In a nutshell
Uganda Humanist Schools Trust was established in November 2008 as a charity to raise funds to support the efforts of Ugandan Humanists, who have founded schools which offer students the alternative of liberal secular-humanist education:
- Isaac Newton High School, Katera, Masaka – founded by Peter Kisirinya in 2005
- Mustard Seed School, Busota, Kamule – founded by Moses Kamya in 2007
- Kasese Humanist Primary School, Kasese – founded by Robert Bwambale in 2011
- Katumba Parents Humanist Primary School, Bundibugyo – founded by Katumba parents led by Juma Siriwayo in 2014
- Kanungu Humanist Primary School, Kanungu – founded by Robert Magara in 2017
Peter Kisirinya and Moses Kamya met as students at Makerere University, where they became founder members of the Uganda Humanist Association (UHASSO). In 2004 UHASSO, took the bold step of inviting the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to host a “Humanist Visions for Africa Conference” in Kampala. Discussions at this meeting provided the catalyst for the creation of pioneering schools, which embrace Humanist principles.
In November 2008, they took the further step of forming the Uganda Humanist Schools Association to foster collaboration between the schools. The Association, chaired by Peter Kisirinya, is dedicated to monitoring educational standards, sharing good practice, promoting professional development and pioneering a secular-humanist approach to schooling.
All schools teach the Uganda national curriculum and prepare students for public examinations. At the same time, they aim to develop self-confident students who care for each other and for their local communities. The schools encourage students to be open minded and questioning. They are taught to respect evidence and to appreciate the need for shared human values. In order to foster a spirit of understanding, students are introduced to both religious, as required by the national curriculum, and secular humanist life stances.
The schools aim to offer an effective, caring and distinctive learning environment for children in deprived rural areas, which respects:
- freedom of thought and expression;
- rational enquiry, science and the need to support argument with evidence;
- human rights, gender and racial equality, and the rights of individuals to choose their personal life stance;
- high levels of achievement and social responsibility.
Uganda Humanist Schools Trust raises funds to enable these hopes to be realised.