Isaac Newton High School succeeds against the odds
Uganda Humanist Schools Trust has just published an update report on the past year of progress at Isaac Newton School, Katera, Uganda. Despite the setbacks brought by the Covid Pandemic, the report is truly inspiring.
For a school in a poor rural area, this year’s exam results were outstanding. In the O-level exams, 21 students gained an aggregate of Grade 1 (a level attained by only 6% of students in Uganda). In national league tables the school ranked 143rd out of 4,123 school in Uganda. Grades in science were so high that the Exam Board insisted on the students being given a supplementary oral exam, which confirmed the high attainment levels shown by the exam marks.
A-level performance was even better. 92% of Isaac Newton students gained the university entrance level and no single candidate recorded a fail grade. Sadly, fears of Covid have closed all schools and universities since March, so their best cohort yet have not been able to progress to university or to vocational colleges.
Peter Kisirinya, the school’s Director, writes of the huge beneficial impact that the school is having on the rural economy. The school provides direct employment to 52 people in the area, with a further hundred jobs being supported indirectly.
The transformation in local production and living standards brought about by the school is enormous. This is evident as you come into the area, where houses have been rebuilt and modernised and people are wearing better clothes and have more goods available to them. Extending electricity has attracted new families to the area. New houses have been constructed and the local market is busier. Maize and coffee processing factories have been built. A modern poultry farm with 90,000 birds has been attracted and this employs 33 youths. Roads are now regularly maintained by local government because the area generates the taxes to cover the costs.
Once we get through the Covid crisis, the school is confident will be able to get back to the high standards of education and welfare that they were attaining before the shutdown and they will continue to transform the life chances of many young people in rural Uganda.