Take every opportunity as a learning milestone - Serugo

Hajji Mohamed Serugo, the head teacher of Kinaawa High School, Kawempe during an interview recently. PHOTO | OWEN WAGABAZA

What you need to know:

  • Hajji Mohamed Serugo, the head teacher of Kinaawa High School, Kawempe attributes his successful teaching career to his endless search for knowledge. He says they visit other schools to benchmark and see how they do things, and invite them also to come to his school so they can inspire and add value to his staff and students.

Hajji Mohamed Serugo is the head teacher of Kinaawa High School, Kawempe. He attended Kabukungwe Demonstration School before joining Kawempe Muslim Secondary School for his O- and A-levels.

“My dream school was Kibuli SS, but my parents did not have the money to enroll me there. I therefore joined Kawempe Muslim, a low cost school then which had just been set up by the government,” Sserugo says. 

He later joined Islamic University in Uganda for a Bachelor’s degree in education, where he emerged as one of the top performers and was retained as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geography. In 2000, Serugo joined Makerere University for a Master’s in Land Use and Regional Development Planning, and it was at Makerere that he met the then head teacher at Kawempe Muslim Dr Ibrahim Matovu who requested him to join Kawempe Muslim as a teacher. 

“I had known Dr Matovu first as his student and later as an intern teacher. It therefore did not take me long to accept the offer,” Serugo explains. 


Joining Kawempe Muslim would be a turning point in Sserugo’s professional life. 

“At Kawempe, I met two of the three people who have had a lasting impact on my professional life. These include Ms Milly Namayanja, a nationally celebrated Geography teacher who went on to train me into becoming a star teacher of geography. She exposed me to all the top schools in the country, took me to seminars, and encouraged me to have mastery of the content by reading textbooks instead of pamphlets and transferring the read content into handwritten notes. The second is retired head teacher Dr Ibrahim Matovu who initiated him into becoming a versatile teacher with a broad mind. 

“Dr Matovu taught us hard work and the need to go an extra mile. Most of us who have worked with him, including his age mates referring to him as our father in education,” Serugo says.  

The third, outside the school is Hajji Ahmed Kawesa Sengendo, the former rector of IUIU. Sengendo taught Serugo the value of community thinking. 

“I am grateful to him because I am more inclined to the community than myself and this I have taught my children, to  know the value of community thinking and servant leadership.”

Sserugo says teachers everywhere should strive to become star teachers if they are to fully contribute to the country’s education sector. 

“Try as much and excel in your subjects, and this is through being persistent, having positive values about student learning and develop the ability to adapt general theories into pedagogical practices,” Serugo says.  

Posted to Kinaawa High School, Mugongo

In the year 2000, a group of 12 teachers from Kawempe Muslim including Serugo, with encouragement from their head teacher partnered and took over a collapsed school, Lady Fawe Academy, Kyengera to revive it.

 Because of time constraints, the partners asked their former student who had just graduated to take on the role of a head teacher having noticed his values of hard work and industriousness.

Unfortunately, two years later, the head teacher resigned, mostly because the school was not progressing yet very demanding. It is then that his colleagues convinced him to leave his teaching job at IUIU and take over as head teacher. He, however continued with his part-time teaching stint at Kawempe Muslim.

“While in Kinaawa, I realised the school had many issues. It was under-enrolled, the fees structure was very low, the public image poor, indiscipline at its peak, and the directors, having injected money for years with little to show, were getting dissatisfied and fatigued with the school operations,” Serugo explains.

He came up with a plan to turn around the school, with the major focus on making the school self-sustaining. This was to be achieved through improving on the image of the school by rebranding, tackle indiscipline and improve on the academic performance.

“We became very tough on indiscipline and came up with a tight school routine that gave students little opportunity to think about other things. The school uniform was changed, as well as the school name to Kinaawa High School, Mugongo and within a few years, our image had greatly improved,” says Serugo.

The school started posting good academic results, and the enrollment improved from 260 students in 2003 to 1266 students in 2015. To cater for the increasing enrolment, Sserugo expanded the school by buying more land on which storeyed dormitories for boys and girls as well as classrooms were constructed.

Joins Kinaawa High School Kawempe

In 2007, the group was again approached to take over a collapsing school in Kawempe just like they had done with Lady Fawe. The chairman of the group, Hajj Musa Kayiira was convinced by the board to leave his teaching job at Kawempe Muslim where he was deputy head teacher to start the second branch of Kinaawa High School, Kawempe.  Eight years later, he resigned as the head teacher to pursue other interests.

“In December 2015, the directors brought me here, probably because of what I had achieved at Kinaawa Kyengera, with a view that may be, we could have the same transformation at the Kawempe branch. 

At Kawempe, Serugo convinced his team to work towards improving on the academic performance by registering more First Grades, improving staff welfare, and tackling indiscipline to improve on the school image. 

“I thank the team for embracing my ideas. With hard work, resilience and dedication, we have achieved almost all our goals, and as a result, our enrollment has doubled from 780 to over 1400 students. In the recently released 2023 UCE exams, we registered 99 First Grades,” says Serugo. 

“We have opened the school to the community, and currently, our playground is used by more than 10 schools in the neighborhood. We have maintained low and affordable school fees structure to enable the community access quality education,” he adds. 

Two cents 

Serugo attributes his successful career to his endless search for knowledge. 

“I consider every opportunity a learning opportunity, together with my teams, we visit other schools to benchmark and see how they are doing things, and invite them also to come to my school so they can inspire and add value to my staff and students.

A proponent of servant leadership, Serugo says it is the only way the world will be changed for the better. “Servant leaders work selflessly and believe in adding value to others. They put their team and organisation first and prioritise the greater good ahead of their objectives,” says Serugo.

Mohamed Ssenyondo, a deputy head teacher at Kinaawa Kawempe, says Serugo has greatly improved on the school infrastructure, turned around the academic performance, improved on staff welfare and is always developing his team.