Sunday, 6 December 2015

Codes of Good Practice for Parents Working with Schools

Codes of Good Practice for Parents Working with Schools

The Uganda National Association of Private Schools and Institutions (UNAPSI) provides services to private schools and institutions in Uganda that are self-determining in mission and program and are governed by independent boards. UNAPSI works to empower private schools and the students they serve.
Should teachers in the private schools sector really brace themselves for an onslaught of unreasonable demands from overzealous parents, or is there a more positive side to the relationship?
There are a minority of parents whose interventions frustrate the private schools sector head teachers. A survey made by Uganda National Association of Private Schools and Institutions (UNAPSI) found that majority of head teachers at their fee-paying schools named the unrealistic demands of parents as one of the biggest frustration of their job – ahead of paperwork, government policy changes and workload. One spoke of some parents having the attitude towards education of “a customer buying a product”.
The UNAPSI Codes of Good Practice                          

UNAPSI Codes of Good Practice (CGP) for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be, to embed the expectation of professionalism, and to further our sector’s core values of transparency, excellence, and inclusivity.

Codes of Good Practice for Parents Working with Schools
Parents and independent schools work together to create and sustain effective partnerships. The following principles of good practice describe the respective roles and responsibilities of both partners.

1.              Parents recognize that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a common vision of the goals to be reached.
2.              In selecting a private school, parents seek an optimal match for the needs of the student, their own expectations, and the philosophy and programs of the school.
3.              Parents are familiar with and support the school’s policies and procedures.
4.              Parents provide a home environment that supports the development of positive learning attitudes and habits.
5.              Parents involve themselves in the life of the school.
6.              Parents seek and value the school’s perspective on the student.
7.              When concerns arise, parents seek information directly from the school, consulting with those best able to address the concerns.
8.              Parents share with the school any religious, cultural, medical, or personal information that the school may need to serve the student best. The school actively seeks the knowledge it needs to work effectively with a diverse parent body.

Codes of Good Practice for Schools Working with Parents

1.              The school suggests effective ways for parents to support the educational process.
2.              The school defines clearly how it involves parents when considering major decisions that affect the school community.
3.              The school keeps parents well informed through systematic reports, conferences, publications, and informal conversations.
4.              Teachers and administrators are accessible to parents and model candid and open dialogue.
5.              The school seeks and values the parents’ perspective on the student.
6.              The school clearly and fully presents its philosophy, program, and practices to parents during the admission process and encourages dialogue that clarifies parental expectations and aspirations for the student.
7.              The school recognizes that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a common vision of the goals to be reached.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Promoting Religious Purposefulness in Private Schools and Institutions in Uganda

Promoting Religious Purposefulness in Private Schools and Institutions in Uganda

Uganda National Association of Private Schools and Institutions (UNAPSI) intends to work with the growing widening private schools and institutions sector to increase the schools’ focus on, and effectiveness in advancing the religious development of their students.

UNAPSI will;             

(1) Work with private schools head teachers (especially primary and secondary schools) to develop action plans and assessment tools to enhance the capacity of their educators to promote spiritual growth in the areas of their students’ relationship with God and their religious beliefs and actions, in line with each school’s goals;

(2) Increase their own knowledge base to better enable head teachers to teach their students how to promote religious purposefulness; and

(3) Create and disseminate, for private schools, best educational practices designed to enhance spiritual growth.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Case for Multi-Campus Private Schools in Uganda

The Case for Multi-Campus Private Schools in Uganda

Private education has been in an era of expansion over the past decade, with class sizes increasing at many schools and institutions, new schools and institutions opening, and some existing schools adding distant campuses. The opening of multi-campus schools poses new issues related to accreditation, communication, distance education technology, and organizational structure and governance. A number of private schools and institutions have had dual or multi-campus operations for many years. In recent times there are more and more schools going down this road. UNAPSI explores some of the reasons for having or developing a multi-campus operation and some of the challenges it presents.

Why more than one Campus

There appear to be three main reasons for developing an additional campus or campuses. One is in response to enrolment demand. The second is to reflect or reinforce the school’s organizational structure and the third is to provide a different educational dimension for a group of students. The reasons aren’t always separable.

(a) Enrolment Demand
Over the past 20 years the growth of private school enrolments has been steady and strong. The private sector the average size of enrolment per school has increased by over 30%.  The demand for private education is likely to remain strong. Funding policies have meant that young families have increased accessibility. Many have greater disposable income than their parents at a similar age and they look for the dependable quality that a private school is likely to be able to deliver.

It is not always easy for schools to resist the demand for places. The pressure to enroll other siblings or children of alumni/ae can be quite severe. Even if they do want to respond there may be practical difficulties such as there being no room on a campus for additional facilities or the school may be prohibited from expanding by a local government  regulation.

Such factors have led schools to consider the development of an additional campus. Sometimes the additional campus is a strategic move not so much in response to demand, but to secure it. For example, a rapidly growing development on the edge of a school’s catchment area may prompt it to set up a campus there rather than have the education need filled by a new school which, in later years, will become a significant competitor.

