Kibuli SS joins schools’ German club to excel in language

Claudia Schilling, the head of the PASCH programme in East African gives Kibuli SS students their German certificates recently. PHOTO/DEUS BUGEMBE

What you need to know:

  • Students encouraged to embarce German and perfect their skills for countless opportunities.

Aminah Nakaliisa has had the German language shape her professional path, falling in love with it in primary school through her elder sister, Aphua Nalugondo. Nalugondo had got the opportunity to travel to Germany on scholarship.

Joining East High School Ntinda gave Nakaliisa the chance to study the language and she never looked back. By her Senior Four vacation, Nakaliisa was already earning from the language as a translator for safari tour operators that welcomed many Germans. After her Senior Six, she travelled to Germany for a year, boost her language skills and immersed in the culture. 

“I am still in contact with the family that hosted me and I call them my other family. I visit them any time at their cost,” she says. 

Nakaliisa would then pay her tuition through university because of her exploits in the German language as a translator. She has also taught German at Université du Burundi, Bujumbura. Then, went on to land a First class Bachelor of Arts in Education degree, majoring in German and minoring in Religious Studies at Makerere University, then a Master’s in German Studies form the University of Nairobi. She is now an assistant lecturer of German Studies at Makerere University. Nakaliisa is still going places as she remains a PhD candidate of German at Makerere University.

Her story is evidence of why equipping yourself with an extra international language can take you places you never imagined. Nakaliisa is also the ideal role model for students learning German and hoping to earn from it as a way of life.

The “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH) initiative, a global network of more than 2,000 schools with particular ties to Germany, is on a mission to widen its family with Kibuli Senior Secondary School joining Mengo Senior Secondary School. This, also covers around 600 schools in national education systems of more than100 countries. The programme connects and breeds future leaders on top of empowering them with more than 400 passionate teachers of German.

This initiative is said to have been started 15 years ago to teach German and present opportunities. 
“We want to connect you with other young people all over the world and help shape your future,” Claudia Schilling, the head of the PASCH programme in East African said. 

Incentives such as broadcast contests, fashion projects, video projects on environmental sustainability, internationally recognised exams and exchange programmes within Germany and the continent are all a reality with  this programme , according to Claudia.  She also called for more ideas and creativity from stakeholders in the education sector to make the project even more successful. During  a ceremony held at Kibuli SS, Claudia and her team welcomed the traditional school into the growing network supported by The Goethe-Institute, a worldwide cultural institution that facilitates the teaching and learning of German. 

Shafic Semakula, a Senior Six student at Kibuli SS heads the German student community there. Semakula is glad his school has joined the initiative and he has already enjoyed influence at the Goethe-Institute. He wants to take German after high school.

“I learnt the language and more about the German culture, especially during my time at the institute. I am looking forward to getting German-related job opportunities in future,”  Semakula says. 

The event which hosted the Germany ambassador, Mathhias Friedrich Gotttlob Shauer, alongside his vice Hans Von Schroeder The government representative, , Rebecca Junker who is the representative for German Academic Exchange Service at Makerere University also witnessed Kibuli start initiation into PASCH.

Ismael Mulindwa, a director at the Ministry of Education and Sports, challenged both Mengo and Kibuli students to take on the language as it makes them responsible and devoted global citizens. 

“Learning an international language makes life easier for you when you travel. It will also expose you to other cultures which opens doors for more learning. You still have a lot of time and can pick up the German language because I have seen it do wonders for people’s careers,” he said before awarding some of the best performing students from both schools with certificates.  

“The ministry therefore encourages you to learn German to equip yourselves in a fast world that needs one to have a good number of skills and languages on board. German is already part of the curriculum and we shall continue to support all schools that want to take it on,” Mulindwa added.

Pioneers of German
Meanwhile, Kibuli SS was one of the first places one could learn German from as early as 1964. This was before other schools followed suit. It was not until the 1980s that other schools started teaching German. Introduction of the German language in Uganda was supported by the Germany government through availing teaching materials and offering expert advisors.  

L-R: His excellency Hans Von Schroeder and Kibuli SS staff plant a tree. PHOTO/DEUS BUGEMBE 

This explains why Kibuli SS has a German room, one that has stood the test of time. Initially, only the best students were permitted to study the subject. The pedagogical exchange service awards were offered to the best students; a month-long stay in Germany which was a great motivation to the students.

At that time, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) sent experts such as Herr Groch, Herr Volker Werner, Herr Winkelmann, Herr Klaus Betz and Herr Eberhadrt Dullin to facilitate learning the language and putting together annual poetry recital competitions. 

“We are indeed grateful to have been selected to be part of the Pasch schools and we are sure our students will benefit from this partnership. We request for more teaching and learning materials for the language. We hope the German Embassy can even do better by assisting us to improve the school infrastructure such as the library,” said Kibuli SS head teacher Ibrahim Ssemakadde. 


In the Pasch Club, Kibuli SS is entitled to a wide range of benefits such as educational training for teachers, scholarships for teachers and dedicated students to further their language skills in German as well as donations of teaching material and equipment.

For one coming across the language for the first time, it might sound complicated but the likes of Nakaliisa object.

Asked how difficult or easy learning the language is, “It is as easy as reciting the alphabet,” she says. “But one has to love it and interact with it often. Today, there is a lot of information on the internet where anybody who wants to learn or better their German language skills can find help,” she adds. 

Her command of the language has brought her countless opportunities and she is eager to push more students through the same path. With Kibuli, a school at which she also taught German, now part of the language initiative, the path has never been clearer.

Skills needed
There is  a mission to include as many schools as possible with time.

“Joining Pasch will be a game changer for any school and the students after seeing it open doors to new exciting journeys,” Isaac Kakande, the Pasch programme coordinator says.
Kakande points out Aminah Nakaliisa as the perfect example of how much one can achieve from   German language skills.