Mark Baingana(left),and his guardian share a moment with the school board chairs Mansur Tembo, KASSOBA chairperson Tonny Mugenyi and Masindi chair Cosmas Byaruhanga. Baingana got 20 points in UACE.
A couple of weeks ago, ten teachers who had the majority of A’s and B’s in last year’s exams were awarded plaques and other gifts while best students also received awards.
MASINDI- A few days ago, Kabalega SS, one of the historical schools in Uganda celebrated the performance of their best student in A'level.
This was Mark Baingana, who got the maximum 20 points; a kind of performance which the school had not attained in the last five years.
Baingana Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and ICT. He scored 1AAA1, a score he said came as a surprise.
Winnie Likiso, a teacher for physics in A'level, receives a plaque from the Masindi RDC Godfrey Nyakahuma. The old boys awarded teachers who got students with the highest number of As and B. (Photo by Priscillar Nyamahunge )
"A Distinction 1 in General paper? It is hard to believe. I got it because of God's grace. I knew I could get 20 points but I did not expect a distinction in GP," Baingana said.
Baingana set a new record at the school.
In the history of Kabalega Secondary School which was opened in 1959 and is located about 2km away from Masindi town, no one had ever scored all the points with a distinction in General paper.
"We used to have top scorers when the maximum points were 25 but no one had ever scored a distinction in GP," Andrew Tumwesige, the school's head teacher said.
Over the last five years or more, Kabalega's best students would fall between 12 and 17; points both in Sciences and in Arts.
Apart from the A'level performance, the school has also been registering very poor performance at O'level.
A few weeks ago, the school had an ecumenical thanksgiving and award ceremony.
All the leaders re-echoed the need to give thanks to God whenever a blessing comes along.
According to Tonny Mugenyi, the chairperson of the Kabalega Secondary School Old Boys' Association (KASSOBA), the school has been experiencing many challenges including administrative mismanagement.
Mugenyi studied at the school in the 1990s and is a materials' engineer working with the Ministry of Works and Transport.
"There has been a continuous change of administration. Some of the administrators did not have love for the school and the poor management would lead to cases of indiscipline such as strikes destroying school's infrastructure," Mugenyi said.
Dr. Henry Dabanja, a surgeon at Mengo Hospital who completed his A'level at the school in 1998, said the transfer of teachers also affected the school.
"New administrations would come in with their own policies and whoever opposed the negative ones would be transferred. Many of the good teachers who would produce good grades were transferred and those who remained were demoralised," Dabanja said.
Mugenyi said the KASSOBA fraternity decided to have a collective effort in rebuilding the school's faded image.
"We used to be humiliated by different parties whenever the school performed poorly. As successful old students, we engaged ourselves in identifying an administrator who would ably make a positive impact," Mugenyi said.
In February last year, Tumwesige, who had earlier been at St. Joseph's College Ombaci, was posted to the school.
The school administration has teamed up with the KASSOBA fraternity to uplift the school.
"We are already searching for the good teachers who used to help students excel in this school. We shall lobby and have them back," Dabanja said.
Mugenyi said the fraternity will be holding an annual Thanksgiving and awards ceremony for both teachers and students who excel in academics.
"We would like to motivate our teachers and encourage them to work more diligently and we hope the awards will motivate the students and teachers," Mugenyi said.
A couple of weeks ago, ten teachers who had the majority of A's and B's in last year's exams were awarded plaques and other gifts while best students also received awards.
The school also received three desktop computers from the old boys' fraternity.
Baingana, who has since been nicknamed as ‘golden boy' by the school, was awarded a laptop.
The old boys are also planning to start different projects every year.
Last year, they donated about 500 textbooks. This year, Mugenyi said the focus is to equip the computer laboratory and rebuilding ‘Bikunya' dormitory which got burnt during a strike."
"We have lobbied and we are expecting about sh650m from the education ministry this year to help us refurbish the dormitory. Later, we shall mobilise for more money to uplift the infrastructure of this school," Mugenyi said.
The school also wants to venture into digitalized learning.
"We want every student to have a tablet filled with all the required learning areas. The tablet would, in the long run, be paid off using the students' fees," Mugenyi said.
Meanwhile, Tumwesige said the school will be inviting resourceful persons from other best performing schools around the country who will, in turn, help the students in different aspects.
"At school, we have also initiated a result oriented target. We are setting a minimum performance target for classes and if students fail to attain them, a teacher is supposed to review and get better methods of imparting knowledge," Tumwesige said.
Tumwesige said teachers are tasked to do both online and textbook research such that they can keep up-to-date and give students the basic knowledge as the per the changing trends.
According to Tumwesige, one of the issues that would affect the school's performance was a failure to pay teachers.
"Many had arrears by the time I joined. I now pay them by 15th of every month. I have also introduced payment for extra working hours and many teachers are using it as a means of getting more income," Tumwesige said.
Tumwesige said there are needy students who would fail to clear tuition and find difficulties studying.
"I encourage parents to bring whatever they can afford and we convert it into tuition. It can be in form of food supplies or any other merchandise," Tumwesige said.
Ten years ago, the school's enrollment hit 1,000 students. However, the school now has about 500 or fewer students but Tumwesige says he is hopeful that good performance will bring the numbers back.
"Right now, it is not about the numbers but rather the quality performance," Tumwesige said.
Joab Businge, the Masindi Municipal mayor, who is also a teacher by profession, called upon leaders and teachers in the district to be exemplary and send their children to the school.
"Some teachers are here (at Kabalega) but their children are in Kampala schools. What sort of example is that? You need to place your children where you work. That is the number one step into working towards better performance because your own would be involved," Businge said.
What other people say;
Phillip Kihumuro, former student
"We shall stand against bad leadership and will work jointly towards the success of the school. We call upon parents to trust us with their children and work with us to attain the best."
Mark Baigana, former student and best student for 2018;
"Students should believe in themselves and work towards achieving the goals they have set. They should always seek guidance where they lack but most of all, discipline and trust in God is key."
Salama Kugonza, district female youth councilor
"Students must always have a positive attitude because it is key to success and should not allow being diverted by negative thoughts."