He mined gold at 13 to get school fees

Monday December 10 2018

Alexson Musinguzi says teachers should not look

Alexson Musinguzi says teachers should not look at salary alone and forget to serve. Photo by Zadock Amanyisa  

By Zadock Amanyisa

While in Primary Six at 13 years of age, Alexson Musinguzi, 46, lost his father in an accident. The head teacher of Kyabugimbi Secondary School in Bushenyi District who has been in service for 23 years, says life was never the same after that. His father who was the family’s bread winner was gone and there was no steady source of income for his school fees.

Musinguzi decided to take to the gold mines in a neighbouring sub-county where he mined gold and got some money for his school fees. Alongside gold mining, he sold yellow bananas and burnt charcoal to earn money. But all this did not stop him from being the head teacher we see today.
In fact, he is convinced that someone’s background has nothing to do with their future because with determination and confidence, one can make it.

Musinguzi was born in 1972 at Nyamyerande in Bushenyi District to Patrick Buzaare and Elvanis Mali who are all deceased. He started school in 1979 at Ruhumuro Primary School from where he completed Primary Seven in 1985 after scoring a first grade. At the time, scoring a good grade meant joining a first class secondary school, but Musinguzi joined Ruyonza School in Bushenyi in 1986 which was about 20kms from his home. He was a day student after being given shelter by a relative who lived near the school.

In 1989, he completed Senior Four but still pursued his A-Level at the same school and completed in 1992. After Senior Six, Musinguzi enrolled for a Diploma in Education at Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK) from 1993 to 1995.
After the course, Musinguzi started teaching at Kilembe Secondary School in Kasese District at 23 years of age.

“The beginning was not easy because I was not on government payroll for the first year. I would get paid Shs50,000 from Parents Teacher’s Association. During that period, I started working with the Electoral Commission as a civic educator during holidays,” Musinguzi recalls.
Having spent four years in service, Musinguzi decided to further his studies. That is when he enrolled at Makerere University to pursue a Bachelor’s of Education, a course he completed in 2002.
He has since then taught in several schools including Valley College, Bweranyangi Girls Secondary School, Nganwa High School, Plus Two High School, St. Agnes Girls Secondary School, Ankole Western University and Kyabugimbi Secondary School where he is an acting head teacher.

Mode of work
Musinguzi says he is a results oriented person who is not money hungry but considers the work he delivers because money will never be enough yet education does not stop.
He believes dealing with the learners’ attitude towards education and discipline is the key to academic excellence.
“Discipline is important in education. I always want learners to have a good attitude towards education, behave well and build self-confidence. These are important as far education is concerned. I want someone to believe that thay can make it regardless of the background,” he says.

Musinguzi has been able to pay school fees for his siblings and children, buy and develop land in various areas, invest in a retail shop, and establish banana plantations which have in turn given him additional income.
Like any other career, Musnguzi says he has met challenges but they have not stopped him from giving a service to the nation. He says he has endured poor pay, poor performance by students, and poor parents’ participation in their children’s education, among others.

Social engagements
Besides teaching, Musinguzi has engaged in leadership and social responsibilities. He has since 1996 served as a teachers’ representative on boards of governors in some of the schools, Uganda National Teachers Association and national delegate representing Sheema and Bushenyi districts, Head of Laity in the Anglican Church of Uganda, chairman school management committee, executive member –Bushenyi District youth council. He currently serves as Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) chairperson for Bushenyi District.

Musinguzi tips
Teachers. Make learners excel and their success in life will also be yours. Avoid illicit behaviour such as alcoholism which might destroy your career as well as multiple borrowing in financial institutions.
Parents. Be concerned about your child’s education. Provide school fees and always visit schools to check the progress of your child’s education. Be in constant contact with teachers so that you can know how your child performs.
Learners. Be self-driven, focused, and guard your life against worldly pleasures. Identify your potential and develop it when it is still early.

What they say about him
“His attention to discipline and attitude change make him tick as a teacher. He also has a parental approach towards challenges students face. He can sacrifice himself or his business for the benefit of his students.”
Angella Nakirya, former student

“I have been inspired by him to become a teacher. He teaches and mentors students like no other. He is also concerned with the welfare of students.”
Brighton Twesigye, former student