Hajjat Aminah Namaganda is the Head teacher of Wakiso Muslim Secondary School. The Sunrise’s Sekka Bagenda sat with her and interviewed her. Below are excerpts.
Qn: Why have you organized this occasion today?
Ans: Last year on Sunday 13th October, we invited Sheiks to come and join us in prayer. We asked Allah to help our senior six class of the year 2019 to excel. We pledged to Allah that if He granted us what we asked from Him, we would gather in the same place, to thank Him for answering our prayers. And here we are to thank Him, for He is faithful.
Qn: What has really helped you reach these great academic heights which other schools in the country just dream about but never achieve?
Ans: As I have already told you, we are a religious school. We trust in Allah and. He has done it for us because we always pray to Him. Allah fights for us. Secondly discipline is key. We put a lot of emphasis on discipline. You must have observed that our students are very disciplined.
Our staff is very committed. We work together as a team. We are competent. All the teachers here are qualified teachers. We motivate them. Our learners are also motivated. We give prizes to those who excel. This is done at the end of every term during academic assemblies at every end of the term.
Tests are done regularly. Every evening we give tests to our students. Our laboratories are well stocked. It is the reason why we produced some of the best science students in the country. Wakiso district beat the rest of the districts in UACE exams in the country. And we were ranked among the best in Wakiso district.
Qn: What special message would like to pass on, to the parents and the general public?
Ans: I would like to tell parents out there that they should do everything they can to educate their Students. Today the world has changed. In this century, an uneducated person is going to be defeated by this first running world. You cannot win today if you are not educated. And, my fellow parents out there, stop telling your Students that you are working hard so that you can leave for them things that they can inherit. Some parents even go to the extent of distributing their property to the Students while they are still alive. This is wrong. It forces Students to relax at school since to them going to school means acquiring wealth at the end of the day, which is wrong. Knowledge is power.
Parents should urge Students to concentrate on their studies and to continuously look for knowledge and heavenly wisdom. They will succeed in this competitive world and fit in it. It is Allah who gives wealth. Students should be told that there is time for everything. They should be patient and study. They will make their money and gather their own wealth when the time comes, after studies. Our Students should not think that they are studying to become rich but rather to gain knowledge just like Allah teaches us in the Quran.
Qn: Is there anything you can say to the teachers and the entire staff of Wakiso Muslim Secondary School Secondary School?
Ans: Our staff is composed of 69 members. Out of these, those who go to class and teach are 49. The remaining twenty are the support and ground staff members. I thank all my teachers for working hard. Here we work hand in hand and this is the reason why Allah too has finally heard our prayers. These people are so committed. Without them really Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary school wouldn’t have achieved all this. They are not the most paid people in Wakiso. There are so many good schools in Wakiso as you know, but these teachers here have been so patient with us. They appreciate the little we give them. We thank all the staff members who may not go to classrooms, to teach.
Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary school cannot run without them. My teachers in class cannot concentrate to teach our learners well when they are hungry. In some schools, students strike over food that may be poorly cooked or delayed by the cooks. We have not seen that here since I was appointed head teacher in 2017. I thank the cooks in the kitchen there. The cleaners have done a wonderful job too. As you can also see, the sanitation at school is so amazing. It is this support staff that some employers elsewhere take for granted that has done this.
Qn: Despite all the successes that the school has had. Are there any challenges that you face as a school?
Ans: Well, we are of this world. As an institution we face challenges. As you perhaps heard already, the government withdrew the USE programme from private schools. It is now in government aided schools only.
Wakiso Muslim Secondary School Secondary school is located in Wakiso district. Some of these areas surrounding the school are full of Students who would like to continue to benefit from the USE programme fully.
Before that decision by government, we had a lot of students here at Wakiso Muslim Secondary School who were benefitting from the USE programme. Under the programme the dues paid were lower as compared to what they can pay if the school is wholly private.
Poor parents are today facing great difficulties. Those who endured and left their Students here cannot pay school dues in time. This means some of these Students cannot concentrate on their studies fully as we often send them home to clear the dues.
Those that cant afford our tuition here have to walk long distances to faraway schools like Balibaseka and Mende Kalema. We ask government to rethink its decision. Some of these private schools are near to people. And with the U SE programme in them, we know we can provide quality education to even the very poor in society.
The apparatuses used in the science laboratories are also very expensive. Some private schools, because they are taxed, on top of meeting other expenses, cannot stock their science laboratories fully making it so expensive and out of reach of many schools.
Look at the rural schools for instance. It’s impossible for them to afford them yet these are all Ugandan Students. We appeal to government to relax the taxes on these apparatuses so that even the schools out there, where very low income earners educate their Students from, may afford them.
Qn: Besides these results here, what else have you achieved that has attracted students to Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary school?
Ans: Here at Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary, we nurture talent. When you moved around you saw. We are almost completing our state of the art basket ball court. It has cost us huge sums of money but we don’t mind. Talent building is among our top priorities here. So the court is there. We have a good at netball team. The football field is just down there. And we are still improving it.
Our school football team is among the high sounding ones in Wakiso district. We really love sports. Our volley ball team last year qualified and competed in Soroti at the National level representing Wakiso district. Isn’t that great Mr. Bagenda? Here the child we produce must be complete.
We also have a badminton court here. We train good runners at Wakiso Muslim Secondary School Secondary too. Last year, some of our runners qualified to the district level. Our Students participate in MDD too.
At Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary school, we teach our Students vocational skills. A well skilled child cannot fail to compete and fit in this world of today. We teach weaving and craft making here. Our Students are taught how to make books. Liquid soap can be made by some of our students here.
The child we produce here goes out while knowing how Vaseline is made. I told you at Wakiso Muslim Secondary School Secondary school, we produce a complete child and you can now see that. Vocational skills are provided too, to our Students.
We are a Muslim founded school but students from other faiths are welcome too, at Wakiso Muslim Secondary School secondary school. Sheiks and priests are usually invited to lead the students in Prayer.
Qn: You sound a very enthusiastic and determined lady. What is your secret, as we wrap this interview?
Ans: Well, thank you Mr. Bagenda. First of all, I love what I do. I never rest before achieving what I want. I am fighter who cannot rest until we, as a school aspiring for excellence, achieve excellence. I cannot wait when it comes to striving, to excel. This is my third year here.
During my first year, we took three students on government sponsorship to public universities. In 2018 we managed to take 12 students. This year, all our students will be admitted touniversities of their choice. No one failed. I thank Allah it is during my reign that Wakiso Muslim Secondary School Secondary school has begun to shine, steadily.
Sekka Bagenda: Thank you very much madam head teacher for your time
Head teacher: Thank you very much, too.