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Education in Uganda:

A progress report As provincial children’s worker for the Church of Uganda education department, CMS Timothy Partner Janet Muhindo wants young people to be given a voice – and her work is paying off. For the past ten years, Janet has worked tirelessly with different communities in every region of Uganda to develop children’s ministry – establishing a strategy for the nurturing and discipleship of children. This involves training pastors, teachers, chaplains and children’s workers with the right tools to facilitate spiritual learning and growth for Christian

Janet Muhindo

witness among young people. Janet explains: “The biggest challenge my country and church face is that our population is mainly children (approximately 75 per cent). In addition, there is a great violation of children’s rights in very many aspects of life. Lots of Africans think children should remain behind the scenes and their voices should not be heard. Often their parents deny them any rights. We find a lot of children are denied church and an education.” She continues: “In the northern region where the war has been going on lot of children have been very badly abused – sexually and in many other ways. Very recently we have also faced the problem of child sacrifice. The problem is increasing especially when many people are operating below the poverty line.” Church leaders automatically appoint someone as education coordinator to oversee all aspects of education in their dioceses. But thanks to the children’s ministry and Janet’s work more than half of the 32 dioceses of the Church of Uganda now have a children’s worker as well. Two former CMS mission partners, Cynthia Mackay and then

One of the biggest challenges facing the education sector in Uganda is how to sustain increased access to education without compromising quality. That’s the message from leading Ugandan educationist Naris Tibenderana, who has taught extensively at all levels of education up to university.. Most recently Naris was head of Uganda College of Commerce, Tororo, until he retired in March 2010. He is also chairman of the Uganda National Examinations Committee. “Education continues to take the biggest slice of the national budget. The Uganda government is committed to provide education to all citizens regardless of age - in line with the world Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2000,” says Naris. “In recent years the Government of Uganda has introduced various educational policies and reforms to address inequalities, eradicate poverty, promote and accelerate economic and social growth for increased equitable access to quality education for all - and generally to empower people to participate actively in the national development process, ” he explains. Free and universal primary

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Some of Nick’s graduating students


“Not just information but transformation”: Training tomorrow’s health leaders CMS mission partner Nick Wooding has been acting vice chancellor of the International Health Sciences University (IHSU), in Namuwongo, Kampala since June 2010. Previously Nick was the medical superintendent of Kiwoko Hospital in Luwero. Kate Wooding is working in a local clinic, which reaches out to the surrounding local community, including a slum. She is also on the board of a primary school for orphans and vulnerable children in Kampala Diocese.They live in Makindye with their two children Ben (14) and Anna (12). IHSU is working hard to plug the gap in Uganda’s woeful lack of health professionals. Nick reports: “As head of a university I am realising that I can affect change in various ways: by making our teaching practical and highlighting servant leadership. Our motto at the university is to ‘Make a difference to healthcare in Uganda through education’. “We are a young institution - we had our third birthday on 3 March 2011 and so we are still a pioneering group. We plan to train tomorrow’s leaders in health, which is why we are a health science university. We can be focussed on one


area, and not be sidetracked.” This university project began in 2007, developing from the International Hospital School of Nursing and the Uganda Health Management Institute. The hope is to start a medical school in the next two years. Nick says that “A lot of education in the past has been about providing information – teaching so that people can pass exams and when they get into the wider world many know the theory but cannot apply it. But education is not just about information but formation – of values and character, and also about transformation, being changed to be an agent of change. I tell my students: ‘We don’t just want to provide you with facts to pass exams. We want to equip you with skills and attitudes to change the communities you will be working in.’ “As the Baganda say, ‘Ne gwozadde ggyo akuba ngoma nozina!’ We want our products – YOU - to be banging on the drum and the Ministry of Health, the councils, other universities and the local community will all take notice.” IHSU has 600 students, mainly from Christian backgrounds and

