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Madhvani-founded girls’ school celebrates 55 years

In the year 1958 Parvatiben Muljibhai Madhvani Girls’ School ? commonly known as PMM Girls’ – was just getting started in Jinja. The girls’ school was founded by Madhvani group of companies in memory of a Madhvani matriarch, Parvatiben, who died about 200 years ago.

On Sunday, April 21, 2013, scores of students, Old Girls and staff gathered at PMM to celebrate the school’s 55th anniversary. The OGs included four women Members of Parliament led by Veronica Babirye Kadogo (Buyende Woman). Others were Dorothy Mpiima (Buikwe Woman), Margaret Makoka (Namayingo Woman) and Proscovia Alengot (Usuk). Hundreds of Old Girls were present, sharing a host of memories with the 820 students about their time at the school, which first opened its doors on Monday, April 21, 1958 with students spread between S.1 and S.6.

By 1963, the three-acre school campus had become too small for the fast-growing population of students and staff and this forced the founders to seek more land. The school now sits on about 20 acres, where playgrounds for a number of games have been created. As you go beyond the main entrance, you find yourself under the shade of fruit trees which also provide fruits that supplement the students’ diet.

The secret of PMM’s academic excellence

Enoch Arubu L’Akujo, the director of studies (DOS), attributes the school’s excellence to adhering to its motto: ‘Struggle for Success.’ Students are counselled to put aside all else and concentrate on learning and obedience.

“We believe in good morals, hard work and teamwork. In this era of social networking, partnership of stakeholders is key to the posterity of any institution. Our being here today is a pointer to a brighter future for PMM Girls,” L’Akujo said.

The school emphasizes discipline among students and it has never had any serious incident or strike for the 55 years of its existence. L’Akujo believes there is no student who cannot be taught, especially if they are between 13 and 17 years. Unlike other schools, PMM is not too selective on grades during admission. They have a belief that selective enrolment is denial of a girl child of the chance to transform her grades.

“We have transformed third graders into first graders. A student who scored 20 points in UACE last year had got 42 aggregates in S.4 but when she came here we admitted her,” says L’Akujo, who stresses that it is a weak teacher who prefers a class of only bright students.

He says the results of students have been progressively good, especially in S.6. In 2011, the DOS says, 48 students (56 per cent) were admitted to S.5 with division 3 and the best two got 20 points with four principal passes and 21 got 14 points and above in UACE.

“Here learners are transformed for the universities and other tertiary institutions despite their entry aggregates.”

Good relationship

For the last few decades PMM Girls’ was one of a few outstanding day girls’ schools that gave access and opportunity for the education of most of the girls in Jinja and Busoga sub-region. Because of the big numbers, the DOS says, the school operates morning and afternoon classes.

“I am sure this is probably because of our good relationship with parents who trusted us as the only school in the region with the capacity to handle girls,” says Ms Petronella Nabwire Lujwala who has headed PMM Girls’ for the last 12 years.

events of the day

The ‘55th Birthday Retiree and Guest Luncheon’ was a success. The hugs, tears of joy, laughter, and memories filled the 100-square metre field where it was held.

“I still have a lump in my throat and I am so glad that this idea was shared by committee members and became a reality,” said one of the old students.

It all began with a march led by a brass band along the streets of Jinja town. This brought business to a standstill as business owners closed their businesses to join the marching girls who were smartly dressed in green skirts and stripped green blouses.

Several activities preceded the major celebrations. As early as 7am, fun had spread everywhere at the school campus which is located just on the outskirts of the central business district of Jinja town. The fete attracted the old and young who were clad in all kinds of colourful costumes. The function was opened by MP Veronica Babirye Kadogo, also one of the hundreds of ladies who attributed their success to PMM Girls’.

“Many of us have become very important persons and hold positions of leadership because of the good foundation we received from here. This is the only girls’ school in this region where a student cannot leave the same she came. We are, therefore, honoured to be here and I encourage you to read harder,” Babirye said.

“The successful conclusion of today’s events is one of the signs of our plan of strategising for this school further and ensuring it records better results, academically, in sports as well as in discipline,” said the MP, before giving a Shs 500,000 cheque donation towards the completion of the school library.

Activities of the day included face and body painting, a street festival, drama groups’ performances, miming of songs, cultural dances, giant floats, and colourful costumes, among others. Those attending the luncheon took a moment off to pose for a group photo beside a banner wishing PMM Girls’ a ‘Happy 55th anniversary.’

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