George William Ssemivule started his journey as an educationist in 1973. He was a physics and mathematics teacher at His Highness Aga Khan Secondary School and at Makerere College School.
In fact, Ssemivule taught before he even graduated.
“There were very few teachers. Before and after we graduated, we were employed by government to teach in many schools. During my university vacation, I taught at Kololo Secondary School,” he explains.
His time at King’s College Budo
His career from then on saw him journeying to different schools but it was at King’s College Budo that he left his biggest mark. When he returned to this hill, where he got his secondary education, Ssemivule received a warm welcome.
He had worked with a number of staff members. He explains: “Some of the teachers there were my former students at Kyambogo Teacher’s College and Ndejje SS where I had taught before so I was coming back to people I had worked with before.”
When he assumed office, he unveiled his work plan.
“I am a democratic leader who always thinks that I should give someone a chance to perform. I am also a result-oriented person because at the end of the day, parents give us their children to add value and groom them,” the educationist explains.
Ssemivule believes that skills other than mere notes are more important to students. His aim was to use the education to impart skills not only to help students survive but to also have a recognisable position in society.
“You have to make sure the child is developed in whatever talent it is that they have. I believed in developing their character and self-esteem,” he adds.
Ssemivule also believed in students being part of the system as a way of getting them to play their part in the school administration.
“That kind of attitude of open-opportunity is very good for a young child. At Budo, students are not told to go to class. It is up to the student to realise that they have to read and plan their own time and they choose to invest time in reading books,” he explains.
It was during Ssemivule’s time as head teacher that Budo celebrated its centenary in 2006.
And this education does says he does not succumb to failure because he often set achievable targets and worked hard to achieve them with his team.
Message to teachers
His message to secondary school teachers is to operate by setting objectives because these guide one to focuss on what you want to achieve.
“Though I did not have the time to complete some of my objectives at Budo, the current head teacher, Patrick Bakka Male, has done so because I always showed everyone what I intended to do. It is not a particular head teacher but rather the school that has to achieve targets,” Ssemivule adds.
Ssemivule left Budo in 2007 for Mengo Secondary School, where he spent three years and retired. Currently, he is a lecturer at Ndejje University.
His achievements at Budo
Some of his achievements while at Budo included getting a National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) water booster station up to the hill where the school is located.
He re-introduced the school band and established several international school links; in Norway and Japan for teacher exchanges, US for the Brooks school students exchange.
“I also established an intra-net/internet fiber glass network that connects the school’s main server to classrooms, laboratories, boys’ dormitories, staffroom and head teacher’s office and house. The idea was to enable the students to access academic work from anywhere, including their dormitories,” he explains.
He also established a eucalyptus forest and a mango plantation down at at the school land in Kabinja.
He rejuvenated the Old Budonian Club (Association) to a level that it is not only self-supporting but it owns tangible assets like land and houses in Kampala.
Challenges at Budo
Even when challenges came along the way, Ssemivule did not see them as obstacles.
“During our time, we had challenges with accommodation, which saw us building the new library complex structure. We had a challenge of small classrooms and yet the numbers were growing. Our focus was to make sure that we create as much room every time when we were there,” Ssemivule recollects. He continues: “The classrooms at that time were supposed to accommodate only 25 students but they were housing more than 60 students. This could not provide a conducive learning environment.”
Ssemivule says they also had challenges in the academics field.
“We had a problem of balancing sciences and arts subjects. Arts subjects were not being done well as compared to the sciences. We carried out career bazaars by getting old students different professionals like police officers, teachers, musicians and others to talk to the students so as to expose them to different careers,” Ssemivule explains how he fixed the imbalances in the subjects.
Who is Ssemivule?
Background. Born August 8, in 1951 at Kisubi Hospital.
Education. Attended Luzira Prisons Primary School and Budo Junior School for primary. He went to Kings College Budo for hid secondary education. He later obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Mathematics and a Diploma in Education at Makerere University. He also has a Master’s degree in Educational Management.
Career. In 1978, he went to Kyambogo National Teachers college as a Physics lecturer, where he taught for six years.
In 1980, the Ministry of Education transferred him to Nabisunsa Girls School as a teacher and requested him to start up the Advanced Level (A’ level) section.
In 1984 he was posted to Sir Apollo Kaggwa Secondary School in Mukono District where he was for four years up to 1988.
In 1988, he joined Ndejje Secondary School where he served up to 1998.
He taught at Busoga College Mwiri from 1998 up to 2000.
In 2000, he was posted to King’s College Budo until 2007.
In 2007, he was posted to Mengo Senior School until 2010 when he retired.