We are continuing our series of articles about the work of KRDP in Kimaluli-Butta in Eastern Uganda. This month, we will focus on our support for schools. This has been a major part of our work since 2000. We have supported Butta Primary School since that date. We began to support Kimaluli High School in 2002 and, more recently, have started to support Nalondo- Butta Primary School which is situated in a neighbouring community a few miles away.
Butta Primary School is a Government school with over 1300 pupils. The national policy is that all children should go to school, both boys and girls, although at one time it would have been mainly boys. The school is divided into seven year-groups in much the same way that a primary school in this country would be. However, a pupil may not necessarily move through the school in seven years. Some may have at least one break, e.g. to help their family with farming, and then come back to school. So, classes at the top of the school can have pupils with quite a wide age range. Back in 2000, the school had 6 classrooms built of mud bricks. Children sat on the floor for their lessons – there were no desks. They had one text book between twenty pupils. Over the years since then, KRDP has funded the construction of ten classrooms, built of good bricks on proper foundations. All classrooms have desks. There is an electricity supply for power and lighting. We have provided extra textbooks so that there is now one for every three pupils, in all subjects throughout the school. We have provided a head teacher’s office and a staffroom. In conjunction with the Africa Educational Trust we have also provided a reading library. Along the way, the Government built four classrooms, with furniture. So, there is now an average of about 95 pupils per class – a situation which the head teacher has described as “much more manageable”.
Kimaluli High School was started by the parents in 2001. At that time, there was no policy of universal secondary education in Uganda. Kimaluli-Butta was a long way from any Government-funded high school. Parents, who wanted their children to continue their education after primary school, had constructed a mud-brick building with three classrooms and recruited some teachers. There were a few benches and blackboards, but nothing else. The school was so basic that, when the Government found out about it, they instructed it to close. The community asked KRDP for help.
In 2002, we funded the building of two classrooms, together with a head teacher’s office, followed shortly by two more. We provided furniture and text books, plus science equipment that had been donated by schools in Frodsham and Runcorn. At this point the Government reversed its decision and took the school into the national education system. They appointed new teachers with better qualifications and, most importantly, began to pay their salaries. In 2009, with support from a family business in Chester, we funded the building of three more classrooms plus a science laboratory, all equipped with furniture. We also provided electricity throughout the school for power and lighting. The Government wanted IT to be taught and provided nine computers. KRDP converted one of the early classrooms into an IT room, with secure doors and windows, a false ceiling and a tiled floor to help control dust. In 2013, the school was chosen by the Government as one of the schools it would improve using funds from the World Bank. Six more classrooms were built plus two laboratories. The KRDP laboratory was converted into a library. The school now has over 600 pupils and is the most significant high school in this part of Uganda. It has moved a long way from the original mud-brick building and KRDP feels privileged to have been able to help it do so.
Nalondo-Butta Primary School has about 600 pupils. Our Ugandan partners wanted KRDP to help it since it had very few text books. We provided books for every subject in the curriculum throughout the school plus teachers’ workbooks. More recently, we have provided bookcases so that they can be stored properly.
Alongside our work in healthcare, which we described in the last edition of the magazine, KRDP sees its work in education as one of the most important contributions we have made to this part of Uganda. This will continue, since the schools still lack many of the facilities we would see as normal in schools in this country.
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