Unlike some parents who discourage their children from pursuing a career in teaching, Herbert Muhumuza’s parents encouraged him. “They had no problem with me pursuing a teaching career. They believed I would excel at whatever career I chose and did not dictate on the one I should go for. I also knew that teaching was a career like any other,” Muhumuza states.
And for the last 18 years, he has not lived for anything else except excelling at what he does and transforming lives. Therefore, it did not surprise me when I entered his office last Friday afternoon and found him questioning a teacher why students were not performing Kiswahili well and what he is doing about it.
This, he does because it is part of his duties as the deputy principal in charge of academics but even so because he has an inborn passion for excellence.
“I treat teaching as my calling but I also accompany it with the love and passion of delivering what the society we live in needs,” Muhumuza explains.
His education background, too, does not disappoint. He attended Kyeirumba Primary School in Kabarole District from 1984 to 1989 after which joined Nyakasura School from 1990 to 1993 for O-Level. He later joined Mityana Secondary School from 1994 to 1995 for his A-Level.
Starting his career
He did not grapple with deciding what he should pursue at the university. In 1996, Muhumuza joined the Institute of Teacher Education present day Kyambogo University for a two-year diploma course.
Soon after his diploma in 1999, he started teaching at Light Secondary School in Bulenga. He later decided to upgrade at Makerere University and in 2006, he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Education degree majoring in Fine Art.
During his studies at Makerere, he switched from Light College to Crested Secondary School in July 2003 as a teacher.
His hard work at the school has since seen him rise from being a mere classroom teacher to deputy principal in charge of academics.
Thoughts on education system
Like most educationists, Muhumuza urges the government to review the curriculum because the Ugandan education system, he says, is so academic oriented.
“In the reviewed curriculum people should be taught skills in relation to the demands of the ever changing world,” Muhumuza says.
Currently, he argues, that when you compare the number of schools and the high numbers of students who go through the system, they outnumber vocational institutes that teach skills. Yet, the number of schools, he observes, need to match vocational institutes.
“The government needs to do a lot more in setting up more vocational institutes where students can acquire skills at different levels to enable them live a meaningful life,” he advises.