Today, thanks to his innovation, other teachers at the school have adopted the use of this system in other subjects.
Nagongera Girls’ innovative science teacher
The 34-year-old Daniel Waninda holds a diploma in primary education. After joining Nagongera Girls Primary School in Tororo district, he repeatedly went out of his way to use ICT to help his learners excel. At the time, in 2006, he was a Science teacher, handling upper classes in the school.
Due to his good discipline and interpersonal relationship with teachers and pupils, he was in 2013 appointed the director of studies, a position he holds to date. In 2014, when the use of information technology in rural schools was not widely spread, this teacher offered his own computer to teach the Science at this school.
Nowadays, he downloads some science learning material, puts them on a flash drive and then transfers it to his laptop to demonstrate to his pupils. He also lobbied for a projector from the school administration, to help him execute his lessons effectively.
Today, thanks to his innovation, other teachers at the school have adopted the use of this system in other subjects. After the successful implementation of ICT as a learning tool, he has now developed a template for automatic grading of learners, using Microsoft Excel.
This has greatly reduced teachers’ workload of grading learners manually and hence improved assessment at school.
Waninda also uses the template to grade Tororo district mock exams. He has also helped the district develop an e-registration system of its education institutions.
Waninda also heads the department of co-curricular activities, where he participates fully with children; winning several medals at the various competitions. This has built the talents of many learners.
Waninda is described by the head teacher, as a very committed, self-driven and hardworking teacher who is result-oriented and does not need any kind of close supervision.
BASAN MOHAMED KHAN
A force of change in Bugiri district
Judging from his physical appearance, the 40-year-old Basan Mohamed Khan could easily pass for an ordinary classroom teacher. But he is more than ordinary. Khan, for the last six months, has just taken over as the deputy head teacher at Butumba Muslim Primary School in Bugiri district. Within a short time, his presence is already being felt.
Previously, Khan was at Hindocha Primary School in Bugiri Municipal council, where he left an enviable legacy and sad teachers and parents; who did not want him to leave the school.
Khan has managed to change the image of the school, boosted fellow teachers’ morale, inspired pupils, and initiated projects to enable the school negotiate the tricky funding shortfalls and inadequate facilities.
In February, Khan initiated a brick-laying project to construct staff quarters since teachers did not have adequate accommodation.
He mobilised the pupils to bake bricks. As of now the pupils have managed to make 60,000 bricks ready to be used in the construction of the teacher’s quarters. To support the pupils, he suggested that each parent pays sh500 during every parent’s meetings as a modest contribution towards the labour costs.
Khan has also forged a close working relationship with parents. He holds regular meetings with them, to update them about school activities and programmes. During such meetings, he also solicits ideas from them and takes in feedback. This has improved collaboration between parents and teachers at the school.
More so, after realizing that some 200 Muslim orphaned pupils could not afford to pay for lunch and scholastic materials, Khan introduced the idea of visiting all mosques throughout the district to solicit for financial support from well-wishers.
The money would go towards helping the disadvantaged children continue with their education, comfortably. “Some of these children used to miss lessons due to hunger, as they would stay out scouting for food.
Khan has also set up a nursery bed to grow cabbages, tomatoes, and eggplants in the school garden, to cater for teachers’ school meals. Using his advocacy and lobbying skills, Khan has also managed to lure a non- governmental organization, World Vision, to paint the school and give it a new face.
The school was constructed by the government in 1957. With the consent from parents, has proposed the establishment of a boarding section for Primary Seven candidates, which he says will save time for pupils who have been walking to and from school every day.
Khan uses his earnings, to financially support to the school’s football and netball teams by buying for them sachets of glucose and iced water after every match. During the sub-county primary school inter-football competitions held at the school last month, Butumba’s soccer team emerged overall winner after beating Buwunga Primary School 2-1. The school’s netball team also emerged winners after trouncing neighbours, Kataala Primary School; 23-15.
Bukayi houses, transports Kamuli girls to school
As some pick up netballs and rush to the pitch, others sing songs while sitting on the dormitory veranda in an effort to throw off the classroom fatigue.
The expansive block accommodating lower school learners has a satellite dish mounted to its roof, a sign that watching the television contributes significantly towards the refreshment of the young brains.
Despite the relaxation mood, a handful of girls do not abandon their books as they rest on their beds at Kamuli Girls Boarding Primary School in Kamuli district. The fragrance of numerous brands of bathing soap fills the air, an indication that preparations are on for shower hour.
