KAMPALA-Education at Aga Khan Schools in Kampala is not only about reading books and passing examinations. This was illustrated last Friday as students exhibited skills at their 2022 Expo held under the theme, “Entrepreneurship for Development”.
The expo had learners in both primary and secondary schools showcase mostly home-made products, dominated by foods and processed drinks. There were also practical solutions to protect the environment.
In this category students developed a stove that uses polythene paper rolled with other ingredients like salt to prepare meals and called it the Plastic Stove. These were declared winners at the secondary section of the academy, which ranges from kindergarten.
Another group using the name Save the Earth by Recycling crushed plastic bottles and made women’s handbags to carry personal items.
There were also products in horticulture where disused items such as old towels were recycled into sturdy planters for growing vegetables in small spaces like your balcony. Melvin Taremwa and Shamma Williams Mukiibi – both from the secondary section – used the name Mastered Seed for this business and say they want to make it fully commercial.
Taremwa said they started working on this plan two years ago, but were challenged after co-creators became weary and quit.
“This business requires labour and some members were not willing to work,” Taremwa, now reading for his Ordinary-Level exams, said.
His partner Mukiibi added that they faced discouragement from friends who said agriculture was mostly for the uneducated.
“They used to laugh at us. Now we are selling our products for a profit,” he said.
Aga Khan leaders said their focus was on producing an all-round student.
Other developers, still in the agricultural section, decided what they wanted to do was food processing and leveraged their knowledge first by forming clubs to group them as like-minded entrepreneurs.
For instance, there was Catering Club, Angels Kitchen and Bob Kitchen, with the latter able to serve traditional food. Bob Kitchen were declared winners for their creativity in serving the public.
“We have been in business for some time. Students buy from us and we hope to continue,” said Gabriel Mimi of Catering Club which makes doughnuts and other pastries.
Another group innovating under their business name Treasures and Pleasures emerged best in the primary section for their products that included sweets and — remarkably — chewing gum.
Some group members, Judith Tendo-Bwogi and Lynnette Mirembe-Bwogi lauded the school and their father Charles Bwogi for helping to make the products.
The parent said he would continue supporting his daughters to be creative, saying the world now needs solution providers.
“I will support them to become job creators. The world needs people who can provide business solutions to communities. I encourage other parents to support their children to have practical skills that can help them in the future after school,” he said.
Others still exhibited skills in making and marketing perfumes, cosmetics and crafts and are determined to continue with their businesses after leaving school.
The Principal Aga Khan Schools Fred Tukahirwa was impressed that the institution has been able to provide learners with hands-on skills that will help them create their own jobs.
Tukahirwa said what the learners had exhibited was a way of putting theory learnt in class into practice, adding that this provides the learners with critical and creative thinking skills.
He said the entrepreneurial lessons had paid off in giving the young students wide production skills in a whole range of fields including production, distribution, selling and marketing.
He said this was in line with the new ‘O’-Level curriculum.
“Life is not about doing one thing. Apart from a job, we are thinking of what else can one do to bring food to the table,” he said, adding that the exhibition helps learners to get practical skills from each other.
“These skills can help one survive without a job,” Tukahirwa said.
He said the exhibition takes place every two years and this was the second time they were doing it.
Chief Guest Phillip Andrew Wabulya the Director, Petroleum Investment Fund at the Bank of Uganda [BoU] encouraged the students to continue being creative, saying business skills are critical to their success.
Wabulya announced a Shs 5 million donation from the central bank, adding they would continue to support such business innovations in Aga Khans Schools.
Zehar Muneer, a parent, lauded Aga Khan Education Services for coming up with the business innovation competition in its schools, saying her son in primary school is able to bake cakes and chocolate.
“I will continue to mentor my son so that after finishing school, he does not have to look for employment,” she said.
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