A centennial of celebrations and humble beginnings; from 23 students to over 1600 today, with a teaching staff of 150 today down from 8 only; joy and homecoming as old boys of St. Henry’s College Kitovu from over the years turned up to boost the school, marking 100 years.
President Museveni, represented by the Vice President Jessica Alupo commissioned the 1.7bn Science Laboratory and laid a foundation stone for the construction of the centennial Education Centre.
In his remarks, read after holy mass that was presided over by Rt Rev Mathias Sekamanya, Bishop Emeritus of Lugazi diocese, President Museveni congratulated the school administration saying the day was a great milestone for the children and people of Uganda. He thanked the school leadership for channing out students of valor and influence whose contribution has shaped the positive outlook of the country.
Education, he asserted, “decreases poverty,reduces inequality and lowers crime rate”, adding that “the NRM’s mission is to enhance the pace of social economic development by implementing far reaching changes in the livelihoods of the people through transformation of the Ugandan economy and households”.
With the success story of the school, the President said he had no doubt that this school builds and grooms students ready to take on the different challenges in the world.
The President paid tribute to the founding missionary white fathers of the school, saying they share the vision of the NRM, to bring about social economic transformation.
“I appeal to all stakeholders in education to make sure that education is always relevant and captivating by celebrating diversity, promoting creativity and innovation and building a global outlook while fostering a sense of rootedness and belonging to our nation”, he added.
The President also said that education, should not only build the minds of the students, but also their hearts. “Our children must be taught the value of courage, honesty, generosity and selfless service”.
He made reference to the PDM, a Government of Uganda program which is geared to bringing more people into the money economy.
“PDM is an extension of the Government’s approach to development expansion of education including gender msinstreaming in education”. These, he said, are record of the Government’s passion.
Earlier, the Vice President encouraged all parents to take advantage of peace and security and take all children to school.
She thanked the Old Boys for growing the seed,equating it to the Biblical mustard seed.
“This infrastructure will benefit learners for the future”, she said, counselling the students to build themselves morally, avoid strikes, attesting to the remarks by the headmaster, that the school has never had a strike. “Violence is not a solution to solving any problems; but dialogue is”, the VP remarked.
The celebrations held under the theme “a century of bounteous harvest” saw several speakers hail the journey that makes St. Henry’s Kitovu one of the most sought after colleges in the country.
The headmaster Rev Brother Augustine Mugabo thanked the students and old boys for nurturing the seed planted by the white fathers 100 years ago. He acknowledged the vision of the catholic bishops to build a school of excellence.
He noted the contribution of the government in construction of the three storied Science lab which he said would boost teaching of science and innovation.
The headteacher clarified on recent reports that the school was going to admit girls saying that was inaccurate , he further added that education should be a tool to fight poverty ignorance and dignify people, and therefore, the school would be open to skilling its students as well as members of the community during the holidays. This, the head teacher said, was out of a duty to eradicate poverty in the community.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Ms. Ketty Lamoro pledged more support to the school such that the teaching of Sciences is continually affirmed as a Government policy.
“We are confident that with the laboratory in place, the school will continue to excel, especially in the teaching of science which is a strategic priority policy of the Government”, she said.
At the celebrations, a number of people were recognized, including Zawedde Margaret, a secretary who has been at the school since 1977 and is still serving.
Hundred of students and old boys from different years participated in the match parade.
Present at the function were the area MPs, political, religious and security leaders from the greater Masaka region.