First Impressions in Ugandan Classrooms

By Paula Longo

Photo: Paula LongoKampala, Uganda– Our group arose earlier than usual to embark on our journey to Jinja.  We observed in two private schools before the bumpy, but beautiful ride to Little Sisters of St. Francis Mother Kevin Conference Center in Jinja.

The first school was Saint Kizito Bugolobi, which is a primary and secondary school.  While we waited for the group to assemble, the younger students had recess and enthusiastically smiled and waved at our group.  A few of the braver ones shook my hand through the fence.

Once the administrators were ready, we were given a great overview of their program and Ugandan educational statistics.  A discussion broke out between all of us about education systems.  We discovered we have a lot of common challenges, much to the surprise of our hosts.

longo_seeta-labWe then traveled to Seeta High School, where we were able to observe in classrooms for the first time.  We split into smaller groups to observe and I was in a biology class for 17 and 18 year olds. These students will have one more year of schooling before entering a university.

I was very impressed by both the instructor and the students.  He was energetic and used many of the same techniques we do in the U.S.  The 72 students were completely engaged the entire time (75 minutes) we were there.  After the lecture, we spoke to the students and discovered many of them would like to pursue degrees in the medical field.

oconnor_seeta_englishIt was extremely difficult to leave, since I was enthralled with the conversation, but I gave out almost every business card I brought to stay in touch.  This was the reason we came: to research the Ugandan educational system, but we departed with so much more.