However, some of the girls keep rushing back to their teachers under tree shades to seek clarification on those aspects they did not grasp in class. Barely eight years ago, the state of affairs was different until Wilson Bukaayi was transferred here as head teacher.
The school was built by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1910. Most of the buildings on location had asbestos roofs until 2010. Gaping holes characterized the roofing of these structures, which suggested a dire need for renovation.
According to Bukaayi, by the time he took over, the school’s population had dwindled to 302 pupils due to the dilapidated state of the school.
In order to increase the number of girls in the school, Bukaayi convinced the school management and parents alike to take a sh60m bank loan to purchase a school van.
The coaster van was purchased in 2011 and within three years, the school had cleared the loan which stood at about sh80m; including the interest.
The vehicle was put on the road to ferry passengers on the Kampala route for about two years and that was enough to generate the money to pay back the loan.
Bukaayi says that with transport secured, the school’s enrolment shot up. This resulted into demand for more sleeping space, which prompted him to convince parents to fund the construction of a bigger dormitory.
The head teacher’s efforts seem to have paid off as more girls are enrolling at the school.
Alibu keeps Karimajong girls in school
When Deborah Alibu joined Namalu Mixed Primary School in Nakapiripirit, in 2012, the girls were using a washroom made out of wooden poles and rusty iron sheets.
In fact big boys would peep through openings in the old iron sheets and make fun of the female pupils. This state of affairs made a number of girls shy away from school, and unfortunately some of them dropped out of school.
Records show that by then, the school had about 145 girls with just 12 of them in P7. Most parents did not value education and kept their children at home for marriage. This belief boosted by lack of decent washrooms played against the efforts by Government and several other actors to retain girls in school
This is where Alibu stepped in. She embarked on lobbying for help from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and sought the help of the sub-county administration to assist her to keep more girls in school as UPE funds alone could not help. It required having more ways of encouraging girls to stay in schools.
Alibu lobbying efforts paid off in 2015, when a local NGO, Water Aid, in conjunction with the sub-county administration constructed a four-stance washroom for girls at the school. Even though only eight females resided at the girls’ hostel two years ago, the building now accommodates 41 female pupils, after construction of the multi-million washrooms.
Hero for children with hearing impairments
Anna Twongeirwe graduated as a Grade III teacher in 2000. She was posted to Nyakibale Lower Primary School, where she still teaches to-date.
Two years after her appointment, Twongeirwe enrolled for a two-year diploma in sign language at the Uganda National Institute of Special Education in Kyambogo. In 2006, she returned to Nyakibale, where she started teaching children with hearing impairment.
Thanks to her efforts, Nyakibale Lower Primary School has become a centre for teaching children with hearing impairments. Currently the school has 58 pupils with hearing impairments, out of the total enrollment of 632 children.
Over the last 10 years, Twongeirwe has dedicated all her skill and energies to supporting children with hearing impairment at the Universal Primary Education (UPE) School. It has been a tough call in a school that not only lacks facilities to support inclusive education, but also where attitudes towards children with disabilities remain largely negative.
Twongeirwe has dedicated all her skills and energies to supporting children with hearing impairment at the Universal Primary Education (UPE) School. It has been a tough call in a school that not only lacks facilities to support inclusive education, but also where attitudes towards children with disabilities remain largely negative.
Though she faces difficulties because of lacks of teaching aids and textbooks, she has not been cowed by this and improvises by using pictorial charts which she makes. Sometimes she takes the pupils outdoors, where she makes visual presentations using real life objects.
Sometimes the pupils with hearing impairments get naughty and engage in fights with their classmates. To solve this, Twongeirwe has started a counselling programme at school where, with the help of interpreters, she inculcates discipline into them.
This has not only turned them into respectful and disciplined pupils also boosted their self-esteem. Despite the fact that some of them are slow at grasping classroom concepts, she is often patient with them.
Masereka nurtures students beyond classrooms
Eric Masereka has been a teacher for the last 23 years, having graduated as a Grade II teacher, from Bwera Teachers College.
He started teaching at Mbunga Primary School in Kilembe sub-county. In 1994, he was promoted from being a classroom teacher to acting headteacher. He also served at Nkangi Primary School before joining Railways Primary School. Masereka is pursuing a PhD at Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
For many people in Kasese district, Masereka is the “grandfather of Universal Primary Education (UPE). This is because of his selfless dedication to supporting teachers, parents and pupils and for his innovations.
Through the difficult conditions that UPE schools face, Masereka always goes out of his way to encourage teachers and pupils and to make the most of whatever little is available.
