For the country to attain its goals in the education sector and boost academic performance in the government-aided primary schools, there is need for collective and concerted effort of both the public and private sectors to address aspects that indirectly and directly affect children’s learning.
This was the rallying call made by Airtel’s Managing Director Manoj mural at the recent Awarding ceremony for the 14 top-performing Primary Seven pupils from the four schools that are currently being supported by the telecom company.
The company supports four schools under their Airtel Adopted a School program. These are: Sseke Primary School in Lwengo District, Nanfugaki Primary School in Iganga, Ndeeba Church of Uganda Primary School in Kayunga district and St. Ponsiano Kyamula Primary School in Makindye currently under the initiative.
Manoj emphasized the importance of collaboration between the private sector and educational institutions in fostering a conducive learning environment.
Manoj made the comments as he handed out starter-kits to the 14 best performers in the PLE schools to support them as they enter secondary school. He said the assistance is just part of the bigger package Airtel offers to the four schools to encourage and facilitate better academic performance in UPE schools.
He said: “We are pleased to reward our Top performers with a secondary school start-up kit which comprises a suitcase, mattress, pillow, bedsheets, mosquito net, school bag, scholastic materials, Airtel branded goodies, and other essentials for their upcoming journey into secondary school which underlines commitment to supporting initiatives that promote education, empower communities, and create lasting positive change.”
“We recognize the importance of access to Education, and we have consistently strived to foster partnerships where we can positively contribute to the communities we serve under our Airtel Cares, Corporate Social Responsibility program, where we touch lives across three key pillars of Education, Financial Inclusion and Health,” manoj explained.
David Birungi, Airtel Uganda publicist explained that over the 9 years of the Adopt a School Program, there has been noticeable improvement is academic performance of pupils.
Birungi notes that the Initiative addresses some of the administrative challenges experienced in these four schools that could affect the learning of the children.
He further explains that by school adoption, Airtel takes on the interventions in schools that can improve the learning conditions, and that include supporting the teachers in getting resources, supporting the learners in having a clear view of their education journey.
“Once we created that learning environment, we came back and told the adopted schools that who whoever gets a first grade, we shall give you a start-up to senior one, what that does is, pupils who are watching the gesture are inspired …..we now see the effort which is paying off, the grades and pass rates have improved and we believe that if we had all the resources we would probably scale up the project”-Birungi.
One of the beneficiaries of this initiative back in 2022, Blossom Kalete currently pursuing her secondary education at St. Andrews Secondary School in Luweero, testifies that after scoring a first grade at St. Ponsiano Primary School, this support from Airtel came in handy since her parents had been relieved the cost of the school requirements.
“To date, this gesture has been a motivation for her to work hard to attain academic excellence”-Kaleete appreciates Airtel.
On behalf of the schools and parents, Francis Ojulong, the Head Teacher of St. Ponsiano Kyamula Primary School who expressed gratitude to Airtel Uganda’s commitment towards emphasizing the culture of academic excellence at the adopted schools and ensuring that the children continue through school without any hindrances.
Additionally last year the Telecommunication firm partnered with UNICEF to extend digital learning to select schools like St. Mary’s Assumpta Girls School in Uganda by donating computers and 5G internet connection.
To ensure the education sector is fully supported, Airtel also partnered with telecom tower infrastructure company ATC Uganda to promote access to education through Digital Community Centers in Uganda.
Under this collaboration, 8 digital communities have been established across the country as part of its Access to Education project, which will see different public libraries across the country equipped with computers and connected to the internet for the purpose of ICT skilling in various communities.