At the mention of the name Gerald Muguluma, old students from St Joseph’s Naggalama, Namilyango College among other schools will describe him as a tough and strict teacher. A disciplinarian that never tolerated any bad behaviour, a teacher that pushed every student to his or her limit and a favourite of many parents who took their children to the different schools he was posted to. However, after 36 years as a teacher, Muguluma retired in December 2017.
Having graduated as a teacher of Biology and Chemistry from Makerere University, Muguluma joined the teaching institution in 1981. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education. He reveals that he was persuaded to become a teacher by his late father Cornelius Kiragga.
“My father had always wanted me to be a teacher and I remember him telling me that if I became a teacher I would be like the late Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah,” he recalls.
This pushed Muguluma to work hard and remain relevant in the education sector. In 1991, Muguluma served as deputy head teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel Gayaza and in 1993 he was posted as headmaster to St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Naggalama.
“When I became a headmaster I knew I had come to the peak of my career. This is when I decided to start preparing for my retirement.”
After nine years at Naggalama, he was transferred to Namilyango College, Mukono where he worked until December 2017. Muguluma attributes his promotion to hardwork and being result-oriented.
Planning ahead of time
Right from university Muguluma knew that once he worked for government, retirement was a must. At that time, civil servants retired at 55 years, something that made him work hard and plan early enough.
The retired teacher says one of his plans was to own land and by 1994 he had bought land in Muyonyo. However, he says this was possible because the school had provided him and his family a place to stay.
“I was privileged to be posted to boarding schools which had teachers’ quarters. Not spending on rent gave me an opportunity to buy land. By 1996, I had started building, but was not under any form of pressure because I knew my family had a place to stay,” he explains.
Noting that the other thing he put emphasis on was not to retire into paying school fees. “I planned and made it clear to my wife that by the time I retire our children must be through with school.”
Sharing with his wife his retirement goals, made it easy for him to plan for the little amount he was earning.
Establishing a side income
“While at Namilyango and being a headmaster I made use of the school land to establish a farm. I would sell off food to the school and fellow teachers and also reserve some for my family. All teachers that were interested also had access to the land and were free to either grow crops or rear animals.”
Muguluma adds that before he was appointed headmaster, he did photography for side income. Over the weekends, he would visit schools to take students’ photos and those of the nonstudents.
“ At that time I was thinking of something that would not strain me. It is then that I invested in more land on which I would build rentals and set up a farm.”
Teaming up for income
Before his retirement, Muguluma teamed up with three of his friends to start a consultancy company that deals in school management. He says whoever was interested in their services was to pay Shs300,000 per hour, but before they could push it further, at the beginning of 2018 he was called upon by Ministry of education to join the National In-Service Training Centre (SESMAT) at Kololo Secondary School to train science teachers.
Initially, this was managed by the Japanese but when they left, the Education ministry thought Muguluma was a good replacement.
Much as their consultancy company did not take off, schools still approach him for consultation and this comes at Shs500, 000 per hour. On top of that, he manages a 10-acre farm in Mukono District. With these engagements, Muguuma believes he is retired but not tired. “Given an opportunity, I would go back to the classroom.”
Permanent and pensionable
Permanent and pensionable appointments are appointments to an established position with a view of long-term employment and subject to pension benefits. As a government employee, Muguluma says in 2018 he was given his gratuity worth Shs100m and he continues to receive a monthly pension, of Shs900,000.
“I have heard people complain about delay in the payment of their pension, but I think sometimes we are to blame. Because if you are planning to retire start putting together all the necessary documents. For example, if you are planning to retire in 2025, start processing your documents in 2023. Take time to look for all your papers from the time you joined service up to the time you will be leaving. Get all the necessary signatures before submitting them to the concerned individuals.”
Muluguma says he has been healthy all his life, which he attributes to God’s grace and the fact that he is self-reliant.
“I dig and run around with my cows. I am lucky I have been healthy to do most of the things myself,” he says. “Also, get a good physician, who knows your medical history to treat you.”
He advises people to eat fruits daily and says smoking and drinking retard the brain later in life . He urges retirees to engage in activities that keep their minds busy so that they remain alert.