With his 22-year teaching experience, Rev. Can. Robert Kankiriho, 54, believes that teachers are important in modeling positive behaviour in their students, in and outside classroom.
Throughout his career, Kankiriho has ensured that students get a positive learning environment and look at teachers as their role models adding that teachers must watch their steps because students look up to them.
He has over the years listened to his students and shown that he cares for them especially in things that are important to them. It is no wonder that his former students describe him as a teacher who would follow up with where they are and what they were doing at a given time.
The Rev Can Kankiriho was born on September 5, 1964 in Rubare, Mitooma, Ruhinda to Joviah Nyabutobo and the late Edward Tindifa.
In 1974, he started school at Rwagashani Church School at eight where he spent two years before joining Primary One at Rukararwe Primary School, five Kilometres away from his home. He would walk 10Kms daily until he completed his Primary Leaving Examinations in 1980.
“We used to pack food and walk five kilometres to our school with bare feet,” he says.
Kankiriho later joined O-Level at Ruhinda Secondary School (1981-85) but did not sit for Uganda Certificate of Education examinations due to the then prevailing insecurity brought by the liberation war. He says their examinations were blocked at Katonga and many schools in Western and South Western Uganda missed sitting for exams until they were recalled to sit after the war in 1986.
“As various areas sat for their exams, ours were blocked at Katonga. We just heard that we were not going to do exams yet in other areas, exams were going on. We were recalled to sit for the same exams in April 1986 and our results were released in August the same year,” he recounts.
In September 1986, Kankiriho was admitted for A-Level at Makobore High School, Kinyasano in Rukungiri District. His Senior Six points were not enough for him to qualify him for university. He instead enrolled for a certificate in Theology at Bishop McAlister College, Kyogyera (1989-1991) where he attained a Provincial Certificate in Theology.
During Theological studies, Kankiriho felt it was necessary for him to re-sit Senior Six in order to qualify for university education, a dream he pursued and engaged in double training. He started juggling Theology studies and Senior Six. After the course, he was ordained deacon and posted to Nganwa High School as chaplain.
“At Nganwa I kept interacting with Senior Six students who gave me their books and also revised with me. Through this, I braced myself for exams. This called for double commitment because I had to do chaplaincy and yet set aside time for revision,” says Kankiriho.
Kankiriho sat his A-Level at Bishop McAlister College, Kyogyera in March 1993 and passed.
Training as a teacher
Working and serving as school Chaplain opened Kankiriho’s gates to the education career. He wanted to reach more students and have enough time with them instead of meeting them only on Sunday.
“I wanted to impact students’ lives and meeting them only on Sunday was not enough. I got convinced that becoming a teacher would make me reach them regularly and in that spirit ease transformation of their lives,” he says.
Among other reasons, Kankiriho also got convinced that being a teacher would give him a stable source of income from government.
Given that conviction, in 1993, he enrolled for a Diploma in Education at National Teachers College, Kakoba, Mbarara with History and Christian Religious Education as his teaching subjects. He completed the course in 1995. He was posted to Nganwa High School as a teacher and Chaplain. But he did not stop at that. In 1998 he enrolled for a Bachelors of Education at Makerere University graduating in 2001.
He was in 2004 transferred to Butsibo Secondary School, where he taught for five years before being transferred to Bweranyangi Girls Secondary School in 2009.
The ambitious Kankiriho
After some years in service as a teacher and priest, Kankiriho got convicted by a belief that he would be a better leader if he undertook a course in Public Administration. For that reason, he enrolled for Master’s degree in Public Administration and Management at Uganda Christian University, Mukono in (2009-2011).
“By that time I was serving as teacher and priest. This called for more public administration skills and I decided to further my studies in public administration in order to manage the public well,” Kankiriho explains
He pursued the course during his tenure at Bweranyangi Girls Secondary School where he also served as school chaplain up to 2013. He was in 2014 transferred to Masheruka Girls SS as teacher and chaplain.
While at Masheruka, Kankiriho was appointed caretaker deputy head teacher in charge of academics up to 2015 when he was transferred to Nyabubaare Secondary School where he is to date.
Kankiriho has in his service as teacher and chaplain in schools helped to support students and teachers through challenges in their life journey. He says this has given him satisfaction after seeing many of them succeed.
With his monthly salary, Kankiriho has bought land, taken children to school, and sustained his life and family. He has also been able to further his studies.
But most importantly, Kankiriho believes that a disciplined teacher is one of the most important role models for a student.