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    Ugandans’ Have A Poor Reading Culture – Education Officials Warns

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    Uganda’s have a very poor reading culture compared to their colleagues in other African countries according to Namuddu Juliet, a Director Education in Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

    Addressing the press, Namuddu urged parents and Ugandans to spend twenty minutes off their schedules today (15th March) and read a book or any piece of document.

    Namuddu says that the Ministry of Education and Sports is embarking on building libraries and stocking them with books to support this cause.

    “We are doing everything possible to see that government schools get libraries and with the partnerships from our donors, we shall be buying and putting more books in schools for our students to grow up with a good reading culture. Reading is one of the things that will bring transition and it’s a skill that everyone needs at their workplace, therefore, I urge everyone to get something and read at least for a few minutes,” Namuddu said.

    Namuddu added that government through the Ministry of Education and sports, designated three days (14th,15th and 16th) to have school going children participate efficiently and gain passion in reading.

    Birungi Musa, an official from the Ministry of Education and sports says that ever since they started commemorating this day, they have yielded results and the number of people who visit libraries have increased by 40.50% compared to other years.

    The mobile library project initiated by KCCA is also doing very well and schools have benefited a lot with more than 5825 pupils visiting libraries in the 10 pilot schools the ministry together with KCCA put.

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    EDUCATION

    How Father Lost Battle To Reverse Suspension Slapped On Daughter Found Distributing Marijuana At Peter’s Naalya SSS…

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    Justice Musa Ssekaana the head of the Civil Division of the High Court has dismissed with costs a suit filed by a female student against St Peter’s Naalya Senior Secondary School for suspending her on allegations of distributing marijuana and other deadly drugs at the school premises.

    Tracy Natukunda Bamanya, a senior six candidate through her lawyers of M/s TM Kayemba Advocates filed a suit seeking for Court’s declarations that she was illegally suspended from the said school.

    She further wanted a permanent injunction stopping the school and its servants, agents from enforcing the decision to prevent her from conducting any further hearing arising out of the impugned indefinite suspension and preventing her from reporting back to the school for third term, attending classes, siting for mocks, tests, and other examinations.

    She was also seeking for a mandamus order directing the school to immediately reinstate her admission status till conclusion of her Uganda Advanced Certificate Examination Level.

    She was supported by the affidavit of her father Edward Mwesigwa Bamanya who denied all the allegations placed on her daughter that she is very indiscipline and always breaches the school rules and regulations.

    However, the school opposed the suit through the affidavit sworn by John Katongole the Headmaster of the school.

    Katongole pined Natukunda that during all her time at the school, she has always been indiscipline and disobedient to the rules set by the school.

    He gave an example that in the first term of the 2022 academic year, she was found in possession of marijuana and a matchbox which is an offence under Rule 14 of the school.

    Guided by the school’s lawyers of MMAKS Advocates, Katongole told Court that the offence Natukunda committed according to the school’s Rules is punishable by an indefinite suspension.

    When she was questioned by the school’s teachers concerning these illicit items and asked to record a statement, she admitted in her own statement of committing the offences in the presences of her parents.

    He explained to the Court that she continued with the habit and an investigation was carried out involving questioning of other students who revealed that Natukunda had been distributing marijuana cookies and marijuana for smoking to fellow students.

    The school management concluded the investigations and then summoned her and her parents to the school to present the findings to them.

    Due to the gravity of the offences committed, the parents were summoned to the school disciplinary committee and the disciplinary committee informed them with their daughter that she had grossly violated the school rules and the punishment under the rules was indefinite suspension.

    The disciplinary committee decided to not immediately enforce the indefinite suspension. They allowed her a leave of absence of five days after her parents pleaded with the school for time to ensure their daughter is able to change.

    Katongole told Court that Natukunda chose to abuse the discretion that had been exercised by the disciplinary committee by attacking the students who implicated her during the disciplinary committee hearing and continued to harass other students at the school.

    This time, the school had no option but to enforce the decision of the disciplinary committee and to indefinitely suspend her because she posed a danger to the lives and health of other students.

