Located about two kilometers from Jinja City centre, on Rubaga Hill in Jinja City Southern Division, Jinja College is one of the very few traditional schools that continue to post outstanding performances in both academics and co- curricular activities. This year 2023, the school celebrates platinum jubilee.

Before Uganda gained independence, education was managed by missionaries belonging to different denominations. These were majorly the Roman Catholics and the Protestant. The catholic missionaries came under different groups which included, the Comboni Missionaries, the White Fathers and Mill Hill missionaries. They hailed from Britain and established schools in the Upper Nile region. Among the secondary schools that were established by the Mill Hill include; Namilyango College, Tororo College and Budini College.  Bishop Reesinck, received a letter from Sydney Farmer in 1944 that the future of Busoga education and the one catholic secondary school they had there, was in the balance. An immediate decision had to be taken to either change the site of the college or make repairs to the buildings, with the hope that after the Second World War, the whole compound might be rebuilt. He thought that Busoga should have a full secondary school comparable to Namilyango or the Tororo Colleges. He also thought that Budini, as it stood, could not do it. Some long-term plans needed to be made.

A few days later, Farmer reported on the site suggested by Dr Berneett for the new college, on Bugembe Hill, about mile – four on the Iganga- Jinja road. It was a plateau on a hilltop at a height of about 300 feet with some ten acres. The official opinion at Jinja was favourable about the place. In July, Farmer received a cheque for the cost of repairs at Budini and so he abandoned hope of moving the college somewhere else. In 1945 the Jinja site was vetoed by the administration under Mr. Auseley, probably due to opposition by the agricultural department. On 11th April 1946, Bishops Reesinck, Minderop and Billington went to Jinja to look at the sisters’ building. This was at the site occupied by the school today. The proposal was to transfer Budini College to Jinja after the holidays. One government official said that he did not believe Jinja was the right spot for a secondary school. Ressenck thought that there was practically no work for the sisters at Jinja and their school was only ‘half alive’. The sisters agreed to the change and a financial settlement for their convent buildings was made. On 15th April, the bishop told Francis Mc Gough to begin the new term at Jinja. Fr. Francis Mc Gough, Delaney – first chaplain and Br. Lawrence, started the new junior school. They had taught at Namilyango College before.

78 students were transferred from Budini to Jinja. According to Mzee Wandira, father to former vice president Dr. Specioza Kazibwe, and one of the pioneer students, education at the time was highly denominational and most schools were single sex. The curriculum offered at the school was Cambridge. It included commercial and science subjects. After primary, a student had to study three years in the junior level and after proceeded to secondary. Jinja College students had only two options: joining Namilyango or the Tororo Colleges.

These are Head teachers who have run Jinja College:

1. Fr. Francis Mc Gough (1946 – 1955);

2. Fr. Delaney (1955- 1965);

3. Fr. Joseph Jones (1965- 1975);

4. Boniface Kategano (1975- 1984);

5. Paul Oguti Bichachi (1984- 1996);

6. Anthony Oryema – Ag HT (1996);

7. Ignatious Iisat (1997- 2001);

8. Br. Joseph Kawuki (2001- 2013; and

9. Isabirye Mathias (2013- To date)

A note in the Jinja archives announced that Jinja College under Fr. Delaney and Budini Junior Secondary School were taken over by the government on the 1st January 1964. Between 1965 and 1975, Joseph Jones was headmaster of Jinja College, an ordinary level secondary school, and Francis Vesper, Br. Lawrence, Fr. Kiggen, and Fr. Dean were on the staff. Joseph Jones recalled that following the Iddi Amin coup, the college had ‘much trouble from the army, our next door neigbours on the hill. After 1971 the trouble was spasmodic. From 1973 onwards, the college had an entirely African staff. The college is under the stewardship of St. Joseph. Other saints include six Uganda Martrys named after dormitories. These include Kizito, Muggaga, Lwanga, Kaggwa, Mulumba and Gonzaga.

