Retired head teacher Boniface Banserurra, 78, lives in Buteebe Trading Centre in Fort Portal. Banserurra spends much of his time attending to his clients who come to buy newspapers at his home and also doing domestic work. He had engaged in subsistence farming but opted to sell newspapers because he loves reading and wants to keep tabs with the current affairs.
Banserurra spent 29 years as a teacher and administrator in schools. He retired in 1995 when he was 53 years old.
Joining teacher’s college
He set out to become a priest after completing primary school, joining Kitabi Seminary in Bushenyi District where he was educated until 1960. He, however dropped out and enroled at St Augustine Teacher’s College a year later.
“When I joined teachers college I was more senior than other students because what they were teaching us I had studied in junior secondary. There, I was given the opportunity to teach my fellow students mathematics,” he says.
Banserurra’s first posting was at Kisomoro Primary School in the current Bunyangabu District for two years. In 1967, he was promoted to head teacher and transferred to Kazingo Primary School in Kabarole District.
His work journey was full of transfers, he taught at Kagorogoro in Kyenjojo, Kaboyo, Kiguma, Buteebe in Kabarole District and by the time of his retirement he was at Buheesi Primary School in current Bunyangabu District in 1995.
He says the posting did not come without challanges.
“At my first posting I had no appointment letter from the Ministry of Education until in 1979 when I upgraded to Grade III teacher,” he says.
Banserurra says posting of teachers was not streamlined, explaining that for one to become head teacher it would depend on the list posted on the district headquarters notice board saying whichever name featured on top of the list of the school, would become the school head teacher.
“One time I was demoted from head teacher to a teacher because when I was transferred to Kaboyo Primary School in 1974, my name was not on top of the list,” Banserurra recollects.
During this period, teachers would be paid in cash by the district education officer and teachers earned peanuts.
At the time, they also, had no teachers’ associations to advocate for a better pay.
Preparation for retirement
Banserurra says in 1994, the Ministry of Education introduced a policy where teachers who were between 50 and 55 years old could retire voluntarily.
“In 1994, when government announced that any teacher above 50 years can retire I was the happiest. I applied for retirement but the government went ahead and transferred me to Buheesi Primary School. I accepted the transfer and government allowed my retirement request a year later,” he says.
Banserurra did not plan adequately for his retirement because the country was politically unstable and his career was full of transfers but, he had invested in buying land.
“My first salary was Shs 315 and I saved part of it to buy pieces of land. My first year after retirement, I was depending on a pension of Shs 27,400 together with my wife who had retired,” he says.
He says using his savings, he bought three pieces of land in 1989, and immediately after retiring in 1995.
“After retiring I had no knowledge of doing business and I stayed home tilling my land,” he says.
Banserurra says he does not regret anything.
The retired teacher joined politics and became a Sub-county councillor of Karambi in 2002. He retired recently.
“I have retired because I have served enough and I want to keep at home. My children have completed school and I want to rest,” he says with a sigh.
Banserurra spends his day at home doing simple work. Despite his age, he is currently the chairman of Buteeba Primary School PTA, and member of board of governors at Kahinju Secondary School.
Born to Peter Bagambaki who was a teacher, Banserurra’s education journey started in 1949 at Buteebe Primary School in the current Fort Portal City. He later attended St Peter’s and Paul Primary School Virika, then Nyasonzi Primary School before joining Kitabi Seminary.
Banserurra says the government should reduce the retirement age to 50 years to enable workers plan their retirement better.
“It is bad for civil servants to retire at 60 years. They should give chance to other jobless people to join civil service,” Banserurra says.
He says people need to consider investing in land because land appreciates with time adding that they should not wait for retirement to buy a plot of land.
The retired teacher also said civil servants ought to respect their jobs and try much as they can to save part of their salary.