospects

Steven Batanudde, the District Education Officer of Nakaseke District says that, “As a district, we are grateful to the Government for the infrastructural development at the school.”

He adds that, “Good infrastructure contributes a lot towards improving performance in schools. We are anticipating improvements at the school, not only in terms of enrollment, but staffing as well. The district is going to improve monitoring to ensure that changes are brought to bear at the school.”

Meanwhile, Fred Kiwalabye, a parent to a student at school, says he sees a bright future on the horizon.
“Since the ADB project was implemented, there has been a real semblance of improvement at the school. The school now has better infrastructure and equipment for the students. This will attract more students in the future. From my observation, the school enrolled about 200 students last year. The prospects for the future are looking good,” Kiwalabye says. 

Current Enrollment Capacity
Ssebuliba says by the close of term 3 last year, the school had a total student population of 381 students, both O’ and A’ level.
“In the next 3-5 years, we hope to attract as many students as possible because the school has capacity to accommodate 1000 students. The school has 18 graduate teachers paid by the government, 2 private paid teachers and 7 non teaching staff,” Ssebuliba reveals.

Challenges 

Apart from the dismissal performance, Ssebuliba says one of the underlying challenges the school has been grappling with, is the shortage of teachers.
“The school needs 14 more qualified teachers. At present, the school only has 20 teachers.
 Two more English teachers are needed. Currently there is one teacher shouldering the responsibility of teaching that subject from senior 1-4. At A’ level, five more teachers are needed. There is also acute need for staff accommodation”

 
Ssebuliba says the other challenge the school faces is teachers sleeping in shifts. There are also cases of teachers travelling long distances to come and teach. To all appearances, only one block with two housing units for the head teacher and the deputy were constructed, under the ADB project.

 The school sick bay is also devoid of some basics though it has a qualified nurse. We also have faced the challenge of providing meals for students. Those challenges have in many respects, not only played havoc with the performance of our teachers and students, but have also affected the smooth running of affairs at the school,” Ssebuliba laments. 
 
The other challenge, Ssebuliba adds, is the high rate of students dropping out of school.

 “That problem has reared its ugly head for some time and the school is working hard to put an end to it. It is mostly male students who drop out. Most of them are seen working in sand quarries and riding boda boda’s,” the headteacher narrates.

More so, there have been instances when the school has had load shedding, for weeks. That costs “the school a lot of money because of high fuel costs in this area,” Ssebuliba says. 
 
PROMINENT OLD STUDENTS

·     Andy Mwesigwa, former Uganda Cranes Captain.

·     William Ssebugwawo, Prominent Kampala businessman.

·     Moses Musisi, former vice Chairman, LC V, Kiboga district

 

 

 

 

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