St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, Makerere College School, King’s College Budo and Gayaza High School are ahead of the pack

Stable leadership has helped academically strong schools maintain a brilliant streak of performance at O-level over the last 10 years.

A snap survey conducted by The Observer on O-level results covering the last 10 years shows that St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, Makerere College School, King’s College Budo, Gayaza High School, and St. Henry’s College Kitovu, have maintained their prowess.

These schools have consistently emerged among the best performers because their head teachers have established and maintained high standards of management and administration, and such standards have been carried on by their successors.

Bro. Edward Bukenya is the brain behind St. Mary’s College Kisubi, while at the helm of Makerere College School is Agnes Sebayiga. Victoria Serunkuuma Kisarale who took over from Joy Male runs Gayaza High School.

Patrick Baka Male is the designated driver of the success at King’s College Budo, having taken over from George William Semivule. In some cases, like St. Mary’s College Kisubi and Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, the head is usually succeeded by a long-serving deputy or senior teacher.

According to the former head of the Education Inspectorate, Fagil Mandy, school heads are critical in determining how a school performs.

“I strongly hold that schools are what they are because of the school heads. The school is a system, which the head teacher oversees,” Mandy says.

He adds that these schools have succeeded because they are run on the basis of longstanding traditions that have proved to be effective.

“Sometimes a new head teacher comes in, finds a system that is fixed and all they ought to do is to adjust slightly and keep the standards,” he said.
Mandy maintains that head teachers should be given all the support they need by all stakeholders if their schools are to prosper. This includes teamwork, sufficient resources and infrastructure.

In cases where the school heads have moved on abruptly, the school standard has collapsed drastically. According to Mandy, schools run on systems and culture which the school head teacher must maintain.

Once the head teacher fails to maintain such a system or culture, the school loses its standing. He says this explains the general decline in the performance of schools like Namasagali College, Kyambogo College, Nabumali High School, Teso College Aloet and Tororo Girls, among others.

However, other schools have soldiered on despite the numerous changes in leadership, but their performance has not returned to the glory years of the early 2000s. These include Namilyango College, Trinity College Nabbingo, Maryhill High School, Ntare School, Mbarara High School, Kigezi College Butobere, Kibuli SS, Lubiri SS, Busoga College Mwiri and Kigezi High School. These schools have taken to remaining in the same class, just marginally off the top 20 schools in the country.

Then there is that class of schools that pop up once in a while and then disappear again, like St. Joseph’s Girls Nsambya, Gombe SS, St. Joseph’s SS Naggalama, Kawempe Muslim SS, Kiira College Butiki, St. Joseph’s College Ombachi, Jinja College, Iganga SS, Wanyange Girls School, and Christ the King Girls SS Kalisizo.

Others which sneak in and out are St. Joseph’s College Layibi, Bulo Parents Mpigi and Immaculate Heart Girls SS Nyakibale. Schools like Bweranyangi Girls, St. Maria Goretti SS Katende, Mityana SS and St. Peter’s Nsambya have all but ceased to appear on the list of the top 20 schools in the country over the last three years.

Up to 2002, old heavyweights like St. Joseph’s College Ombachi, Dr. Obote College Boroboro and Lango College were enjoying a revival in fortunes, along with St. Joseph’s Vocational School Mbarara.

Only Mengo SS has managed to continue its revival following the acquisition of the former head teacher of King’s College Budo, Samuel Busuulwa. He has since been succeeded by the former head teacher of Ndejje SS, George William Semivule.  

Mandy explains that school head teachers leave for different reasons. There are those that are transferred by the Ministry of Education as a way of streamlining good performance across the country.

He believes that the Ministry of Education is not clear about the criteria to be followed in transferring head teachers. Mandy says the ministry needs to look at the school system before changing the school head.

“How can you change me and take me to a school if I don’t understand the system there and whether it works or needs to be changed,” he asked.

Mandy, who is now into consultancy, says the ministry should choose the right person to be transferred to the right school.
“Until that is done, you’ll not provide remedies to schools that need to improve performance,” he counseled.

Then there are the head teachers who do well, and decide that they can start their own private school and thrive. This is the group of head teachers responsible for a new class of emerging schools that is seeking to join the established powerhouses.

