Secondary School Volunteering in Uganda


Secondary School Volunteering in Uganda

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Team College is one of two secondary schools in the village of Ruhanga (close to Ntungamo and a few minutes walk from the main Kampala to Kabale road so its easily accessible for volunteers) with the other school, Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, being government aided. As noted elsewhere, being government aided does not mean free education as significant fees and charges apply, putting secondary school education out of the financial reach of many families. As such many school children drop out of education at the end their primary schooling severely impacting on their long-term life opportunities. Team College was established by the former headmaster at Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School to cater specifically for brighter children who would otherwise be squeezed out of education due to these high fees. A not-for-profit school, Team College offers education from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4, when O-levels are taken before the students either progress to A levels or take the vocational training route which is preferred by many given the lack of formal jobs in the Ugandan economy.


The school is few in number partly because it has an educational standards admissions policy but also because its physical resources are limited which is off-putting to some families despite the school's actual education attainment being held in high regard locally. Given the not-for-profit fees it charges (which basically only cover essential costs such as paying the teachers) without third party assistance, the physicality of the school was unlikely to improve significantly however it has recently been refurbished with the support of UK based charity Let Them Help Themselves who have also launched a bursary program at the school to assist disadvantaged youngsters.


The school and George its headmaster are now keen to build on this progress by inviting one or two volunteers to assist in the school. George and his wife Gertrude (a teacher at a nearby primary school)  also operate a small homestay next to the school so potential volunteers have a cheap place to stay with all food provided. This is a new volunteer project that follows a process of consultation with students at the school to identify (a) whether the input from volunteers with different cultures and backgrounds would be beneficial to the overall learning process and, if so, (b) what specifically would students want from volunteers. The students were keen to welcome volunteers to their school to not only run workshops around such topics as cultural differences, English language development and careers advice as well as computer and internet skills, they would welcome working with others to establish a community based library accessible to all students in the village to cater for reading for pleasure as well as reference books for course work.


This project is primarily looking for volunteers who are TEFL or hold other teaching qualifications and who have experience with working with teenage students in both formal and informal settings. This project will also be suitable for other self-motivated individuals who can assist in the classroom and/or on a one to one tuition basis and/or in running after school clubs for the students and who are prepared to help establish the framework for this new project.


Finally....


As noted above, this secondary school volunteering is a new project and, as such, there is much groundwork to do rather than just turning up on a Monday and asking what's happening! The extent of involvement in the classrooms will need to be negotiated with the teaching staff and headmaster as well as when workshops with the children will be run as they will need to fit around their educational and domestic work duties. Nevertheless this is a groundbreaking project in the area and holds out the prospect of many exciting opportunities to make a real impact on older children's lives in the village and, of course, a better resourced secondary school for the primary school children in the village to transition to in future years.

Visit the website here Team College


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