Sr. Boniconsilii Ngabirano has been the headmistress of St. Kizito Senior Secondary school Bugolobi since 2014. She was born and raised in Bukyinda village in Kabaale district. She was born in 1963 to the Late Mr. Pasca Kijungu (R.I.P) and Mrs. Regina Kijungu. When she reached the school going age, Sr. Boniconsilii alias Sr. Boni was registered at St. Paul’s Kakatunda Progressive Primary school Kabaale where she studied until primary seven. After P7, she joined the convent of the Missionary Congregation of Evangelising sisters of Mary in Moroto. While there, she underwent religious formation and there after, did her novitiate in Moshi Tanzania, and took her first profession in 1983.
After her first profession, she was posted to Nairobi to the headquarters of their congregation. After four years of formation, Sr. Boni returned to the classroom and St. Mary Girl’s school Narok in Kenya was the best place for her to pursue her dream. At that time, she was not sure of what she wanted to do as a profession until a nun who was her teacher tickled her and she developed the love for being a teacher. At Narok is where she did her O-level; senior one to senior four. When her time to join A-level approached, she was admitted at Bishop Gatimu Nganda girls high school for S.5 and S.6. She would later be admitted to Kenyatta University between 1989-1992 for a Bachelors of Arts in Education. Her dream was getting closer to reality. She had fallen in love with teaching and imparting knowledge to the young people.
Sr. Boni said she loves teaching that she would do it over and over again. She has been a headmistress for half of her career life. While in high school, Sr. Boni met a nun who was her teacher. She said every time Sister would meet with the girls during class or outside class, she would be telling them about the basics of life besides teaching in class. Thus, Sr. Boni learnt that being a teacher was more than teaching in classroom but more of giving knowledge. That is when she found her calling and she made up her mind to be a teacher. She added that her former teacher loved the students so much that it inspired her even more to begin preparing herself for the journey of giving knowledge to the young people.
Ever since she picked interest in teaching, she loved it and every time she sees young people, she feels like giving them knowledge because it gives her life to educate the young people. She added that she discovered that young people have a lot of potential which they have not discovered but through help, they can do many great things.
In 1992, Sr. Boni completed her B.A education at Kenyatta University which she had joined in 1989. There, she immediately began her career back in Kenya as a classroom teacher. Because of her love for education, she was made the head of department, a position she held for three years before being promoted to headmistress. She was headmistress for seven years in Kenya. After seven years, she returned to Uganda and worked at Mother Kevin Secondary school in Jinja as a headmistress for four years before joining the Uganda catholic secretariat where she worked as a National religious education coordinator for four years.
When she left the Catholic secretariat, she worked at Luigi Giussani High school in Kireka as the headmistress for four years. In 2014, Sr. Boni was appointed to St. Kizito as the headmistress where she is still the headmistress. Sr. Boni has big dreams for St. Kizito which she would be glad to see come true. She said she wished St. Kizito becomes a centre for excellence spiritually, academically, with good facilities for both the teachers and students. She added that, since she joined St. Kizito, she has seen students’ performance improve academically and spiritually. Besides, the students discipline has also improved. She noted that the students give enough time for prayers and many are taking the sacraments seriously.
Delegating jobs to her juniors is Sr. Boni’s secret to good leadership. She said she delegates a lot of work to many teachers without neglecting her job. The members she delegates the work to, she supervises to make sure that they have done exactly what she expects and wants them to do.
Empowering teachers and training school prefects has helped improve the quality of the school and also another tool to good leadership added Sr. Boni. She wants teachers to know all their students by name and where they come from. She added that this helps the teachers know the kind of learner they are dealing with and how to help them.
Prayer has been the biggest weapon Sr. Boni has used during her time as the headmistress of St. Kizito Secondary school. Support from her community of the Evangelising sisters, she said always works as good therapy in her management. Her biggest challenge at the moment is the comparison of students by the education system in the country. She says that students are gifted differently but the education system only rates them as the same, making it hard for the teachers who have to make sure that the learners are at the same level.
She also finds the grading of school during final exams very disturbing; meaning teachers only teach the students to pass exams. She has embraced the new curriculum for lower secondary which the government has introduced saying it will help both teachers and students as long as the ministry of Education stops comparing students with their grades and stops grading schools according to grades in exams. Sr. Boni embraced this year’s theme for the international woman’s day: ‘I am generation equality, realising women’s right. ’She said women today are performers just like their counterparts the men. She added that at St. Kizito, she is training the students to embrace equality in society.
The competition between boys and girls is seen through their academic performance because many times, the girls have performed better than boys and vice versa. She noted that she is training the girl child because the world will soon depend on women. “I am promoting the girl child because the world will soon depend on women, I have always cautioned the girls to be strong women,” said Sr. Boni.
By Irene Lamunu
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