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I started my school with 2 pupils – Valand

FOR Ushaben Valand, director of Baba’s Day School in Lusaka’s Fairview area, starting up a school did not require any capital injection or sponsorship from her family members.
Born on November 13, 1955 in Livingstone, Ms Valand says all she needed was determination and focus on what she wanted to do.
“I had two nephews at nursery school called Little Bicorn in Kabulonga then in the early 1980s, one day, I thought of looking at what my nephews were learning and because I was not satisfied with the quality of learning that they were getting, I then thought of starting a class of 10 pupils in extra lessons,” she said.
My parents migrated from India to Livingstone in 1963. We relocated to Lusaka, in 1972 and we moved to Kamwala in 1972. In 1973, we came to plot 88 Provident Street.
Born in a family of eight, Ms Valand finished primary school at Lotus Primary and was selected for grade 8 at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School where she completed in 1974.
Because of her interest in standards of education her nephews were being subjected to, she started an extra lesson class of about 10 pupils which saw the birth of one of the best schools in Lusaka, Baba Day School.
“One day I looked at what they were learning and I felt I should start up something like a small class for extra lessons. What they were learning was not up to date, so that made me have interest,” Ms Valand said.
In 1981 her father passed on and two years later, because she needed to do something for her living, she opened a nursery school and named it Baba. She started with 2 children for two years in 1983.
“I never hurried my interests in starting school. I was patiently waiting until I had 6 pupils for nursery from the two I had, each class with 20 pupils. I employed two teachers per class,” Ms Valand said.
Because of the good quality of education she was offering, demand for enrollment at her school grew.
“I registered the school as a primary school in 1985. The first grade 7 was class was in 2001. My experience in children education grew stronger. I liked to read books and collect books for children,” she said
Because of her passion for a quality education at her school, Ms Valand now has over 180 pupils from Grade 1 to 7.
“I love quality in what I do and I love helping and adding value to people’s lives. Here at my school, I have three orphans who are learning free of charge. They are my late driver’s children. They are in grade 2, 3 and 5. He worked for me for five years and when he passed on, I felt they should continue learning at the school at no charge at all,” Ms Valand said.
Her school provides nursery, pre-grade and primary school education to pupils from around Lusaka.
“I started this school with no capital and I did not ask for sponsorship from anyone. My secret is from God and in giving. I have 27 employees, 13 are teachers the rest are supporting staff in maintenance of the school,” she said.
She says because of her commitment and dedication to what she wants to see the school become, the teachers too are dedicated to their work.
“Like last year’s grade 7 results, we recorded 836 as the highest and lowest 795. From the time we started, we have been recording 100 percent pass rate,” she said.
Writing is a difficult skill for young children to master, but for children enrolled at Baba, Ms Valand says they undergo intensive reading and writing lessons.
The future of any child can never look brighter without quality education says Ms Valand. “And we are glad to be in the forefront addressing concerns regarding quality of education in Zambia. We are doing this through several ways: by educating, innovating and implementing in the pupils enrolled at this school.”
According to Ms Valand, education has three main roles: personal, cultural and economic. “Education develops an individual’s talents and sensibilities, it deepens their understanding of the world and it provides the skills required to earn a living and be economically productive.