    Katongole insisted that she was accorded a fair hearing at all material times and was given the opportunity to make her representation on multiple occasions both in writing and later on before the disciplinary committee.

    The decision- making process was fairly conducted and the management of the school gave her numerous opportunities to reform.

    In his judgment, Justice Ssekaana agreed with the school.

    Ssekaana explained that Court should look beyond the narrow question of whether the decision was taken in a procedurally improper manner, to a question of whether a decision properly taken would have been any different or would have benefited Natukunda.

    He added that Natukunda thought that she should have been given a separate hearing setting out the offence for which she was being indefinitely suspended after she had been allowed back in school in March 2022.

    “The applicant was justifiably suspended indefinitely without a hearing due to the nature of the alleged offence of breaching the school rules and regulations. The applicant was found to be involved in using drugs- cannabis, weed cookies and specifically being a supplier in the school.  The actions of the applicant did not only constitute a breach of school rules and regulations but it is also a criminal offence under the Penal Code,” Justice Ssekaana stated.

    He added that the school management made the decision of suspending Natukunda to protect the rest of the students from her in the interest of broader public interest to the school community promptly.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    EDUCATION

    REVEALED: 30-year-old Investor Injects Billions In First Ever International School In Masaka…

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    On the Matanga hill in Masaka city is seated a 10-acre world class Hill View primary school Matanga with international standards and educational services despite teaching a local curriculum.

    The school which is yet to celebrate its one year anniversary has been an academic hub in Greater Masaka and the country at large due to its balanced curriculum which offers all-round well balanced education to children from different backgrounds.

    Our in depth research has proven that in just a space of a few months, the school proprietor has invested over 2 billion Shillings in the school in terms of educational services and infrastructure.

    Who is behind this mega project?

    Our investigations have revealed that 30-year-old Ssentongo Fredrick Lugonvu alias Mwana wa Taata, a Buganda based journalist, life coach and business man who mainly deals in hardware stores, all the way from Busubi Village Lwengo District is the proprietor of Hill View Primary school Matanga.

    Our team contacted the proprietor Ssentongo Fredrick Lugonvu, a humble and down to earth soft speaking gentleman and throughout our eight minutes conversation with him, he remained lip tight on whether he owns the multibillion school.

    However this was not shocking due to his nature of being a reserved person whose strength and weak points are hard to determine.

    We made an impromptu visit to the school and the first impression at the gate gives you a clear picture of how an international school must be. With unmatched conducive environment and well set up infrastructures, the school is seated on Matanga hills with a cool breeze from Lake Birinzi.

    After introducing ourselves we were directed to the office of the public relations officer of the school who took us through what makes the school stand out among other schools in the area and the country at large.

    A humble and jolly but equally principled PRO Nambaziira Mariam told us that the school is systematically run starting from the School management committee, head teacher and his deputies, heads of departments, Heads of section, non-teaching staff and the pupils’ leaders.

    She told us that the question of ownersip doesn’t arise since he is not involved in the day to day running of the school.

    She however revealed that at the grand opening of the school on 30th November 2023, the owner will be made known to the public.

    What makes Hill View Primary school Matanga unique?

    Pupils are only required to clear school fees and their personal necessities because other requirements like; school uniform, mattresses, basins, jerry cans among others are provided for by the school.

    We noticed that Hill View Primary School Matanga provides a balanced nutritious diet to the pupils. It also offers co-curricular activities especially; games, sports, aerobics, music, dance and drama with each item having its independent facility.

    As we toured the school, we found a new three stored flat building being erected.

    What is its capacity?

    According to Nambaziira, more structures are to be set up and once completed, the school will accommodate about 3000 boarding ambassadors as they are referred to in their school language.

    To have a virtual view of this impressive paradise, you can visit; website at www.hillviewmatanga.com

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    EDUCATION

    REBELLION AT SMACK: Staff Uprising Looms As Bro. Mpanga’s Trial And Error Management Style Sends Staff On The Edge…

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    St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) is among the “ivy-league” schools in Uganda, with many prominent old boys.