These include the group of schools run as the St. Lawrence Schools and Colleges owned by former teacher, Lawrence Mukiibi. Others are St. Mary’s SS Kitende, which started showing promise in 2003, Seeta High School, Naalya SS, Seroma Christian High School, Merryland High School and Namirembe Hillside. 


Head teachers are not the only factors behind schools’ performance. Some schools attract average students at one level, say S.1, who go on to perform well at O-level and then opt for another school for their A-level, owing to their performance.

As a result, some schools perform better at A-level than at O-level and vice versa. The Commissioner for Secondary Education, Francis Agula, says performance is also influenced by facilities like staffing, instructional materials and the original input at recruitment.

He says certain schools recruit the brightest into S. 1 and that it would be naïve to expect such students not to excel at S.4. In fact, he observes, many times schools that don’t recruit the cream eventually do better, but releasing S.4 results without comparison with P.7 results hides that fact.



  1. Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, Mukono
  2. St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Wakiso
  3. St. Henry’s College Kitovu, Masaka
  4. Uganda Martyrs Namugongo, Wakiso
  5. Nabisunsa Girls’ School, Kampala
  6. Gayaza High School, Wakiso
  7. King’s College Budo, Wakiso
  8. Makerere College School, Kampala
  9. St. Mary’s SS Kitende, Wakiso
  10. Ntare School, Mbarara


  1. Iganga SS, Iganga
  2. Namilyango College, Mukono
  3. Trinity College Nabbingo, Wakiso
  4. Maryhill High School, Mbarara
  5. St. Paul’s Seminary, Kabale
  6. Kitabi Seminary, Bushenyi
  7. Kibuli SS, Kampala
  8. Kawempe Muslim, Kampala
  9. Masaka SS, Masaka
  10. Wanyange Girls SS, Jinja
  11. Mengo SS, Kampala
  12. Ndejje SS, Luweero
  13. St. Joseph’s Nsambya, Kampala
  14. Busoga College Mwiri, Jinja
  15. Mbarara High School, Mbarara
  16. Lango College, Lira
  17. Dr. Obote College Boroboro, Lira
  18. Christ the King SS Kalisizo, Rakai
  19. St. Joseph’s Naggalama, Mukono
  20. St. Joseph’s Vocational School, Mbarara


  1. St. Mary’s SS Kitende
  2. St. Maria Goretti SS Katende
  3. Merryland High School
  4. Seeta High School (Mukono Campus)
  5. Naalya SS
  6. Katikamu SDA SS, Luweero
  7. Seroma Christian High School, Mukono
  8. Namirembe Hillside, Kampala
  9. St. Lawrence School (Horizon Campus), Wakiso
  10. Lakeside SS Entebbe
  11. Valley College, Bushenyi
  12. Hamdan Girls School, Mbale
  13. Standard College, Ntungamo
  14. Mbuye Farm School, Rakai


  1. Nyakasura School, Kabarole
  2. Kyambogo College, Kampala
  3. Namasagali College, Kamuli
  4. Nabumali High School, Mbale
  5. Teso College Aloet, Soroti
  6. Tororo Girls SS, Tororo
  7. St. Charles Lwanga Kasasa, Masaka
  8. Sir Samuel Baker SS, Gulu
  9. Mityana SS, Mityana
  10. Kako SS, Masaka
  11. St. Edward’s Bukuumi, Kibaale
  12. Ibanda SS, Ibanda
  13. Bukedi College Kachonga, Butaleja.

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+3 #1 kimera mulagwe 2010-02-08 09:07
talemwa and mwesigye do u want to mean that Gombe ss is missing in all good perfoming schools in ug
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+2 #2 rigoberts m. mwesigwa 2010-02-08 12:43
the formmer headmaster, Dr. David Turyagumanawe should account for the declining performance. that is so unfortunate for our school, the giants of Bunyoro. M.R.M
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+1 #3 eddy and amir 2010-02-08 17:18
i don't know, but what were you basing on in writing this article? do you want to mean schools like makerere college, which has shown a very poor performance in the last three years is better than us?