(b) Reinforcing the organizational structure
It is not uncommon for a school to be divided into campuses by level, for example, with primary Year levels on a different campus to the secondary Year levels. Sometimes Infant Year levels are separated. A number of schools have separate senior Year levels. Not all such organizational structures are reinforced by having separate campuses, but some are. Indeed, some schools with large campuses have secondary Year levels at one end and primary ones at the other. The separating distance might be only 300 or 400 metres, but there are a lot of features of separate campuses present.

(c) Special Educational Programmes
An increasing number of schools have a separate campus to support special programmes. Sometimes it can simply be a base for Outdoor Education. However, there has been a growth in recent decades of campuses devoted to a special programme for part or all of a Year group. Members of the Year group spend anything from a few weeks to a year at the special campus.  Sometimes the focus is on learning to live together, sometimes on Outdoor Education. Often it is so that this group of students can experience something different to what is, for them, normal. Thus students at a city school may spend time in the country (or overseas) focusing on ecology or another style of life. Students in an outer suburban school may spend time at a campus learning about the resources of the city. There are many variants of this type of special programme.

Multi-campus Organization & Challenges

A multi-campus operation presents a number of challenges, especially when at least 2 of the campuses are year-round operations with significant numbers of students. These challenges will relate to administration, resources and programme. Close coordination will be vital lest destructive jealousy arise. The Head will have the key responsibility for this.


Each campus will have a Campus Director (or Head of Campus) responsible to the Head of School for the overall operation of the campus. At some schools the Head doubles as Campus Director. This is not a good practice as the Head will be torn between whole school issues and campus issues, most likely doing justice to neither.  If the campus is a large one, i.e. with a year-round operation and a significant number of students, the Campus Director will automatically be a member of the senior management team. Other members of the senior management team are likely to be the Director of Curriculum, the Business Manager, the Development Director and quite probably the Director of Extra-Curricular Activities. The latter person will have a substantial whole school coordinating role.


Allocation of resources is an area with the potential for conflict. A perception that one campus is receiving more than its fair share can rankle. This can be a particular problem if two of the campuses run parallel. Campus Directors will need to be involved closely in creating the school’s annual budget. There will be occasions  when one campus will receive more pro rata than another. Capital development is an example. It is important that the budgeting process is sufficiently transparent for the reasons for particular resource allocation to be clearly understood.


The programme and its delivery need special attention. With parallel campuses parents need to be assured that a child in, say, Year 8 on one campus will not be disadvantaged by comparison with one on another. The Director of curriculum will need to ensure parity of standards.


In our experience, apart from the practical matters referred to in this article the other thing that is essential to the harmonious operation of a multi-campus school is that the school philosophy is clearly thought out and articulated. Furthermore, it is a philosophy which must be lived on each campus.

The situation is that two (or more) significant groups of staff need to work together consistently, but with only limited opportunities to meet. A shared philosophy which underlies all that is done will achieve this in a way that policies and directives can’t hope to do on their own.

Specific Guidelines

UNAPSI recognizes that multi campus arrangements may make sense for administrative, governance, and/or financial reasons. However, UNAPSI reserves the right to determine how it will view these new entities for purposes of accreditation.

UNAPSI proposes the following guidelines:

Pending further review, UNAPSI will regard each campus location as a separate school for purposes of accreditation (reports, visits, dues, etc.) regardless of nomenclature suggesting one school on more than one campus.

A school may demonstrate that the multiple campuses are in fact one school by documenting in writing on the school’s information how each of the provided Standards for Accreditation is met by the multi-campus entity as though it were a single school.

Unless and until a school demonstrates to the satisfaction of UNAPSI that a branch campus is part of the accredited school, as though the two campuses were a single school, UNAPSI will consider the branch campus as a separate school and does not authorize the awarding of reports, transcripts or certificates with the name of the accredited school to students at that branch campus. The award of such a transcript or certificates suggests the endorsement of the accrediting agency and may be discouraged.
Major Advantages or Benefits for Multi-Campus Programs
The major advantages and benefits cited by schools for their multi-campus programs were that it: allowed expansion of the class size, facilitated interprofessional activities, improved cultural diversity, enhanced student opportunities and experiences (including                  and enhanced utilization and number of training sites.
Major Challenges or Issues with Multi-Campus Programs
The major problems or issues cited by schools for their multi-campus programs were: problems with effective distance education technology, difficulties in communicating effectively between campuses, difficulties in providing equivalent services or experiences to all campuses, division or feelings of inequality among students or faculty members; and difficulties in acclimating students when moving them from one campus to another. There were many other issues reported which referred to school operations, socialization, harmonization of policies, faculty workload, communication, transportation, faculty and staff recruitment, accreditation, differences in student outcomes, expense, and a variety of program- and site-specific issues.
Although many schools and institutions have similar methods of communication and curriculum transmission, there are numerous differences in overall program delivery, indicating a need for education, guidelines, policies and information dissemination on the topic. The prevalence of multi-campus programs is likely to expand over the next several years, as schools and institutions strive to make better use of resources, expand class sizes, and better serve their region.

Uganda National Association of Private Schools and Institutions
P.O.Box 29324 Kampala, Uganda, Email: ,