Hajj Hassan Mwesige: I was among the first teachers to formalise Islamic Education


Though many civil servants retire and opt to enjoy a life of ease in their evening years, Hajji Hassan Mwesige’s passion for teaching has continued long after retirement. Retired and aged 54, the former head teacher of Saidina Abubaker Secondary School in Butambala ditrict, spends most of his time at school.

Born to Iddi Nsama and Hasfar Namara in Kihomboza Village Hoima, Mwesige’s dream was to become a doctor. He acknowledges that he lost focus along the way since he did not have an opportunity to get career guidance.
“I remember going to school at 10am and sometimes leaving at lunch time. I had no focus. When I realised my dream was impossible, I began dreaming of becoming an auditor.”

For his A’Levels, Mwesige joined Sir Tito Winyi Secondary School in Hoima in 1984, to study Mathematics, Economics and Geography. At Makerere University, he studied for a degree in Education, specialising in economics and geography. He later substituted the geography with Islamic religious education after pressure from friends.

“A number of people who had come from Kibuli Secondary School inspired me to change, and with time, I realised it was necessary since there were few Islamic teachers at the time,” he says.

Authoring IE books
Before he completed his degree, Mwesige began teaching Islamic Education (IE) at Kampala High School. Later, in 1989 when he graduated, he was offered employment at Nabisunsa Girls School.
“There were just a few handouts teachers were using to teach IE. Teaching notes were still being translated from Arabic to Luganda.

I wanted a formal mode of teaching where Arabic is translated to English so this forced me to writing Islamic modules and handouts. In 1990, I began writing books to be used as teaching guides for IE, among which was Introduction to Quran and it’s teaching, Advanced Level Islamic Civilization and Introduction to Hadith and Fiqh. Many students began passing the subject highly.”

In 1997, Mwesige completed his masters degree in curriculum development and enrolled for a postgraduate degree in management studies at Uganda Management Institute, which he completed in 2012.

Mwesige says authoring books did not divert him from teaching. “When I was made deputy head teacher at Nabisunsa Girls School in 1997, I would still teach IE passionately and my happiness lay in seeing my students excel, not only in my subject, but in others as well. In 2003, I became deputy head teacher of Kibuuli Secondary School and in 2010 I joined Saidina Abubaker Secondary School

Life in retirement
After his retirement in 2013, Mwesige directed his passion at Nsamo Mixed Day and Boarding Primary school, a school which he started in 2010 from the profits he made from writing.

“I still actively teach and participate in school work. I come early in the morning and oversee all school activities and I always feel excited when I see my students prospering.”

Mwesige says he was able to succeed in teaching because he has a good working relationship with his colleagues, loves what he does and has the will to go the extra mile. His advice to teachers is that discipline, teamwork and self-drive are key in the profession.


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