Ssenyimba: Serve with passion, dedication

Luzira Secondary School’s Hormisdas Ssenyimba with donors and students. PHOTO | OWEN WAGABAZA

What you need to know:

  • With these practices, the school enrolment has since grown from 2,800 students in 2021 to 3,200 learners currently. 

Peter Hormisdas Ssenyimba started envisioning himself as a teacher while in Senior Two and a few years later, he was doing exactly that. He had started teaching. 

“While in Senior Two, I used to help my classmates with work, especially solving for them mathematical problems, and that in a way compelled me to consider teaching as a profession,” says Ssenyimba, who currently serves as the head teacher of Luzira Secondary School.

The high-flyer that he was, Ssenyimba’s dream profession had been engineering and education followed closely. 

“It was either of the two or nothing else,” says Ssenyimba. And after scoring 19 points at A-Level, Ssenyimba applied for engineering as the first choice and Education as the second choice. He was admitted to Makerere University on government sponsorship to pursue Education majoring in Mathematics and Economics. 

Despite not attaining his dream course, Ssenyimba, 45, says he thanked the Lord for having been given his ‘other dream course’. 

“It is a profession I had fallen in love with while helping my friends with complex mathematical problems. My guardians were also teachers and they inspired me, but worth noting, people say I am amiable and social that I felt would enable me to fit best in the teaching profession,” he says. 

Childhood challenges and luck

But, there was also the issue of funding. Having lost his father in his Senior Four, raising tuition had since been a challenge and there was no way he would turn down an opportunity to study on government sponsorship. 

“To complete Senior Four, my aunt stepped in. For A-Levels, my maternal aunt together with her dear husband took me in from Senior Five onwards. They took very good care of me that many people mistook them to be my parents. Nevertheless, I was not ready to bother them with funding my university education,” Ssenyimba remembers. 

While starting his course, Ssenyimba presented a wish to God, to teach at either Gayaza High School or King’s College Budo after his bachelor’s degree.  And the wish was granted. 

“By God’s grace, I did my teaching practice at King’s College Budo, and used this opportunity to exhibit my talents.  Then, I was retained.  I am thankful to the Lord for having granted my wish,” he recounts.

Growing through ranks
At Budo, Ssenyimba was all over the place, serving in different capacities and growing through the ranks; starting out as a furniture master, a class teacher and later a house master. He also worked as the examination master, and transport officer managing the school fleet. 

Other responsibilities included overseeing the coordination of visitors, manning the Uneb centre, chairperson housing committee where he was in charge of giving out houses to staff, as well as the in-charge of school uniforms where he ensured the smooth procurement and steady supply of school uniforms to the school.

Chance knocks

In 2008, Ssenyimba got the opportunity of participating in a full year teacher exchange programme in Norway. The programme is aimed at comparing the education systems of both countries and learning from each other where necessary,” he says. 

It was also during his stay in Norway that he discovered himself as a natural leader. 

“Whenever an opportunity to represent Africa arose, all eyes were on me and I ably did that,” he adds. 

When he returned to Uganda in 2010, Ssenyimba enrolled for a Master’s in Business Administration with aspirations of taking leadership responsibilities.

With a Master’s in the bag, Ssenyimba was in 2016, appointed acting deputy head teacher by the school until 2018 when he was substantively appointed deputy head teacher by the Ministry of Education and reposted to Budo.

During his time as a deputy head teacher, his boss, Mr Bakka Male became indisposed, forcing him to rise up to the task of performing duties of a head teacher. 

“I had to address the assembly week in week out, represent the head teacher in different meetings, chair staff meetings, convene board meetings among others, and this in a way helped me to grow in leadership,” he explains.

Posted to Luzira SS

After 18 years of serving in Budo, Ssenyimba was in December 2021 appointed a head teacher and posted to Luzira Secondary School which runs under the Universal secondary education system. 

“My immediate task was preparing for the reopening of schools that had been closed due to Covid-19. I had to engage the teachers in a lot of preparation, to receive back students who had been out of school for almost two years,” he says.

In his two and a half years at the helm of Luzira SS, Ssenyimba says his major focus has been on improving the learning environment for the learners and ensuring team work and a cordial working environment for the staff. 

Ms Susan Olyak, a deputy head teacher at Luzira SS, concurs that there has been improvement in the learning environment at the school through the repainting of all the classrooms, and ensuring that the compound is clean. 

“Mr Ssenyimba has also rehabilitated the school playground, and purchased a new school van last year to aid in the transportation of the learners,” says Olyak.

He has also heavily supported co-curricular activities with the school currently the reigning wood ball champions.  

“In 2023, our boys took the boys’ national trophy and girls were runners-up at the national championships. In 2022, both the boys and girls teams emerged champions at the national meet,” says Olyak. 


Other infrastructural achievements include the installation of a biometric attendance system to track students’ attendance and reduce absenteeism. As well as the improvement of the computer lab through the procurement of 20 brand new computers, as well as equipping the science laboratories with enough furniture. 

The school has also witnessed an improvement in the academic performance with the school registering 70 first grades in 2022, from the 55 that had been registered in 2021. In 2023, 108 candidates scored first grades. 

Ssenyimba attributes this to ensuring that basics are done well. 

“We make sure we do the basics well, notably teachers teaching the learners, marking the tests and exams and returning the results. We also have remedial lessons to boost candidate classes in syllabus coverage as well as administering short topical tests which helps learners to master the concepts, and where they have challenges, this gives us the opportunity to correct them in time.” 

Ssenyimba has also encouraged co-teaching where there is more than one teacher in a classroom at a time, to support, supplement and complement each other as teachers.  The school is also doing a lot of benchmarking with sister schools. 

“We have also tried to ensure discipline. Highly performing schools have zero tolerance to indiscipline,” says Ssenyimba. 

With these practices, the school enrolment has since grown from 2,800 students in 2021 to 3,200 learners currently. 

Ssenyimba however, decries the challenge of inadequate textbooks as well as government paid teachers commensurate to the student numbers.  

“We are a USE school with most of our learners coming from less privileged backgrounds, but determined to escape poverty through education. We therefore have huge students numbers but with few teachers from the government,” Ssenyimba explains.  

Mr Kavuma George William, a long serving teacher at the school, says Ssenyimba has introduced a culture of students loving and having attachment to their school. 

“We are slowly noticing that culture of belonging, where students do not feel ashamed, but rather speak with pride about their school,” Kavuma observes. 

Emulates others

Recognising the contribution of his predecessors, Ssenyimba says he is determined to add a brick in the building of the school just like his predecessors did. 

“We are riding under the principle of resilience at all times. Despite operating with meagre resources, we must reach the highest level of efficiency by getting the best out of whatever we do using the available minimal resources,” he says. 

He advises fellow teachers to be selfless and serve with passion and dedication, and always be of impact wherever they are. 

“Personally, I always endeavour to impact those that I interact with to become better than myself. This has propelled me to inspire and challenge my learners to realise the best out of themselves,” says Ssenyimba.