If someone asked us nine years ago if starting a school of our own would be one of the things we consider doing at enjuba, we would emphatically reply with a No. Anyone who owns (or has owned a school in the past) would tell you that this is a journey that faint-hearted people should avoid at all costs because of the many intricate dynamics involved.
So, why a change of mind now? As in, given the countless losses many schools have suffered because of the extended closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one ‘sober’ would even consider thinking of starting a school. The truth is that we have not changed our mind. All that we have done is to keep our minds focused on the primary beneficiary of our services, that is, primary school children.
We learned not so long ago that 83% of children (10 years and below) cannot read and comprehend what they read, according to the 2019 World Bank Report. It dawned on us that, while our past efforts made a difference, we have got to go back to the drawing table to rethink our strategy. After all, isn’t it only a fool that does the same thing over and over again and expects different results? As we slowed down (thanks to COVID-19!), we closely interrogated the plight of children and slowly began the process of getting to the root of the problem. After several discussions and through correspondence with different stakeholders, we decided to take a leap of faith to start a school.
Now, this is like no other Early Childhood Development (ECD) or pre-school. It is a Lab School where we shall not only teach our children (3-5 years old) but also research and test learning models whose results will be initially implemented in selected public ECD centers across the country. This largely explains why we had to move out of the city center, acquire property, and are currently setting up arguably the only Lab School in Africa. We know that we have taken an unchatted road with no short-term fruits. However, we believe that our efforts will yield longstanding results that will hopefuly tilt the scales.
If you think we are crazy, you may be right. ‘Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’, says one of the lines in Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Ad. Since we are into this for the long haul, we plan to stop at nothing until we see the learning crisis that threatens the human capital of our country brought to its knees. May God bless Uganda!