The then Mawokota North MP, Hon.Amelia Kyambadde (2L) at the official opening of the classroom block constructed by MTN Foundation at Samling Nama high school (File Photo)

For a while, the population of students at Samling Nama High School was going through the roof. Congestion was the order of the day.

A senior three classroom with a capacity of 50 students would squeeze double the population into the room.

There was not enough space to comfortably sit and study in class. Streaming the class was not an option either as the school lacked the necessary infrastructure.

“The senior three class could not be streamed. We had a very big challenge of congestion. Over 120 students were housed in one classroom,” Emma Muwanvu, the head teacher Samling Nama high school recounts.

The school designed to provide refuge to underprivileged children was filled to capacity, denying other children the opportunity to benefit from affordable yet quality education.

However, in 2018, Samling Nama high school turned the tide following an intervention by MTN Foundation in partnership with the school proprietor, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS).

Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) is a non-government organization (NGO) that provides quality and affordable education in rural areas across different African countries.

Samling Nama High School is one of the establishments set up by the organization to extend education to children in Mpigi district.

MTN Foundation partnered with PEAS to improve and upgrade the infrastructure in select secondary schools to ensure children comfortably receive quality education.

MTN Foundation under the initiative constructed three-classroom blocks for the schools and furnished them with classroom furniture including student desks, teachers’ desks, chairs, blackboards and soft boards.

Sanitary facilities were also constructed and solar lighting material such as panels, bulbs, and batteries were installed for the schools that had no access to electricity.

Improved sanitary conditions, security, infrastructure, student to teacher ratios As a result, the number of students enrolled in the schools has since increased and the congestion is a thing of the past.

“After the block was constructed, we were able to stream our senior three class and now we have smaller classes of 60. The number of students has also increased because in 2018, we had about 370 learners. But in 2019, having created more space, that number increased to 450 learners,” Muwanvu explains illustrating the school’s ability to extend quality education to more children in the area.

The initiative which was handled in two phases saw schools across eight districts including Amuria, Kabarole, Katakwi, Ibanda, Lamwo, Mayuge, Mpigi and Wakiso enjoy improved sanitary conditions, security, infrastructure and improved student to teacher ratios.

“The lighting also greatly improved the security situation. Previously, we had intruders coming into the school without our knowledge. Students could also go in and out of the school without us knowing.

“The security lights have created a lot of visibility in the surrounding of the school,” head teacher, Apeulai PEAS High School appreciated.

Bryan Mbasa, the senior manager MTN Foundation explained the plight of the schools which were characterized by overcrowding of classrooms with class sizes having as many as 90 to 100 students.

“1800 classroom spaces were created in the ten schools, allowing students who would not have had a chance to enjoy secondary school to enroll. It is because the spaces increased the capacity of PEAS schools and enhanced their ability to absorb more students.

“As MTN we are delighted to have encouraged the growth of our community through education. It is also very timely as it comes at a time when the world is plagued by covid-19 which is prone to transmission in crowded areas,” he notes.

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