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Usuk SS rises from grass to grace in Katakwi

By Godfrey Ojore

Added 25th April 2016 03:19 PM

Besides, the institution lacked trained teachers. The only qualified person was the head teacher, Stephen Ilemukorit.

Usuk SS rises from grass to grace in Katakwi

The Administration block built with funds from ADB. Photos/Godfrey Ojore

Besides, the institution lacked trained teachers. The only qualified person was the head teacher, Stephen Ilemukorit.

Unlike other schools that started with a few structures, for Usuk secondary school in Katakwi district, it borrowed classrooms of Usuk boy's primary school to kick off.

Besides, the institution lacked trained teachers. The only qualified person was the head teacher, Stephen Ilemukorit.

The teachers that Government posted to Usuk SS declined to turn up due to remoteness of the place and insecurity caused by the Karimojong rustlers.

"I decided to recruit Senior Six leavers to help since we couldn't wait for the Government teachers to appreciate being in Usuk," Stephen Ilemukorit, the school's first headteacher recalls.

 eadmaster shows off one of the trophies the school won Headmaster shows off one of the trophies the school won

 

Ilemukorit, who left the school the school about 30 years ago and joined politics; is now a retired man still residing in Katakwi.

The Uganda People's Army rebellion took its toll on this school coupled with the persistent raids by the Karimojong; whose first stop-over would always be Usuk before proceeding to raid other parts of the district.

For long the school grappled with all those challenges until recently when the region became peaceful.

Gone are the days when Ilemukorit would go borrowing text books from Teso College Aloet (TCA) for teaching children at Usuk since the Government. Nowadays, the school now has its own textbooks. Of late, the school has new structures, set up at a tune of sh3.6bn from Government and the African Development Bank.

After 32 years, from the time it was started, it is now blossoming to greatness.

A wall gate manned by a private security guard that never existed before now is the first massive feature that welcomes you to this school.

 he school library The school library

 
The compound consists of upcoming trees and behind those leafy trees, stands maroon painted, beautiful structures.

 The new structures include two blocks housing four classrooms, a main hall, a library, toilets and an administration block.

Others are a girl's dormitory and a solar panel.

"The new structures were set up on time because the laboratory we had, lacked equipment," says the current school headmaster Simon Peter Oluka.

Currently Usuk SS, which is a mixed day school, has enrolment of 590 students with 32 teachers of whom 19 are on government payroll while 15 are paid by parents under Parents teachers association (PTA).

The school is supposed to have 100 teachers and due to a deficit of over 60 teachers the school hires teachers from private schools. The school has a capacity of admitting about 1,000 students.

 "If we get all the required teachers, we shall excel in academics like other big schools elsewhere," Oluka explained.

Even with that challenge, Usuk SS is a star in academics, because in entire Katakwi district they emerged the best during last year's Senior Four results.

They produced five students passing in Division One. Katakwi district has 13 secondary schools; with the majority being private owned.

"We would be at the standard of Teso College Aloet, Ngora High school or Soroti SS. But we have to work harder," says Andrew Akori the director of studies at the school.

He further explains that the poor performance is partly due to the kind of students they enroll who never performed well in Primary Seven unlike other schools that take the cream.

"Government policy dictates that we enroll students with aggregates 28 but right now we are failing to realise the number and we have to adjust. Otherwise, we shall have nothing to enroll," Akori says.

He is happy that the students are able to do science practicals on a weekly basis unlike in the past where they had to conduct it once in a term due to lack of equipment and spacious room.

 he serene environment at the school The serene environment at the school

 
"Usuk is not of the old type, when we were there it was more of an abandoned institution but today when you visit it you feel you have visited a school," said Patrick Ongwali a pioneer student of Usuk SS.

Ongwali expresses gratitude to Government for reviving Usuk that many viewed to be on its deathbed into a lively institution that has produced great men and women.

Ongwali is currently the inspector of schools in Katakwi district and many of the old students of Usuk are spread all over the country in various institutions such as police, education, and law among other sectors.

Part of the measures that they have put in place for improving academic standards is creating a boarding section for both girls and boys.

"Most of the students who passed the 2015's Senior Four national examinations, are from the boarding section," Andrew Ariko the deputy head teacher says.

As much as the plan is good but they are constrained by space for all the students to enroll into the boarding section. The school is also not yet officially allowed to house students in the boarding section.

Meanwhile, the school still sits on the land allocated to them by Usuk boys primary school, which is a Catholic founded school.

"We have acquired 34.5 acres of land in Ongongoja sub-county. This is the biggest achievement we are proud of," said Philbert Ochailap says the former PTA chairman and currently the RDC of Katakwi.

He is strongly convinced that the school's performance will improve, with the construction of new buildings by the Government.

OLD STUDENTS

  •      Patrick Ongwali, Currently the inspector of school in Katakwi
  •     Joseph Paul Ocatum, Ministry of Trade and industry
  •      James Philip Okwangol,  Headmaster Adacar primary school in Katakwi
  •     Andrew Ariko, Current deputy head teacher of Usuk SS




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