Standing Akimbo: The Story of Kimbo Primary School

Oct 16

Standing Akimbo: The Story of Kimbo Primary School

The launch of free primary education in 2003 for pupils in public primary schools came as big relief for many parents across the country.

Before this, we had thousands of children who couldn’t access primary education due lack of requisite school fees and ability to buy school materials like uniform, books, pens etc. While parents appreciated the initiative by the government, it soon turned out that the increased pupil population was laying a lot of pressure on the existing resources thereby watering down the quality of education; children are attending school but are not learning.

Located in Turasha location in Kipipiri Constituency, Nyandarua County, Kimbo Primary School was built in 1998 with only class 1 and 2 for the humble start. It’s been 17 years since the first block of classrooms was constructed and the school is now a fully-fledged public primary school admitting all pupils from class one all the way to class eight. The current enrollment stands at 133 pupils with a total of 8 teachers; five teachers employed by the government through the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and three teachers employed by the Parents Teachers Association (PTA).

Kimbo Primary School, was the first project undertaken by the Foundation under its educational support programme. Kimbo, just like thousands of other primary schools elsewhere in the country faced myriad challenges including dilapidated facilities, poor performance, shortage of teachers, and inadequate classrooms among many others. Although the school is located in Nyandarua County which is fairly populous, the pupil enrollment has been going down due to the challenges it faces.

To turn its fortune around and make it competitive, the Foundation, led by the Founder initiated a series of activities partnering with various local stakeholders namely the school administration, County Education Officials, and the area’s legislative representatives.

We began by introducing the excellence programme that aimed at improving the performance of the school. The programme was a two pronged approach that sought to bolster performance of both teachers and pupils. We therefore introduced the ‘Njoroge Muchiri Award for Teaching Excellence’ and ‘Njoroge Muchiri Award for Pupil Excellence’. The programme involved awarding teachers as well as the pupils for posting sterling performance. The students and teachers received varying monetary rewards and gifts. For schools, the leading school was being awarded a monetary reward of Ksh.20,000 and the most improved school would get Ksh.10.000. Over and above the rewards, all the class 8 candidates were being given examination materials including geometrical sets, clip boards and stationeries.

Concurrent to the excellence programme, we also embarked on improving the existing school facilities which were then dilapidated and building of new classrooms to cater for the increased pupil population. These initiatives have since rekindled hope and interest in the school with a promise of a better future. The learning environment has been significantly improved and the pupils can now learn comfortably. Kimbo Primary School has had its performance improve from bottom position to number one in the entire expansive location.

In 2013, they had a mean score of 183.17 in KCPE up to 245.02 in 2014 which also made them the most improved school in the location in addition to being the best. “The performance of other classes has also improved with marks coming down from 161 marks to over 220 marks on average”, remarked Mr. Ngaruka, the school’s headmaster. The pupils who previously could not speak fluent English can now converse confidently in queen’s language. All this was achieved within one year of commencement of the education support programme for the school.

Further, in ensuring that Kimbo Primary remains self-reliant in line with our core value of sustainable programmes, we established a Poultry Farming business to be run by the school with the proceeds from the income generating project to be used in paying PTA teachers and hopefully finance building of an administration block and two additional classrooms in future.

Looking back from humble beginnings, Kimbo Primary School now stands akimbo, glowing with energy and a promise of a brighter future for the children from the surrounding community. As a Foundation, it is our aspiration and commitment to replicate such success achieved at Kimbo Primary School in other schools facing similar challenges so that they too can be able to move on and be the best!

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