can you imagine, no student from there in pharmacy class, one student, government medicine, and one student government radiology.they are not better
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+2 #4 eddy and amir 2010-02-08 17:20
for me i believe mengo is the best day school in uganda, and your results depict it. so all who want to be day scholars, join mengo, you will pass
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0 #5 drefromhome 2010-02-09 00:42
talemwa and mwesigye i don't understand ur u got ur numbers from but i for one think Namilyango college is among the top 10. i don't know which schools u went to but u can't compare that great school to Masaka Ss no offense
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0 #6 vick coolman kisenyi 2010-02-09 06:27
Hey,Talemwa and Mwesigye you mean St.joseph's ss Kakindu it does not among of 20 good O-level performance?or you're ranking according to your understanding.i dont know wat you consider to make your judgement of some schools?
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+1 #7 Owamazima Muhoozi Steve. 2010-02-09 09:54
Hey, Taremwa and mwesigye,
op al is gd, but am very disapponted wt u guys,
hw can u dare not mention of Old k'la sss one of the oldest city centre skools that have stood a taste of time and having very vibrant alumni inclusive H.E the president of ma Republic Rwanda
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0 #8 J. M 2010-02-09 19:36
I have been surprized by the village schools like St. Josephine Bakhita vocational Sec School in masaka mid is only five years but has excelled better than many traditional schools. Well done the techears of St. Josephine, keep up the spirit and students!
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0 #9 John Richard Kyankaaga 2010-02-09 19:43
With only five years of existence and considering the location of the school, I would like to congratulate the teachers and students of the above school for their brilliant perfomance in the 2009 UCE. Keep it up, and aim even higher!
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+1 #10 vickie 2010-02-10 08:44
No offense but lets be real Gayaza high school has greatly declined in the recent years i wonder how it got to that position are you using statistics of 10 years age when they used to perform well please review your data that information is not showing the true picture of whats on ground currently.

Please Maryhill HIgh school performs much better than Iganga SS
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0 #11 R.N. M 2010-02-10 11:06
you have not mentioned the other school in the corner.
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+1 #12 Ashiba 2010-02-10 15:39
You know better than me how old the OBSERVER is. But let the truth be told. Ever since you started publishing news about UNEB results, is there a year you have ever missed SEETA HIGH - (SEETA CAMPUS). Check your archives.

By the way, it was a top headline last year in one of your issues. SEETA HIGH TOPS MBARARA ADMISSIONS.

Your paper has been leading the way in terms of giving credible statistics on results don't spoil the name, do more research
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0 #13 s.c 2010-02-11 10:10
but also talk about young schools like mpigi mixed which has managed to get in the first positions in mpigi district.
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0 #14 s.c 2010-02-11 10:14
Thanks goes to S.t Bruno SSS Goli for that good performance,rea ly u have challenged the so called powerful and tradditional schools in Mpigi district.
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0 #15 doreen mbabazi 2010-02-11 10:51
great work guys, but how come u didnt mention kisubi seminary and then the other thing is, good schools that used to shine those days have gone bad and the blame goes to governmnent

they should be checking with the head teachers they post there, oh, what happened to bweranyangi, butobere, kigezi high, nyakasura,kyeba mbe,wanyange, st leos, muntuyera,mbara ra high, list is endless.
governmnet,do something.
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0 #16 matt kalemba 2010-02-11 12:13
Where is Kisubi Seminary? Its among the best ten. Where have u placed it?
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0 #17 Abulu Kenneth 2010-02-11 12:43
I do appreciate the much work that Kyambogo college is doing, but honestly reduce on the numbers of students that you admit to s.1 and s.5. this will help better your performance otherwise the teachers are good.
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0 #18 mm 2010-02-12 08:07
I think standard high zzana is the best and it should be in the best ten those who want to pass go to standard high zzana in both o and A level.
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0 #19 ludacris 2010-02-14 14:07
i think namilyango college sh'd be in the top admits a small number of students compared to those other schools that admit 500 students plus per year

so when the results come back its the small number of cream that was admitted that appears in the papers and when u compare it with those that admit 500 plus students,it seems like its perfomance is declining...ano ther thing is that other schools pay newspapers to publicise and exaggerate some of those results especially when the results come back...

while other perfoming schools like namilyango college and makerere college to mention but a few don't do i wonder how much writters are paid to do so.....
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