IHSU has a vision to train health workers, and is doing so in the fields of nursing and public health. But in order to meet the health needs of a growing population, many more workers are required at all levels, says mission partner Nick Wooding. “The gap in human resources for health in Uganda stands at between 50 and 60 per cent. According to the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, Uganda has one doctor per 20,000 people and only produces 200 new doctors per year,” he says. Nick continues: “Too few doctors (46%), nurses (80%) and allied health professionals (71%) are filling positions. Many of these workers are in urban, not rural areas, yet 85 per cent of the population is outside the towns and cities. This is coupled with an annual population growth of 3.4 per cent, so that the current population of 34 million will reach 55 million by 2025.” IHSU plans to increase training in two phases – first by training clinical officers and laboratory workers, who can give more supervision and the second phase is to develop a medical school – as well as offering pharmacology training. some Muslims – such as the Somalis studying there. Nick says, “Time will tell how well we have achieved our aim, but in the meantime we can focus our values on those of our God, and develop a culture so that those who pass through here have an encounter with him.”

New project sets theology to an African beat Former Church Mission Society (CMS) mission partner Angus Crichton has teamed with Ugandan colleagues to develop a collaborative project between the major theological institutions in Uganda - making research on Ugandan Christianity available in Uganda and internationally. Angus, who worked in Uganda in theological education from 2006 to 2008, continues to provide coordination for the project from the UK while making trips back to Uganda. The Ngoma ecumenical publishing project aims to organise writers’ workshops twice a year on a theme that is both key to the mission of the Ugandan church and where a

significant body of research and reflection already exists. Angus said: “The resulting presentations will be edited and published online and in print through Paulines Publications, which has a proven track-record in publishing and distributing African theology across the continent.” Each year the project will also offer a three-month writer’s sabbatical in Nairobi to allow a researcher to produce a booklength manuscript. Once this research has been made available in Uganda, it can be used by lecturers and students in theological institutions - thus contributing to ministerial and priestly formation

and to Christian ministry across the country. The project is currently in its pilot phase, with the editorial team from different Ugandan theological institutions meeting for the first time in May to plan the first writers’ workshop. Angus summed up: “Ngoma (meaning drum in many Ugandan languages) will contribute to shaping Christian answers to the pressing questions Ugandan Christians face and so will sustain Ugandan Christian communities in their life and their mission of service to the wider society.” For more information, email Angus Crichton at

New book features work of pioneering women in education Reviewed by Kirsti Paterson, head teacher and acting chairman of the Association of Christian Teachers (Scotland). Venturesome Love, written by – including her ‘safari’ adventures Miss Hornby’s retirement. The biLiz Traill, a former CMS mission in the Ugandan villages and her ography also covers the geography, partner and educationist in Ugan- adaptability working among lep- history and politics of Uganda beda, tells the story of Constance ers. Through the narrative, the tween 1890 and 1972. Reference is Hornby (1884-1972), a pioneer reader gets a strong sense of Miss made to events happening in Britmissionary who had a vision to Hornby’s dependence on God, ain during the same period. her compassion, practical abilities Venturesome Love is published start a girls’ school in Kigezi. by The Handsel Press and further Miss Hornby founded Kabale and good sense of humour. Girls’ School, Kigezi, in 1923. She The book also includes firsthand details will be available from the was headmistress there from 1923 accounts from students and others CMS shop: to about 1941. The book provides who knew and worked with her, an account of Miss Hornby’s life while the final chapters document About the author: Like Miss Hornby, Liz

Traill is a pioneer in mission work, having served as a CMS mission partner in Uganda for more than 20 years. “God called me to go to Uganda when I was still at school and confirmed the call during my university years and when I began teaching in Nottingham. I’m a Christian teacher and see my primary ministry in schools,” Liz says. Between 1967 and 1974, Liz taught geography and other subjects as required at Kigezi High School in Kabale. “Then Bishop Festo

asked me to head up the diocesan project to found a secondary boarding school for girls,” she says. That school was Bishop Kivengere Girls’ School and Liz became its first headmistress when it was founded in 1974 during Idi Amin’s regime. Its aim was to provide a much-needed secondary school for girls in the mountainous district of Kigezi. It started with 40 girls and now has 542 pupils. “We saw God at work in those dark days of President Amin,” Liz recalls. Liz Traill