From the time of inception through the 80’s and part of the 90’s; football and athletics were the major sports activities at the college. Indoor games and more outdoor games like, chess, table tennis, ludo, basketball, volleyball, rugby and cricket were introduced in the 90’s by the headmaster then, Mr. Iisat Ignatious. He had been at Namilyango College as a teacher for twelve years. The college has through the decades been a powerhouse of many sportsmen. The biggest rivalry in sports especially in football, in 1950’s was with Busoga College Mwiri. The rivalry extended to Jinja Secondary school in the later years. In 2019, the college hosted the National Copa Coca Cola Championship. This year, it was one of the teams that competed in the inaugural FUFA TV cup comprising only traditional secondary schools in the country. John Mukubira, an old boy and former 30 administrator at the college attributes this strong history and foundation of soccer at the college to Fr. Joseph Jones. He used to spot and sponsor talented boys in football. He acknowledged that the Priest had great love for the sports.

The school chess team has also been crowned national champions four times. Many call this the game of the brains and such quality can only be traced to this holy hill. It is therefore not surprising that the current president of the Uganda Chess Federation, Mr. Mwaka Emmanuel went through Jinja College. John Wamulo Stephen, an Associate of Institute of Chattered Bankers and shareholder in Barclays Bank – London, says the college opened for them opportunities to practice public speaking. ‘We used to have elocutions competitions.’ This has not ended; many Collegians have continued to excel as debaters; no wonder, the number of parliamentarians keeps spiraling.

The school has also been a good source of powerful creative writers. Don Wanyama, Daniel Kalinaki, Tom Magumaba, Habasa Ronald, and many others great writers attribute their career development to the JICO classroom and out of class experiences. The college has been a power house of excellent academic performance throughout the seven decades. The list of successful academicians attached to the institution is endless. These collegians have shone in the various capacities they have served. So many doctors, engineers, accountants, and others professional have been to the hill.

Currently, the following Chief Executive Officers are old boys.

Mr. Sam Mwanda, Uganda Wild Life Authority,

Don Wanyama- Vision Group,

Dr. Anthony Tabu Munyala (PhD) Head of East African Fisheries Organisation,

Eng Wilson Ojambo. Head of Aeronautics, Entebbe International Airport,

Dr. Wilfred Opio – Pharmacist, Head of Saharan Africa Ethypham.

Members of Parliament

1. Hon Frank Kagigyi Tumwebaze: Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries;

2. Eng Moses Magogo: FUFA Presisdent, Budiope East – Buyende;  

3. Eng. Richard Sebamala:  MP Bokoto Central,  Masaka;

4. Hon. Muwuma Milton:  Kigulu South, Iganga;

5. Hon Nyangweso Denis:  Samia Bugwe Central,  Busia; and

6. Hon Harry Kasigwa: Jinja  West.

Guild presidents who went  through the college

1. Kata Ivan Timothy (MUK  2012/13);

2. Bala David (MUK2015/16);

3. Papa Were Salim (MUK  2018/19);

4. Ntende Julius (MUBS  2018/19); 5. Byansi Henry (Nkumba  University 2018/19);

6.Mutebe Edrine Precious (Jinja  School of Nursing 2022/23)

Other Old boys (VIPs)

1. Hon Justice Duncan  Gaswaga, High Court  judge;

2. Prof. Wasswa Balunywa –  Principal MUBS;

3. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda  – Makerere University;

4. Prof. Moses Joloba- College  of Health Sciences, MUK;

5. Prof. Sserugunda Jonathan[1]College of Computer  Science, MUK;

6. Dr. Wagogo George- PhD  – Lecturer – Sports Science  Kyambogo University;

7. Dr. Barasa Benard – PhD  – Head of Geography:  Kyambogo University;

8. Mr. Ngobi Felix. Human  Resource Officer –  Kyambogo University; 9. Dr. Oundo Christoher.  Head of Infectious Diseases  Section KCCA; 10. Dr. Dyogo Nantamu –  Director of Health Services,  Jinja City Council;

11. Mr. Baliraine Moses DEO  – Jinja District;

12. Dr. Yunus Masaba;

13. Mr. Isaac Isanga Musumba;

14. John Steven Wamulo  – Associate of Institute  of Chattered Bankers[1]London.

15. Mr. Wandira – Father to  former Vice President of  Uganda (Wandira Kazibwe)


1. Fr. Delaney

2. Fr. Benedict Kiiza

3. Fr. Mubiru Peter

4. Fr. Kiwanuka

5. Fr. Muyanja Stephen

6. Fr. Mawerere Denis

Jinja College will continue to  excel in word and deeds as the  Lord wills, Amen.