Unity High School (Sudan)

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Unity High School
Enrollment750 (approx.)

Unity High School, founded in 1928, but with roots going back to 1902, is an independent school in Khartoum, Sudan, which uses the English language and provides a British-style education to children from 4 to 18 years of age. In 2005, it had an enrollment of some 750 pupils. It had Mrs Stephanie King as a vice principal from the year 2008 onwards, the director of the School was Mr Robert Boulos and the principal was Richard Woods. Unity High is situated in the centre of Khartoum.


The school was found in 1902 as an all-girls school and was originally called the Unity High School for Girls.[1] In the preceding years, the Coptic community in Khartoum had established a boys' school but lacked the resources to found a girls' school. Some Coptic families then approached the Anglican missionary Llwellyn Gwynne (who later became Bishop of Khartoum) for help and the Coptic Girls School was opened in 1902 but changed its name to the Church Missionary Society Khartoum Girls School in 1903.[2] In 1928 the Church Missionary Society school closed and the land reverted to Bishop Gwynne who with the support of four local Christian communities[1] and the financial help of Christian merchants, then opened the Unity High School for Girls.

Unity High School became co-educational in 1985.[2]

Teddy bear blasphemy case[edit]

On 25 November 2007 the school came to international attention when one of its teachers was arrested by Sudanese authorities for allegedly insulting Islam by allowing the children in her class to name a teddy bear "Muhammad".[3][4]

The school was closed until January 2008 for the safety of pupils and staff as reprisals were feared.[5]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Angela Isaac and Khalda Zahir graduated from the Unity High School in 1946 and that year Angela became the first Sudanese girl to enter university (University of Khartoum). Khaida entered university in 1947 and graduated as the first Sudanese woman doctor in 1952.[6][7] Fatima Talib was the first Sudanese woman to get a degree from the University of London and pioneered the Sudanese Womans movement.[7][8] Another Unity High School graduate, Takwi Sirskisian, was the first female Sudanese journalist[7] and published a monthly magazine for women called "Bint Alwady" (The Valley Daughter).[9] Meena Alexander, an internationally acclaimed poet, scholar, and writer, graduated from the Unity High School in 1964.[10]


  1. ^ a b Wheeler, Jack, Editor (1949) Unity High School for Girls Khartoum 1928-1949 Retrieved 19 August 2012
  2. ^ a b Unity High School, Khartoum Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue, Reference code: GB-0033- SAD, 1902-1991, Retrieved 20 August 2012
  3. ^ "'Muhammad' teddy teacher arrested". BBC. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  4. ^ Rob Crilly in Khartoum and Lucy Bannerman (2007-11-27). "Sudan police throw teacher in jail for teddy bear named Muhammad". The Times. Retrieved 2007-11-28. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ "Teddy bear teacher found guilty". Daily News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  6. ^ Zahir, Amir and Caron Khalda Zahir of Almorada Village Unity High School, Khartoum, Archives, Retrieved 19 August 2012
  7. ^ a b c Kashif, Haga A Precise Biography of the Pioneers of the Sudanese Women Movement Retrieved 19 August 2012
  8. ^ Al Amin, Nafisa Ahmed; Magied, Ahmed Abdel (1 June 2001) A history of Sudanese women organizations and the strive for liberation and empowerment Ahfad University for Women Journal, Retrieved 19 August 2012
  9. ^ Suleman, Asha (2013-05-31). "Book Review: Dr. Bakhita Amin's "Women Journalism in the Sudan." Publisher: Al Hayah Aljadeeda, Khartoum. Language: Arabic/ English". SudaNow. Sudan News Agency. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
  10. ^ "Alexander, Meena - Contemporary Poets". Encyclopedia.com. Thomson Learning. 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-29.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°36′02″N 32°31′46″E / 15.60056°N 32.52944°E / 15.60056; 32.52944