Twenty-eight years ago Celestine Twinomugisha, 50, walked into his first duty station Ryakahimbi Primary School in Mitooma District as a deputy head teacher. This was a challenge for a fresh teacher but young as he was he braved the position and has never looked back.
But Twinomugisha is not an ordinary head teacher; he involves pupils in decision making and development of the school. At St Kaggwa Boarding Primary School in Bushenyi-Ishaka municipality where he is the current head teacher, pupils take part in planning meetings at the beginning and end of the term.
“By doing this they are involved in monitoring the progress of the school,” he says.
Born in 1967, the teacher of science did not have it easy as a child. His parents were not only uneducated and poor but did not value education. Therefore, they had no zeal in educating their son, the third born of 10 children.
“I remember when I was joined St. Kaggwa Bushenyi High School, my parents had no money to enroll me in boarding section so for Senior One to Senior Two, I commuted 15km daily to and from school,” Twinomugisha recalls.
The 50-year-old started school completed his primary school at Kitabi Demonstration Primary School in 1982, O-Level from St. Kaggwa Bushenyi High School in 1987, and teacher training at Kitabi Primary Teachers College in 1989.
First days as teacher
After serving as deputy head teacher at Ryakahimbi Primary School in Mitooma District for one year, Twinomugisha was transferred to Bushenyi Town School as a Primary Seven teacher in 1990 and then to Kyeitembe Model Primary School from 1992 to 1993.
He was in 1994 made head teacher of Kitabi Demonstration Primary School where he served from 1994 to 2000 and in 2001 was appointed head teacher of St. Kagwa Boarding Primary School an office he has held for 16 years.
His first days of teaching were challenging as the salary was meager and could not enable him meet all his needs.
“Our salary was not so encouraging. We used to wear sandals made locally from car tyres. You could not even use the money from your salary to marry someone’s daughter or buy land. You had to first save for about five years to do anything tangible,” he recalls.
Because he loved teaching, Twinomugisha persevered until government reviewed teachers’ salary structure. He currently boasts of getting something substantial, being on the last bar according to what primary school teachers get.
His school has been ranked among the best UPE schools in Uganda in PLE results the latest being 2016 where out of 157 candidates at his school, 129 came in Division One and the rest in Division Two.
In addition to this, Twinomugisha was in the years 2013 and 2014 named among the best head teachers in Uganda by the Ministry of Education and Sports in an initiative organised by the Directorate of Education standards. But he says Uganda has not streamlined elements in the education system such as teacher motivation which is against the saying that; “he who keeps the teacher hungry keeps the wells of wisdom dry”.
The head teacher is also married and has seven children two of which are already at university.