Visa backlog delays school's Uganda link-up
A SCHOOL'S hopes to become truly international have been dashed by bureaucracy - for the time being.
Westlands School had planned to welcome Ugandan headteacher Martin Muyingo for a few days.
Now the visit by the African headteacher who has worked with the UN, has been postponed until after the summer holidays because of a visa backlog.
School bosses who have been working to organise Mr Muyingo's trip to Torquay for more than seven months have been left disappointed by the bureaucratic nightmare.
With a wealth of experience in all aspects of upvc, from windows & doors to conservatories and anything in between GDH UPVC offers competitive prices why not call today you maybe surprised!
Contact: 01803 226676
Valid until: Thursday, June 20 2013
Hamish Higginson, the citizenship teacher who organised the visit after winning £2,000 in funding from the International Schools Award, said: "It is really disappointing. The Uganda High Commission stopped processing visa applications as of March. They passed it all on to the Kenyan authorities in Nairobi. But it has created a massive backlog."
Mr Higginson said Mr Muyingo, who is in charge of Baale Secondary School, Kayunga, had been due to visit the school this week.
Had his visa been processed on time, he would have been welcomed by mayor Nick Bye and Bay MP Adrian Sanders.
The visit was organised after the school became twinned with its counterpart in Uganda following a seven-month pen pal exchange.
Mr Higginson said the twinning came after he did some research on the internet about linking up with African schools.
He came across the International Schools Award who put Westlands in touch with the Uganda school.
Mr Higginson said not all was lost and Mr Muyingo would still share his experience with teachers in all departments at Westlands during the next academic year.
He added: "It was a disappointment because we've all put so much effort in Britain and in Uganda to get him here. To be caught by bureaucracy at the last opportunity is disappointing.
"But it has been a learning process and the trip has not been cancelled, but just postponed. The project is very well funded and has the backing of many people who still want to get involved when Mr Muyingo finally comes to Westlands."
He added: "We have been in touch with everyone involved in working on this project and they're all keen to be part of the partnership again."
Mr Higginson said the programme of the visit would stay the same and Mr Muyingo will work with deputy headteacher Pat Brown, school nurse Julie Gilbrook, Torbay Healthy Schools coordinator Gill Brown and Torbay Youth Workers to talk about methods for improving children's health, skills and awareness among young people in the Bay and in Kayunga, Uganda.
Westlands is expecting the visit to take place before the end of the year.