Bernadette Kahembwe

Lessons that changed my entire life: a student’s perspective Bernadette Kahembwe, now in her 40s, is an ‘old girl’ of Bishop Kivengere Girls’ School (BKGS), Muyebe. She was there when Liz Traill was headmistress and the two women have kept in touch. Bernadette, now a social worker, and her husband Francis, a health worker, and their two teenage children currently live in Edinburgh while Bernadette studies for a Master’s Degree in African Studies at Edinburgh University. She hopes to return to Uganda and go back into social work/gender studies or possibly lecturing. Here Bernadette reflects on her school days: In the early 1980s when I joined BKGS (aged 12-13), education for girls was still not considered very important. I remember some village women telling my mother that girls should remain at home, but my parents were very interested in education so my brothers and sisters and I were all given an

opportunity to study. I was very lucky to attend BKGS where I not only studied curriculum lessons but also spiritual lessons that changed my entire life. Out of class activities included fetching water, carrying firewood, gardening, Bible study and choir. I served as a prefect for Lugard House, one of the boarding houses - named after ‘pioneers’, which made a difference as I was responsible for making sure that the dormitory was clean. Later on I left BKGS and joined the sixth form at Kyebambe Girls’ School - the opportunity I got only because these two girls schools were connected and friendly (both Church of Uganda schools). Although the education I had at the time made me what I am today, some of the subjects need to be changed if they are still being taught today. History at A level included European history; I feel that this history should be replaced

by Uganda history. The class size at BKGS was a maximum of 40 students, but with universal primary education and now universal secondary education, there are usually more than 50 students in a class. I do not know how teachers cope with such classes, but I think the quality of education has been watered down. Health and safety in schools is still an issue; some schools have had fires and children have been burnt. The horror of the fire that swept through Buddo primary school dormitory in 2008 was a horrific and terrifying example. For better and effective learning to take place, class sizes should be reduced, schools should be inspected regularly and the government should invest more resources in the education sector.

I love Muyebe classroom: a teacher’s perspective by Geoffrey Basheija, deputy head teacher at Bishop Kivengere Girls’ School, Muyebe. (see page 3) I salute you all at Muyebe, the only Muyebe in the world, where my classroom is found. To parents, old girls, supporters, friends and well wishers, praise God for Muyebe classroom. You are the right place God chose for me to be in. I am proud of your classroom full of cheerful girls waiting to be guided for future life.


Disciplined girls’ faces meet their subject teachers with smiles; stand up to greet them when they enter. True they are God’s selected members in Muyebe. Each time one enters, one is encouraged to give them any assistance and guidance they need from the bottom of their hearts. One finds satisfaction while in the classroom…. You are occupied by an average of 55 happy, committed, comfortable and focused learners. The commit-

ted and highly motivated team of guides comes in one after the other as the cling ling ling goes, respecting the tick tock as minutes change periods and events. Muyebe classroom, you encourage me to be committed; you give morale to both teachers and learners. God bless Muyebe classroom. This article is an excerpt from the 35th anniversary edition of BKGS school magazine.

CMS in Mid-Africa

At the heart of CMS’s ministry in midAfrica is a passion to reveal the love of Christ for all people. The CMS Mid-Africa region includes Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo, Rwanda, and now encompasses all of Uganda and neighbouring Sudan and Zambia. The gradual outward growth from the historic Mid Africa reflects the changing face of mission engagement for CMS and the opportunity for people to connect

with the wider Africa. The Mid Africa Forum, as seen by inclusion of mission people from central Uganda and Zambia at recent conferences, is supporting and promoting this outward movement, while recognising the interest and passionate support for the old MAM region. It is envisioned that gradually the MA Forum will become an Africa Forum. Working hand in hand with the Church in Africa and CMS Africa, CMS facilitates the exchange of people in mission, resources, ideas, prayer and networking. In the process we discover more of God than we ever would have learned alone. – Steve Burgess, CMS

