Teso College Aloet, the mid eastern giant

Monday August 27 2012

The Teso College Aleot administration block. Photo by Richard Otim

The Teso College Aleot administration block. Photo by Richard Otim 

By Richard Otim

Teso College Aloet was established in 1954 to provide an all round education to every male youth who was able to join school.
Members of Teso Local Administration then had envisaged the school would enable the initiative to provide the sub region with the best education that it had for so long lacked.

“The elders who conceived the idea had a dream for the young men, to complete studies at Teso College Aloet when they are morally straight and ready to face adulthood challenges waiting for them in life after school,” State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Musa Ecweru, an old student of the college said.

Inspired by a vision to grow into a centre of excellence in the east for enhancement of educational opportunities for sustainable development, the school has continued to maintain the spirit to “serve and obey” in its students.

“Our forefathers had in mind a well groomed generation of young men in Teso who would go out ready to serve the country and obey the authority,” Teso College Aloet head teacher, Mr Sylvester Ocaatum told Education.

Renown among the old students of Teso College Aloet are the current Bank of Uganda Governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, former Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jeje Odongo, Soroti Municipality MP Capt. Mike Mukula and the Deputy Premier, Gen. Moses Ali.

An old boy of the school (1994-1996), Mr George Francis Ojangole, currently teaching at the school, said he owes what he is now to the values instilled in him while studying at Teso College Aloet.

“While at Teso College Aloet, I acquired leadership skills which have enabled me get through many challenges. The motto of the school - serve and obey- taught me how to carry out responsibilities with minimum supervision,” Mr Ojangole, currently a director of studies at the school, said.

“It is one of the boys’ schools in the region that has excelled in shaping future leaders. The school is science based and it is from here that most of the scientists from Teso were mentored,” Mr Ojangole said.

Many have continued to refer to the school as a flag post of Teso academic excellence but its inception traces back to the days when most of the boy students who qualified for secondary education with high grades had to travel all the way to far off schools like Ntare High School (Western), King’s College Budo and Namilyango College (Buganda) for the kind of prestigious educational background the affluent parents wanted for their children.

“Founders of the school embarked on a tedious task to mobilise the funds required for construction of a school. There was enough land but the money was not enough so we had to borrow some from our friends from the Bugisu Cooperative Union,” Teso College Aloet Board Chairperson, Mr Patrick Attan, said.
But during the 1986-1992 rebellion, Teso College Aloet plunged into a prolonged period of degeneration that caused it serious decline in academic performance.

Most teachers at the time fled to more secure parts of the country due to the insecurity leaving only a few who stayed to carry on with the teaching.

“It is during the insurgency that girls too were studying at Teso College Aloet. It was much more secure for them to be at the school than in any other part of the region where students who refused to join the rebels would be killed,” Mr Martin Okello, a former student, said.

He said Teso was very insecure to students whom the insurgents targeted for conscription into the rebellion forcing most of the girls’ secondary schools to close for fear of abduction.
The school has nine halls of residence for the students named after the late Cuthbert Joseph Obwangor, one of the founders, Epaku, the man who offered all the land the school is situated on and Engulu, one of the chiefs who championed mobilisation of funds to construct school. Teso College Aloet currently has a total enrollment of 1,600 students.

It is located on the 1,500 acres of land, and is graced with a fine environ, surrounded with a forest of 10,000 pine trees that the school has been able to raise with participation of the students and parents.

The other halls are named in memory of Engwau, a renown Judge hailing from Teso, Jones J.E, the first head teacher, Stephen Besweri Akabway, the first indigenous head teacher, Inyoin, former President of Kenya, Jommo Kenyatta and Patrice Lumumba, DR Congo prime minister.

However, despite numerous challenges tainting past record of excellence for Teso College, several other hurdles have not spared the academic giant huge costs of recovering.

“After relative peace returned to Teso in 1992, old students of the school embarked on a number of fundraising drives in a bid to help it reclaim the lost glory. We are happy the school is picking up again,” Former MP for Soroti County, Mr Sam Anyolo, said.

Since 2005, the school has churned out a total of 117 students, to public universities to study on government scholarships with most of them enrolling for science related disciplines, 16 in 2005, 18 in 2006, 19 in 2007, 19 in 2008, 22 in 2009 and 23 in 2010.

And now that the school is still faced with numerous challenges including lack of adequate accommodation for students and teachers, the call for increased support from government is what many who cherish the school continue to crave for.