KABALE – Kigezi College Butobere, affectionately known as “Siniya,” stands as a venerable institution in the Kigezi sub-region, boasting a rich history and a tradition of academic excellence.
In recent times, however, the school encountered challenges that threatened its esteemed standing and caused a decline in student enrollment. Yet, in the face of adversity, the passionate and devoted alumni rallied to safeguard the school’s existence and preserve its legacy.
Founded in January 1957 as the sole senior secondary school for boys in Kigezi, Kigezi College Butobere has evolved into a true academic giant in the country.
Despite its illustrious past, the school experienced a significant decline in standards a few years back, resulting in dwindling student numbers, with enrollment hitting a mere 100 students at one point. Fortunately, due to the efforts of the alumni and school management, the current enrollment has increased to 300 students.
To address the falling standards, suggestions were made to transform the school into a mixed-gender institution or to affiliate with a public university in the region. However, during the 66th celebration of Siniya Day, an annual event dedicated to commemorating the school’s existence, the alumni firmly asserted their commitment to preserve the school’s legacy and oppose any changes that could compromise it.
Dr. Nicholas Kamara, the Kabale Municipality Member of Parliament, spoke passionately about defending the school in case any proposal to merge it with a university or make it co-educational arises in parliament. He reassured the attendees that the alumni are prepared to support the school financially if the government fails to do so.
“Should anyone introduce such a suggestion in parliament, I will vehemently oppose it. If the government fails to support SINIYA, the existing alumni will rise to its defence against all odds. We are even prepared to fund it ourselves”. Dr Kamara Said.
Elvis Twenda, the chairperson of the Siniya Alumni Forum, revealed that the school had expected government-led renovations, but the project was later altered, and they were informed that the renovation would be carried out under a different initiative.
Despite the challenges faced, the parents of students at Kigezi College Butobere have continued to show unwavering trust in the school.
Justus Matsiko, the school’s headteacher, shared that they are working tirelessly to revive the school’s former glory despite the hurdles they encounter.
During the celebrations, David Bahati, the state minister for Trade Industries and Cooperatives, stood as the chief guest on behalf of the education Minister, Janet Kataaha Museveni. He reaffirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to renovating Kigezi College Butobere and other traditional schools across the country, emphasizing that this would be part of a larger comprehensive project.
Bahati acknowledged the challenges he observed during his visit to the school and assured attendees that he would promptly report these concerns to the relevant stakeholders to initiate necessary actions and find effective solutions.
Kigezi College Butobere has a proud history of producing influential figures who have made significant contributions to the country. Notable alumni include Henry Musasizi, State Minister for Finance; Amama Mbabazi, former Prime Minister; the late Prof Emmanuel Mutebile, former Governor of the Bank of Uganda; Dr. Shaka Ssali, Veteran Journalist; Rt. Rev. Nathan Rusengo Byamukama, Bishop of Cyangugu Diocese in the Republic of Rwanda; and Moses Turyomurugyendo Ntahobari, Director, Audit and Advisory Services at Shore Partners CPA, among others.
As the challenges are met with unwavering determination and the collective support of the alumni, parents, and government, Kigezi College Butobere is poised to reclaim its former glory and continue shaping the future of the region and the nation.
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