He is keen to nurturing pupils and equipping them with life skills, well beyond the expectations of the classroom. Masereka is currently the head teacher of Railways Primary School in Kasese, a job he has held since 2012.
When he joined this school, there was very little in terms of co-curricular activities. Masereka then embarked on promoting out-of-class activities that have now turned Railways primary school into one of the best in the region.
The school managed to participate in the national primary music festivals in 2013, where they emerged 13th. Since then they have won trophies, while they continue to excel academically.
At school, Masereka champions an all-round education of the highest standards, to prepare his pupils for the future. He teaches them about leadership and makes sure that they learn practical skills.
Masereka provides learners with locally-made materials to make bags, jewelry and mats. He also provides training for them to perfect their crafts.
He wants pupils who can shine academically and also excel beyond the classroom in all aspects of student life.
He has also ensured that parents send their children to school with packed lunch. The parents have complied well, bringing about great relief and solving a decades old feeding puzzle.
Masereka is also referred to as ‘daddy’ at school by his pupils because of his friendly and fatherly attributes. He has also worked hard to connect the school with the outside world and this has helped the school find support in various areas.
He has also found donors who have offered scholastic materials like textbooks, chalk, and other things which have help the school not to rely on government for supplies. He has also mobilized parents to construct a girl’s washroom at the school to ensure that girls experiencing menstruation are catered for.
When Masereka came to the school four years ago, girls’ sanitary needs were not being catered for. He mobilized parents and also collected money to put up a washroom for them.
Kisibo beats odds to give Tororo pupils lunch
Although most primary schools are unable to provide lunch to pupils, this is not the case at Morukatipe Primary School in Tororo district.
More so, the pupils at this school are always engaging in skills development activities.
All this would not have been possible, without the support of Musa Kisibo, an all-round teacher of the upper primary section. Kisibo teaches mathematics, social studies, art and craft, as well as agriculture. But, he does a lot more than teach.
Kisibo has attained a lot of knowledge in agriculture from the Tororo District Agriculture and Information Center (DATIC), where he attends several trainings. He has ensured that he imparts modern agriculture skills and knowledge to the pupils.
He does this outside of the official classroom time.
He also started school gardening. Today, thanks to his initiative, pupils of Morukatipe have started producing their own food through the demonstration gardens started by Kisibo. In these gardens, they grow maize, potatoes, cassava and vegetables. This initiative has ensured a steady supply of food for the pupils’ lunch.
The inability by schools to provide lunch for pupils has been one of the major contributors to high drop-out rates in Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools.
Through the Child Rights art club which has 30 members, Kisibo also engages learners in drawing lessons.
To be able to pull off these projects, Kisibo has enlisted the support of the school administration and local NGOs. They have provided the much needed materials and sometimes financial help in the absence of crucial resources.
SARAH SUSAN WAMALA
Wamala outwits poverty to offer quality education
Wamala, is the first born to famous musician Elly Wamala and his wife Rebecca of Mugongo in Wakiso district. Implementing Universal Primary Education (UPE) has been an uphill task to many teachers, with some giving up while others simply continue to lament about the system.
However, some have decided to fold up their sleeves and have brought good fortune to the schools they teach at. One such teacher is Susan Wamala Sserunkuuma, the head teacher of Mukono Boarding Primary School in Mukono Municipality.
When Wamala joined the school in 2006 as head teacher, it was in a sorry state. There were only 281 pupils in the school against its capacity of 800 pupils. About a half of those came to school barefooted and had no uniform.
Absenteeism and late-coming were a norm among teachers and pupils. Pupils also went hungry. Wamala worked hard to establish order in the school. She started by ensuring that all children wear shoes and school uniform.
Wamala also worked hard to uplift the academic standard of the school. She organised refresher courses for teachers to improve their teaching skills. She also invited expert teachers from other schools to share their knowledge with them.
Wamala also put in effort to improve feeding at the school; a suggestion that has warmed people’s hearts. Wamala instituted measures to have all pupils take lunch at school.
She asked parents to contribute sh60, 000 towards school meals. For those who could not afford, she requested that they contribute raw foodstuffs from their gardens which they would sell to the school and earn money to settle scholastic requirements.
As a result, pupils now eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. “Over the last decade our enrolment has grown from 281 pupils in 2006 to 931 today. Performance at the school has also improved.
When she joined the school as head teacher in 2006, they had only 12 students passing in Division one out of the 81 candidates that sat exams that year. That number grew to 33 out of 68 candidates in 2013, 61 out of 103 the following year and 84 out of 105 as of 2015.