Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute is a young Institution, but at the same time, is an old Institution, which was started far back in the 18th century by Daniel Comboni. His followers, that is, the Comboni Missionaries carried on his activities and up to today they are still continuing with what he had started. Back in1876, the missionaries of Comboni in Sudan –Geref, near Khartoum and Malbes, near El Obeid, started what could be called the first Technical schools in the immediate Sub-Sahara. The aim of course, was to produce responsible citizens (communities) with a good Christian foundation and “teach all trades that may help the indigenous people for a better life”.
From that time onwards, down to the fifties- 1950s, Missionaries continued to open and run small (rural) Technical Schools wherever they reached……Wau…Juba….Omach….. near Pakwach – what is known as Pakuba and, of course, Gulu
After the Second World War, missionaries, on returning from the field, intensified their efforts in education. A farm school was soon started, together with the school of printing, a school for carpenters and mechanics with its renowned garage. But soon they thought it was time to upgrade a few of their rural Technical schools and they did this by opening two senior Technical Schools – which they ran for over twenty (20) and (10) years respectively. These were Ombachi – Arua and Layibi- Gulu.
However, this didn’t live forever. Soon other forces took over and they found themselves fighting against a one hundred- (100) year old tradition. That is, fighting against policy of closing down Technical School in favour of Senior Secondary school. So in the early sixties (62 – 64), St. Joseph’s Technical School became St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School.
About 20 years later – (1983), together with the Local and Ordinary Authorities, they were again in the forefront of trying to establish senior Technical Schools called Colleges by now, (UTC) at Ombachi and Layibi. Again, the projects vanished in thin air;- but they did not give up.
In 1993, the Comboni Missionaries, after a long consideration and thought, decided to go in it again. But this time, all alone, though, always following the Ministry of Education policies and programmes. This was made possible by the generosity of all the Comboni Missionaries residing in Uganda and the encouragement given to them, first by the Gulu Authorities- Religious, Educational, and Political by the Ministry of Education in Kampala.
This Institute was then established in 1995 as a private school with the primary aim of catering for:
- (a) Comboni Aspirants who want to become Missionary brothers. That is, Comboni Missionary students capable, in due course, to teach others.
- (b) External students, outside the Comboni Missionary Education Environment. That is to have a substantial intake from the general Public – country wide. The proprietor felt from that this would allow the Ugandan population at large to take advantage of the same Institute. In this way, it is hoped to contribute positively and practically to the development of Uganda.days, weeks, or even months at a time
The Institute – like a mustard seed- had a very humble beginning under the supervision of Bro. Artusso Pasqualino with only 10 students (postulants) in February 1995. At that time, workshops and classes had not yet been completed. Lessons were conducted under a huge tree, which is still found in the compound of the postulancy.
The official opening comes three years later when almost all necessary structures are in place, competent instructors available, the required numbers of students per class have been reached and the Institute was officially recognized by the Ministry of Education.