    According to a 2018 published report, St. Mary’s College Kisubi is the most prestigious school in Uganda, owing to its excellent academic performance and all-round nurturing of its students.   However, this stands to go up in smoke, following a mutiny that is brewing at the 117-year-old institution.

    An exclusive dossier seen by this website reveals that a rebellion looming among staff members who are living in a cloud of misery.

    The staff members and support staff have petitioned the Ministry of Education and Sports against the mal-administration perpetuated by the school headmaster, Bro. Simeon Mpanga. This, after similar attempts to get redress from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) hit a dead end.

    In the missive to the Permanent Secretary (PS), the staff members detail that among many other problems, there are glaring discrepancies in workers’ salaries.

    “The previous college administration and the PTA Treasurer, Mr. Ronald Kasozi, who also doubled as Treasurer to the BOG, made inquiries into the workers’ salaries where upon he harmonised all payments to ensure equity and fairness,” they say.

    They further explain, “The new administration, under Brother Simon Simeon Mpanga, enhanced salaries of arts teachers on government payroll, as well as all teachers on BOG contract to bridge the gap at least by 50%, which was really a good and empathetic gesture. However, some teachers were intentionally left out of this increment, which is unfair. Therefore, we suggest that there should be a payroll audit to harmonise and ensure fair pay for all and the arrears be paid to the affected employees,”

    The aggrieved parties also reveal that there is divide and rule of the staff.  They claim Bro. Simon Simeon Mpanga has deliberately divided the staff for his selfish interests.

    “At first, he divided the staff basing on tribal grounds but when he realised that this would bring him trouble in the near future, he started doing it indirectly by dividing the staff basing on the period an individual teacher and other employees have served at the college.”

    In addition to the above, they say Bro. Simeon Mpanga is is fond of humiliating and embarrassing some staff members during weekly Friday staff briefings.  During these meetings, he always threatens and intimidates these victimised teachers with transfers.

    To those who are paid by the BOG, he is always threatening to cut down on their number and replace them with teachers on government payroll yet he has at the same time brought on board many teachers and support staff not on government payroll. This is traumatizing and severely damages the self-esteem of the employees on top of killing the morale and self-drive every worker should have.

    It is revealed that some teachers do not attend Friday staff briefings for fear of being humiliated and embarrassed.  There are fears that this may eventually impact negatively on the general performance of the school.

    “It would be okay if he privately summoned us (teachers) to discuss where we could have gone wrong.  It is sad that he relies on spies and rumours before humiliating us during the meetings,” they claim.

    They say that in relation to the above, some workers have been falsely accused and framed for offences they know nothing about.

    A case in point is a class teacher whom Bro. Simon Simeon Mpanga unjustly accuses of extorting money from parents to conduct online lessons yet it is actually the parents themselves who demanded for the service and even formed a committee to manage the finances and the programme.

    He also accuses teachers of using the parents-teachers WhatsApp groups to campaign for and rally support behind some parents into the PTA Executive positions.

    They say this is not true as parents overwhelmingly voted Counsel Michael Musisi-Chairman PTA, Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo-Vice Chairman PTA, Mr. Ronald Kasozi-Treasurer, Mrs Alice Guloba-Vice treasurer, Dr. Achan Okiria Patricia-member, Col. Joseph Fred Onata- member and Eng. Tugume Ayebare-member because of the trust and confidence they have in them as far as serving the interest of the College is concerned.

    It is also revealed that Bro. Mpanga also accuses teachers of not closing the WhatsApp groups as he instructed which is not true.

    “Honestly teachers closed the groups on his instructions even without clear reasons for the closure of these communication channels. However, because of the many events that have been taking place at school, some parents who are also administrators of these WhatsApp groups often reopen them to keep the fellow parents who are unable to attend, abreast with what is transpiring at school.

    It should be noted that this directive of WhatsApp closure by Bro. Simon Simeon Mpanga is against the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and association as clearly stipulated in the National Constitution of the Republic of Uganda chapter four, article 29 section (1), sub section (a) and (e).

