Wateta’s corporate background molded him into an administration guru

George Wateta with some of the Namutumba Seed Secondary School MDD group members. The school is the reigning district champions and went on to represent Kayunga District in the National Championships. PHOTO/OWEN WAGABAZA

What you need to know:

  • The educationist swapped the teaching profession for better opportunities in the corporate world having joined Compassion International as a Child Development Officer. But he has since returned to his first passion. 

George Wateta was last year posted to Kangulumira Public Secondary School in Kayunga district as the headteacher, and in a space of one year, a lasting impact has been felt by the school and community at large in terms of infrastructure development, academic improvement, school enrollment among others.

Wateta however, credits his background in the corporate world as having greatly impacted his administration skills.

“My teaching career started as early as 2001 when I worked as the headteacher, King of Kings Junior School in my S.6 vacation, and immediately after college, I joined King of Kings Secondary School where I grew through the ranks to become the Director of Studies in a space of one year,” says Wateta.

But two years later, Wateta swapped the teaching profession for better opportunities in the corporate world having joined Compassion International as a Child Development Officer.

At Compassion International, Wateta grew through the ranks to the level of a Project Director. In 2014, Wateta joined Lead Uganda as a Programme Officer before being headhunted by Soup Uganda to give direction to their primary school; African Soup School while at the same time serving as their operations Director.

In all these NGO postings, Wateta explains that he had many leadership training opportunities in different avenues, notably financial management, building a team, resource mobilisation, networking and advocacy, project and program implementation among others.

“And even when I crossed to Soup Uganda, I was given a task of designing programmes, because the organization didn’t have structured programs, I was therefore tasked with the role, and that exposed me to getting more knowledge in terms of project design and implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation, and these have been key in my role as a head teacher,” Wateta explains.

At Africa Soup School, Wateta worked on registration, licensing, and acquiring of a UNEB Number for the school and would later transform it from a population of 200 students to 660 students. “I also revolutionalised the entire campus, boosted academics, and by 2013, it was the third best performing school in the district in regard to UNEB exams and the second best in co-curricular activities,” he says.

For four consecutive years, we were the best school in scouting and Music Dance and Drama(MDD) in the district, built a bio-gas latrine whose energy was used to cook teachers’ meals, we set up school based gardens, and the school looked unique from the rest in that community.

Namutumba Seed Secondary School
Such exploits at Africa Soup School convinced the Namutumba District Education Officer to zero on Wateta as the right person to kick start the setup of a government seed school in Namutumba district.

“In 2016, the Namutumba DEO assigned me a task to start a secondary school in a sub-county in Namutumba that didn’t have a secondary school. I was only given a letter of assignment, and told to mobilize staff, students,” he says. 

He mobilized teachers whom he convinced to work on voluntary basis, mobilized students and in January 2017, Namutumba Seed Secondary School started with a population of 176 students. Along the way, community and opinion leaders came on board, the community offered land and the local government helped us to lobby for the construction of the necessary infrastructure.

In 2021, the school became a government school, and Wateta was appointed the pioneer headteacher with a population of 763 students. “I even started a boarding section which had grown to 86 students after one year of mobilization,” says Wateta.

Kangulumira Public Secondary School
In 2022, George Wateta was transferred and posted to Kangulumira Public Secondary School in Kayunga as the head teacher.

Before I could report officially, I made an investigative visit to the school and concluded that the school was a sleeping giant. I realized that the school is blessed with almost everything necessary to make it an academic giant in the region and nationally. Unfortunately, we have quite a number of schools in that caliber, with lots of potential to grow, but stunted due to a few challenges here and there,” says Wateta.

At the time of his arrival to the school, Wateta explains,  the government aided Universal Secondary School was equipped with a library, science and ICT laboratory, good classrooms, well paid teachers including the highest number of science teachers in the district, who also doubled as examiners. Yet unfortunately, the UNEB results were not matching the facilities and workforce that the school had.

Not to leave anyone behind, Wateta designed a questionnaire which he shared with each member of staff, to help him capture their different perceptions about the institution, and each one’s envisioned future for the institution, the critical challenges the institution is going through and how they would propose those challenges are handled.

“The feedback from the teachers informed me in generating an inception report, and informed my strategic thinking on how I should be able to progress,”Wateta says.

Swift Impact
To enable him achieve his plans for the school, Wateta begun by shifting the staffroom closer to the headteacher’s office for easy monitoring. And here, he painted the staffroom and equipped it with a bigger TV screen fully connected to DStv. 

This was aimed at having more teachers especially soccer lovers on ground, at all times. “They don’t have to look for soccer from bars or makeshift cinemas, they are now fully available, enabling students to access them for consultation at all times,” he says.

He has also set up a modern water borne toilet for teachers to give them comfort and decency. Prior, the teachers were sharing washroom facilities with students. “It was my first project. I couldn’t allow sharing of washrooms to go on even for another day,” he says.

To improve on academics, Wateta came up with among others mandatory supervision of preps. Before, students were doing it on their own, which wasn’t effective. Here, he introduced dinner for teachers who supervise preps among other incentives. Arrival time to the school for both teachers and students was improved to maximum 7:30amto avail more time for revision and classes.

Wateta has also set up a biometric system to curb absenteeism, dug an underground well to tackle the water challenge at the school, set up a CCTV system to improve on security at the school. He has also set up a multi-purpose hall to ease congestion at the school, built a sickbay and set up a rubbish collection center at the school to reduce on the littering in the school, and a huge chunk of the school has been paved to improve hygiene at the school. 

The school enrolment has since increased from 1045 to 1300 students and the boarding section has grown to over 200 students. A level class have also grown in numbers from less than 30 a class to over 70 currently.  

Co-curricular activities
The school is also putting emphasis on co-curricular activities and success has already been registered in several disciplines, notably music dance and drama where the school won the district MDD championships and went on to excel at the national championships. The girls’ football team represented the district at the national champions.

The school’s scouts team also won two awards at the national meet in Kaazi. Due to the schools excellent representation of the district nationally, the district administration recently rewarded the school with a coaster to ease the transport challenges at the school.