Education in Uganda 4continued from front cover education was introduced in Uganda in 1997 – giving 85 per cent of school-going age children access to school. In its first year enrolment of pupils in primary schools rose from 3 million to more than 5 million. The number of pupils enrolled in primary schools stood at over 7 million in 2008, according to Ministry of Education figures. However, only about 30 per cent of pupils who join the primary education cycle go on to complete the cycle - with a full seven years of study, according to the Ministry of Education. In 2007, free and universal secondary education (USE) was launched, which helped increase transition rates between primary and secondary school from 51 per cent in 2006 to 69 per cent in 2007. USE is part of the Ugandan government’s Universal Post Primary Education and Training (UPPET) programme. By 2008, there were 1,088,744 students in secondary schools - 54.1 per cent of which were boys. But in contrast to primary education, there are fears that state secondary education is not adequately targeting the poor. According to the Uganda gov-

ernment’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) for the period of 2004/05 - 2007/08, the incidence of secondary education is highly skewed towards the higher income groups and urban or semiurban dwellers. Another general difficulty is that the increased numbers of children going to school has meant that class sizes have grown – and it is not uncommon at primary level for 100 pupils to be in one class. In addition, finding enough qualified teachers is yet another challenge – particularly in a country where half the population is under the age of 15. The need for teachers who are qualified to teach at secondary level is yet another issue. Also, a lot of private secondary schools are now springing up to offer an alternative to the state system – increasing fears that a social divide is emerging between the public and private sectors. According to Lawrence Bategeka, from the Economic Policy Research Centre, a Ugandan thinktank, around 90 per cent of university students in Uganda in 2010 were taught in private schools. But on the positive side, there are

several specific initiatives to train more teachers, particularly in science subjects – an area where the government wants to increase teaching and learning. By the end of 2009, a total of 3,823 science teachers had been trained and 110 others had been trained in digital science. One of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda is higher education. Currently there are five public universities and 24 private universities. There is also a push on vocational education skills training. Naris explains. “The government has put in more effort to train young people who have ‘dropped out’ of school to equip them with skills for gainful employment. The aim is to reduce unemployment and cut crime rates.” Naris has a personal passion for poverty eradication through skills development of youth in income generating activities and to this end, he is planning on setting up a skills development training centre. He is currently looking for people to partner him in this endeavour. For more information, email


4Janet Muhindo, continued from front cover Jenny Ottewell, spearheaded this children’s work in Uganda. When Jenny retired in 2001 she says she was “thrilled to hand over the baton to my long time colleague, Janet”. Jenny, now based in the UK, still keeps in close touch with Janet - encouraging support for her as chair of the UK-based charity CUCMUK (Church of Uganda Children’s Ministry (UK). Trustees of the charity are mostly people who have worked side by side with Janet either in Uganda or the UK. Jenny said: “At first it was quite hard to establish a children’s ministry but over the past ten years it is being more seriously supported by church leaders. Over time the notion that ‘children are of the church tomorrow’ is changing to ‘children are the church of today and the leaders of tomorrow.”

One of the first things Jenny says she did when she took up the post was to take part in the development of a Christian education syllabus for the whole church. Over the years the team prepared Christian teaching materials for all ages and a bookstall was also set up in the education office in Kampala and in every diocese to stock these materials to be used by pastors and their team in every parish. The Church also worked closely with the Ministry of Education in all the government schools and helped to develop an interdenominational religious education syllabus for the primary schools. Also as part of the church involvement Janet has been training chaplains to provide Christian training, worship and counselling. In the last four years, Janet has

The plight of teachers

Lilian Gimuguni, academic registrar at Mbale Campus, Uganda Christian University, writes:

Newly qualified teachers are faced with a number of complex problems. The government is a major employer in Uganda and it has put a ban on recruitment of teachers – as a result newly qualified teachers often fail to receive a posting when they finish their courses. This causes a lot of apathy among them and has made the profession very unpopular. The government also introduced universal education for both primary and secondary levels in 1996 and 2007 respectively, which increased the enrolment in schools (see page 1). These newly qualified teachers have to handle large classes, yet their training only prepares them for ‘ideal’ scenarios with class sizes of 40 students.


