Every young person who goes to an Oasis academy is not only a member of a family of 47 schools across England, but is also part of the much wider Oasis family that stretches across 11 countries.
Each year our students take part in projects at school where they learn about other cultures and how young people elsewhere in the world live, through the Oasis Global Partnerships scheme. As part of this work, our academies also fundraise to support the projects that Oasis run to tackle issues such as human trafficking, homelessness and extreme poverty.
On the 3rd March all Oasis academies are taking part in a ‘One Oasis Global Education Day’ where our young people will join together in a day of action to support our pioneering new school in Uganda, Oasis Academy Musoto.
Ahead of ‘One Oasis Global Education Day’, we caught up with Alex Toolo, Principal at Oasis Academy Musoto, to find out more about their work.
Hi Alex. How long have you been involved with Oasis Academy Musoto, and what changed over that time?
I have been involved at the Academy for three years now and so much has changed! I have seen the Academy grow from a nursery, where our children are aged between 3 and 6, to the beginning of a Primary school where our eldest children are turning 8.
Over time and thanks in big part to the commitment and resilience of our teachers, our local community now really buys in to our vision. Our parents now show great care towards our school, and will come in to give us a hand; they clean our classrooms and mow the grass! We are very grateful.
What do you think is the best thing about working for Oasis Academy Musoto?
Everything at Oasis Academy Musoto is a ‘positive.’ By working with the children our teachers have opportunities to improve their skills – my hope is that one day they will be able to gain greater knowledge which they can then share with others and we can generate many more new teachers. And as for the children; by coming to school and working hard they are flourishing. Thanks to Oasis Academy Musoto they will have life chances that previous generations in their families didn’t have, and that’s very exciting.
What is school life like for the children that attend Oasis Academy Musoto?
Children at our school are assured of a daily nutritious breakfast and lunch, which is sadly rare for other youngsters in Mbale, and they of course enjoy a safe and protected learning environment with us, free from corporal punishments that is still common in Uganda.
Thanks to our small teacher to pupil ratios, our children get quality time and attention from individual teachers, which enables them to make fantastic progress. We focus on developing their children’s self-confidence and respect, and as such our pupils are confident and outgoing learners, and very respectful of one another.
We are also reaching out to our children’s families; we invite them to join Self-help Groups to talk about simple ways for them to start and grow their own businesses and become self-reliant.
And what are the biggest challenge/difficulty for the teachers and staff at Oasis Academy Musoto?
My teachers are eager and ready to learn, and they are concentrating on teaching to a high standard but there are limited opportunities for them to visit other more established schools that would greatly support their development as educators. We are grateful of the support we receive from our Oasis Global Partner Academies in the UK – their support, skills and experience have been a valuable source of encouragement for us.
What challenges do your children face?
At school our children suffer from limited playing and learning resources for both indoor and outdoor activities – many of them could progress so much further if they had the opportunity. It is also a struggle for the children to learn English as outside of school they do not have the opportunity to practice – the majority of our parents do not have the skills or education level to support their child’s learning.
Getting to school is a challenge year round as our pupils need to make it alone on foot; but during the rainy season it is particularly bad as the routes to school are dangerous and involve crossing streams.
Some of our parents neglect to take care of the health needs of their children as they struggle to afford the basic medical costs for them.
What are your hopes for Oasis Academy Musoto?
The aim of Oasis Academy Musoto is to develop our wider community, by bringing up the next generation of well-educated entrepreneurs and creative adults who are able to effectively contribute to solving the needs of their community.
By improving teaching standards and learning continually, they have a better chance than ever. We also focus on providing for the holistic needs of individual children; we want to build up their confidence and belief in themselves and make them resilient. If we succeed, they can potentially transform their whole community.
It is my hope that Oasis Academy Musoto will continue to grow amidst all the challenges that we face, and become a role model school not just in our area but in the whole of Uganda. By concentrating on high teaching standards and a creative learning environment, there is nothing that will stop us.
One Oasis Global Education Day – Friday 3rd March
On Friday 3rd March, Oasis Academies across the country will be joining to take part in our first ever One Oasis Global Education Day. This will be an opportunity for all of our students to learn about the global issue of access to quality education, and then to take positive action to make change by fundraising for Oasis educational projects around the world.
This year our fundraising target is £30,000, and these funds will be in support of Oasis Academy Musoto, Uganda.