Waibi: A PhD holder heading a rural govt primary school

Dr Annet Waibi,49, the head teacher of  Buyange Primary School in Namutumba District. She has inspired her peers and juniors to attain degrees and PhDs in various fields. PHOTO | PHILIP WAFULA 

What you need to know:

  • Some of the key achievements she has registered at the school include; children who had dropped out are returning, including special needs pupils, and two girls who had given birth.

With two master’s degrees and a doctorate, Dr Annet Waibi could be a consultant, senior lecturer at higher institutions of learning or fronting policies on curriculum development at the Ministry of Education and Sports. 
She could be anywhere.

Instead, the 49-year-old is the head teacher of Buyange Primary School, a Church of Uganda-founded, government-aided institution in Namutumba District.

The school has been in existence for more than 10 years and has an enrolment of 786 pupils, including 15 learners with special needs.

With such qualifications, Dr Waibi says she is the first PhD holder heading a primary school in eastern Uganda and she is humbled.

Dr Denis Mugimba, the spokesperson in the Ministry of Education and Sports, declined to comment on whether there are other PhD holders heading public primary schools across the country.

She says despite unsuccessfully applying for jobs at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, and Kyambogo University, she finds solace in her calling at Buyange Primary School.

Some of the key achievements she has registered at the school include; children who had dropped out are returning, including special needs pupils, and two girls who had given birth.

Also, the school registered two first grades in the 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE); the school compound is fenced; and teachers have gone back to school for further studies, among others.

“I found many of my teachers not interested in furthering their education and set up the Annet Foundation Scheme, where each teacher who decides to go back to school is rewarded with Shs100,000,” she said.

Mr Twaha Bateganya, a teacher of Mathematics and Science at the school, says: “I feel proud of her and think in the entire district, we are the only school with a head teacher with a doctorate.”

Mr Samson Wabwire, also a teacher of Mathematics and Science at the same school, says: “It is rare to find a head teacher with a PhD, and good enough, she has encouraged us to go for further studies.”

Dr Waibi, however, describes her background as “very nasty” because she brewed waragi, a local potent gin, to pay her fees from Senior One to Senior Four at Bukoyo Secondary School in Iganga District.

While vending waragi from bar-to-bar, she says she often interacted with men, most of whom were usually lost in an alcoholic haze.

Later, she would head to school reeking of alcohol because she reportedly bathed and washed her clothes without soap, which was a luxury.

“I woke up early in the morning to fetch jerrycans to pour in the drum before walking to school. I often reached school smelling alcohol and the children I sat with in class left. I was isolated,” she recalled in an interview last Friday.

Her isolation was further compounded by lack of shoes, while all efforts to buy sandals after making good waragi sales were rebuffed by her class teacher who insisted on shoes.

Dr Waibi’s love for books has influenced other civil servants to further their education in Kenya, and at Nkumba, Makerere and Kyambogo universities.

These include her deputy, Ms Hilda Jessica Bafumba (degree) and Mr Francis Kamyuka, the Luuka District Education Officer (PhD).

According to him, Dr Waibi has inspired many people to enroll for further studies, including four ladies in Namutumba District who have enrolled for PhDs.

Dr Waibi says right now, she has a lot she can equip other people with, who can in turn equip lower ones to help the world, and lists a proposal on skilling inmates as one of her breakthrough projects.

“I also authored a book, Integrated Pedagogical Education Model (IPEM), whose contents have been adopted from the days of the Covid-19 pandemic. I went to Tanzania to defend it and enlighten the people,” she said.

Outside school, Ms Waibi says she is into evangelism and organising overnight prayers for only women, which attracts 100.

Dr Waibi, who is the fifth born in a family of seven, says none of her siblings has more academic qualifications than her, while her children are degree holders.

Brief bio

Dr Anne Waibi was born in 1974 in Nkono Zone Village, Iganga Municipality, Iganga District to the late Azimafes Waibi who was an Inspector of Police, and Lucy Namatende Waibi, a housewife.

She attended Iganga Municipal Primary School (P1-7), Bukoyo SS (O level), Kamuli Teachers’ Training College (certificate), before proceeding to National Teachers’ College (NTC), Kaliro for a Diploma in Education (Primary), majoring in English Language and Social Studies.

After, she joined Makerere University, Kampala, for a certificate in administrative law.

She later went to Busoga University for a master’s in educational policy, planning and management, and a master’s in public administration.

Her academic expedition culminated with a Doctorate in Educational Policy, Planning Management and Curriculum studies from Nkumba University.

Before being posted to Buyange Primary School, she has been to Buckley High School, Iganga; Busala PS, Mayuge; Mulama PS, New Buyanga PS, among others  in Namutumba District.