In its heyday, the school which was established in 1990 had come up with an alternative model that gave students both flexible and affordable learning. The model attracted hundreds of mature students which sought to learn but also gave opportunities to the less privileged, and those rejected from other schools.
For many years Kampala
Students Center was among the best and most popular learning areas in Kampala
attracting students for both O and A ‘level studies. Established in 1990, Kampala
Students Center offered both flexible and affordable education, especially, to
It also gave opportunities to the less privileged, and those
rejected from other schools. For the center that it was, one would
anticipate tremendous improvements in terms of performance, enrollment, and
infrastructure over time. However, Makerere Kivulu-based center along Gaddafi
road- a few meters from Makerere University is characterized by a crumbling
toilet and an old structure that houses classrooms and administrative offices
Inside the Director's office, visitors are welcomed with a big
album filled with pictures of former students who have risen to become
prominent persons in different areas. “All those you are seeing are our
former students”, Joseph Barigeya the Director of Kampala Student center told
our reporters before pulling out a bench for them to sit on. One of the key figures
who graces the pictures is the Kampala Lord mayor, Erias Lukwago.
“It is unfortunate that much as the school has
produced that manpower which is very productive to the community, we have not
been helped,” Barigeya noted. Available records indicate that at its
peak, the Kampala Student center would enroll hundreds of candidates. However, in
this academic year, the center only enrolled 70 candidates, 40 in senior four
and the remaining in senior six. As a matter of fact, the center is on the
verge of closure because of poor enrollment.
Andrew Lyaguba, a former student who now heads the center,
says the center is currently at its lowest point since it opened. “Those
who know this school can tell you that it was among the best that we had. We
produced many students nearly in all professions. Our old boys are everywhere,”
Lyaguba said recalling the old golden days when the school became famous.
Indeed, many people attest to the fact that Kampala Student
center was a powerhouse that used to outperform any school during the seminars
that were arranged to prepare candidates for their final exams. The center outperformed many well-established and prestigious
schools during the final exams.
It is because of this past legacy that
a few students still choose it. Hanifa Ayikoru, one such student from the
Kampala student center told URN that she was attracted by the school's long
history of producing many successful people and looks up to such people in
order to become successful herself. She has studied at the school since her
“I could have gone to any other school, but I had role models
who passed through this school. They studied from here, such people made me get
the courage to join the school,” Ayikoru whom our reporter interviewed while
writing her final examinations for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of
She has been offering History, Economics, and Geography.
At Kampala student center ordinary-level students pay Shillings 350,000 per
term and Shillings 400,000 for Advanced level per term, which is pee nuts
compared to what other schools are changing. Although the fees are lower, students
don’t pay thus limiting the capacity of management to pay teachers and develop
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While at the school, URN learned that the school doesn’t
have a staff salary structure. The school has 26 teachers, 10 of whom are
living at the school. However, none of them earns a salary. Barigeya says that
the center only survives on former students who come back to offer teaching
services for nearly no pay.
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Barigeya explains that in order to ensure the
survival of the center, which is also a public good, he has submitted numerous
proposals to the central government and Kampala Capital City Authority for help.
He, however, says that both are yet to come to their rescue.
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What befell Kampala Student Center?
Dr. Gerald Walulya, a lecturer in the Department of
Journalism and Communication at Makerere University is one of the old
students. Walulya, just like many other old students, is concerned
about the poor state of his Alma mater.
He says that what made the school strong is
the fact that its proprietor wasn’t money orientated as he focused on
delivering a service, which partly explains its collapse. The Makerere don also
points out that the center also suffered some maladministration as some of the past
head teachers including relatives of the director, robbed the center, which the
proprietor realized late.
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Walulya says that although the center is private,
it would be a monumental undertaking to salvage and restore it to its past
glory. According to Walulya, since the center is community-based, the onus is
entirely on the people who passed there to unite and get back the school to its