The other issue is the deteriorating discipline of students in most schools in Uganda which has been brought about by the emphasis on children’s rights without a proper understanding of the responsibility that goes with that. Students have become unruly, and for any small thing they threaten to strike or they actually organise strikes; they show contempt to teachers who are not prepared for this, with some teachers wanting to give up on teaching when they have just started. There is also a problem of poor remuneration. Teachers in Uganda are among the most poorly paid civil servants with little time available for them to get involved in any other activity that can help

been working extensively with young people who have been deeply traumatised by the conflicts in the north. She has run programmes for pastors and Sunday school teachers to train them to counsel and rehabilitate children, many of whom have been child soldiers, helping them to overcome the effects of the great horrors they have seen and participated in. Jenny sums up: “Uganda has gone through many years of turmoil since independence in 1962 but is now a country of growth and development and change. I believe Christian education will give a surer foundation – in line with Uganda’s motto ‘For God and our country.’” For Janet Muhindo’s blog, visit them earn extra income. What’s more, the private education sector in Uganda is growing very fast and many newly qualified teachers are employed in private schools. These schools don’t always give teachers appointment letters, they pay them low wages, with no security in their jobs and they make them work overtime without pay. Most schools don’t have policies on conditions of work in that teachers are not given accommodation, there is no policy on healthy and safety, and no arrangement for transport. And paying transport costs out of low wages often leaves teachers with almost nothing for living costs. Given the above, there are very few people opting for education as a course at university or college level and those who do, take it as a last resort.

Summary of CMS work and links in Uganda

Growing interest in mission at BBUC

Bishop Barham University College “is destined to become a centre for revival and missionary training”. That’s the message from BBUC Bob & Ros Arnold Bungokho Rural principal, Dr Manuel Muranga. Roger Green (SALT) Development Centre One recent graduate, Daniel - children’s ministry Irankunda, who studied mass communication, travelled to Alison Fletcher Kiwoko Hospital, HIV/ Germany in December 2010 to AIDS, physiotherapy embark on youth ministry work while continuing his education Ann Moore - Kisiizi Hospital, nurse Penny Allen, Katy Barnes at the University of Erlangen. (SALT) - health work Dr Muranga said: “There are a growing number of Christian students and graduates with interest Pat Gilmer (SALT) - children’s ministry to go on the mission field. BBUC is ready to work in partnership Liz Traill - BBUC with churches interested in reeducation Kampala ceiving missionaries. The college Isobel Booth Clibborn - VIVA is increasingly gaining a national Africa wide, children’s ministry and an international outlook.” Kate & Nick Wooding Diocese Jenny Green of Kampala, health BBUC’s students come from - Potters Village, Garry Ion - Africa wide, children’s ministry across Uganda, as well as Rwanbuilding consultant Elizabeth & Malcolm da, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya Joan Hall (SALT) - mission support Crawford - finance and Sudan. Lecturers come from Janet Muhindo (Timothy Partner) management, - children’s ministry (COU) Uganda, America, the UK and vocational training Sam & Abby Baguma (SALT) Germany. Africa wide, health Located in Kabale, BBUC is a constituent college of Uganda Christian University, whose main campus is based at Mukono. BBUC offers the same academic courses and programmes as Uganda Christian University – ranging from certificates, unSeptember: Liverpool conference dergraduate programmes, diploFor more information Email Barbara Williams mas and postgraduate courses – at: across a range of disciplines. or Founded in 1924 by Dr S Smith and L Sharp, who had come to 2-4 December: annual residential Uganda with the Rwanda Misconference at High Leigh, Herts. sion (CMS), Bishop Barham Col(See the enclosed registration form) lege is administered by 12 Church Email: of Uganda dioceses. David & Heather Sharland - agriculture & health Alan & Anne Lacey theology & health