    They claim that some of Bro Mpanga’s accusations bode on the macabre. “It is sad to mention that some accusations are as cheap as blaming some employees for practising witchcraft and this is enough to cost someone their hard-earned job,” He himself is known as a witchcraft practitioner hence the suspicion that like him, others too do practice it.

    They relay their shock at a recent discovery that the teachers’ representatives on the Board of Governors were not democratically elected by the staff but appointed by the Head Teacher for his selfish interests.

    “This was total violation of the guidelines of electing members of the BOG by the different constituencies as clearly stipulated in the Education Act 2008, Act 13 section 58, 59. We recommend that the Board of Governors be recalled and the different constituencies be given the right to democratically choose representatives of their own choice,”

    Bro Mpanga Sidelines Deputy for office messenger

    Worth noting also is that the current Head Teacher is always at cross purposes with the subjects he is supposed to be carrying out administrative work with.

    It is surprising to note that rather than delegate his deputy in charge of administration, Mr. Justus Katatumba and other administrators, he instead assigns responsibilities to an office messenger a one Kasozi and his cohorts.

    No wonder, weekly administrative assessment meetings which were regular in the previous regime for purposes College progress are no longer held.

    Members are simply informed of the final verdict of the Headteacher during the weekly Friday briefings whether it is viable or not to the surprise of other administrators. This affects both staff and students since all this is not reflected on the term planner.

    “It is so saddening to note that Bro. Simeon Simon Mpanga falsely accuses his deputy Headteacher in charge of administration, Mr. Justus Katatumba and a section of staff members, of fighting his administration. It is obvious that he is using this as a tool to justify eliminating this whole group. In truth, this is absolutely false. It has been discovered that he is playing this dirty game with the Chairman BOG by feeding him with false information tarnishing a section of staff and planning together how to get rid of these innocent people without giving them a listening ear,” they claim.

    They say that everyone’s surprise, on Tuesday 13th June, 2023 during the swearing-in ceremony of the democratically elected prefects, Bro. Simeon Mpanga announced that he had created new prefectorial posts which have not been there before.

    He even suggested some names, especially of the losers of high posts. This did not go well with the entire students’ community and staff who believe in fairness and democracy.

    Students believe that these appointed prefects should have been subjected to the normal procedure of applying, vetting, campaigning, being voted for and being sworn in before being given instruments of power.

    Students are sceptical that the sole purpose for these prefects is to spy for the head teacher and enforce his selfish interests among the

    students.

    Many a time, students have been heard complaining about these prefects as they have been seen mistreating fellow students, especially those who did not vote them.

    In the first place, their roles are not stipulated nor streamlined.

    In relation to the above, this clarifies a case in the previous year’s prefectorial elections

    when he planted a candidate at the last minute, on the post of Head Prefect to contest against the preferred and most popular candidate.

    They claim that he shamelessly went ahead to campaign for his candidate among the S. 1 and 2 classes which had the largest numbers that were young and easy to convince. To date, he still witch-hunts this innocent boy he plotted against.

    They write that ppreviously, the AGM and visitation had been planned (on the term planner) to take place on the same day Saturday 8th July, 2023. However, this was changed abruptly whereby the two events were separated, shifting AGM to the following Sunday 16th July, 2023. On a Sunday, few parents are expected to turn up as they would have on a Saturday.

    “Furthermore, parents were informed through their children that no parent would be allowed to see or interact with their children to discourage them further. This, we came to learn later that the two events combined would attract so many parents who would interfere with his selfish interests of influencing his own choices to the PTA executive. This went according to plan as indeed the number of parents that turned up was quite less,” they write.

    They claim that those and many more instances point to Bro Mpanga’s maladministration and unfortunately, the unsuspecting public knows nothing about it.

    “We are grateful to Rev. Fr. Ronald Bwanika-the College Chaplain for his endeavours to keep the staff and administration solid, we are forever indebted to him.  It should be noted clearly that this aggrieved group is not against Bro. Simon Simeon Mpanga-The Ag Head Teacher as a person neither do they wish him anything bad but we are fighting for the protection of all employees’ rights, freedoms and fairness,” they concluded.

     

    By Grapevine Reporters

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