Ian & Shelagh Baird-Smith (SALT) - administrators

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Laceys create lasting learning links in Uganda Allan and Anne Lacey are CMS mission partners in Arua, northwest Uganda. Allan is helping to train church leaders in the Diocese of Madi and West Nile, while Anne teaches nursing and is a community health coordinator. Before going to Uganda in 2007, Allan was an

(l to r) Allan Lacey, Jane and Gift

Anglican clergyman for 25 years in South Yorkshire. Anne is a qualified nurse who has worked most recently in health care education and research. A big part of Allan’s work is producing a series of weekly Bible commentaries called Lectionary Link, based on the three-year Revised Common Lectionary. When finished, it will provide church leaders and teachers in the diocese with three years’ worth of preaching and teaching aids. The readings are being translated from English into Lugbara, a long and detailed process, says Allan, who hopes to finish the material by early 2012. The work began in 2009 and local pastors have been using the resources as they have been produced. There are some 800 churches throughout the diocese, with about 150 parish clergy, 50 other clergy members/chaplains



and about 650 church teachers (like lay readers in the UK). Through regular workshops, clergy are trained to use the lectionary materials. When they return to their parishes they pass on what they have learnt. As is often the way with new ventures, other things have grown from Allan’s project. “We needed to set up a printing unit to produce Lectionary Link. As well as printing for the diocese, we offer a commercial service, including design, formatting and printing of anything from wedding invitations to examination papers,” says Allan. This is now a self-supporting business. Gift, a 21-year-old Ugandan man studying for his Bachelor of Business Administration, runs the printing unit, using some of the money to fund his studies. Allan said that he would like to see Gift take over the printing unit after he graduates. Jane (pictured) works with Gift. Anne teaches part-time at the school of nursing attached to Kuluva Mission Hospital in Arua and is also the diocesan health coordinator overseeing six health centres, although she will soon hand over some of this work. Anne said: “In the UK I was teaching at a higher academic level. Now I am teaching basic student nursing and I find it very rewarding.” The entry level for the course is five Ugandan O’ levels. After two and half years, students receive a certificate in comprehensive nursing – covering community and hospital nursing. From there, Anne says, “The students get jobs in hospitals, government posts and community health centres. Some will eventually progress to becoming clinical officers and then doctors.”


A group of ordinands from Wycliffe Hall went on a week’s visit at the end of March to Uganda. This is the third year that CMS has organised this annual tailor-made trip from the Oxford-based theological college, which was led by Wycliffe Hall tutor Will Donaldson. CMS’ Stephen Johnson, who coordinated the trip, said: “There is a very rich and exciting learning experience in the city of Kabale in Kigezi diocese, south west Uganda. Students engage with the local community by learning from the faith and joy of Ugandan Christians, meet local clergy and hear about the challenges they face in their ministries.” The students also visited Bishop Barham University College (BBUC) in Kabale (Wycliffe Hall’s link) where they participated in BBUC’s outreach to families and homes in the area. They also visited the diocesan hospital, Rugarama Hospital and met CMS mission people in Kampala. Uganda link organisations Uganda Church Association: Church of Uganda Children’s Ministry UK (CUCMUK): Email Diocese of Bristol – Bristol Uganda Link: uganda The Diocese of Winchester: York Minster: Beverley Minster/Kabale Cathedral

CMS is a mission community acknowledged by the Church of England. A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales, charity number 1131655, company number 6985330, registered office: CMS, Watlington Road, Oxford OX4 6BZ Tel: 01865 787 400


Mid-Africa News Issue 2 2011  

Mid-Africa News Issue 2 2011