Bridging the Gap

The books from Libraries for Kids International couldn’t come at a better time in most rural schools in Kenya. All candidates in both primary and secondary schools just completed their Annual national exams for KCPE and KCSE, respectively, and the results are as expected. Urban schools out-performed rural schools. Why, you ask? Well, I was curious too and talked to several students who lamented the same thing, lack of adequate resources, mostly textbooks.

Jasmine

Jasmine is a class six student from Tala Township, an urban school, painted for me, a picture that students from Muamba in Mutomo and Kongoni in Maktau sub-counties and other rural schools wish could be available in their institutions.

This is her story:- “In our classes, every student has a textbook for each subject stored on the shelves at the back of the classroom. Every term, these books are counted from the storeroom, which is next to the teachers’ launch and distributed to all classrooms. We also have a computer room with about five to ten computers and students are allowed to go in and study during recess or after classes. The students that board at the institution get more time as they can access the facilities at night. I am a day-schooled, but we have a computer at home and my parents allow me to use it for class projects”.

Mutheu, a former candidate from Kyalilini, wishes she had a similar opportunity as it would have made a difference in her school and possibly, towards her score that could only secure her the chance to join a sub-county school within the neighborhood, Mutulukuni Secondary school. Although she is grateful, Mutheu narrates a story I’m too familiar with and a story she will continue to endure at the secondary level for four years if the situation doesn’t change soon. Three to five students share a textbook per subject, and not all books, for all the subjects, are available.

What would have changed if you had a textbook for every subject and could access it any time you wanted before you did your national examination last November?

The response from Mutheu: – If I had access to storybooks or novels, I would have scored better in my English and Kiswahili subjects. Don’t laugh, but we have all struggled with grammar and composition writing since class six. If I don’t understand how to construct a proper sentence, or write a narrative of 150 words, or get a chance to read more, how can my English or Kiswahili score be more than 30%?

If I had access to a textbook for every subject, I’d also have scored better in Mathematics, science, and social studies as I could have had more opportunities to practice and read ahead of the teacher every time. I did the best I could, but sharing textbooks with my classmates made it hard for me to keep up with the teacher and revise better. I could only get a few days after school with any of the available textbooks.

The assistance from Libraries for Kids International, especially when it comes to storybooks, novels, and relevant revision content for all subjects, will help students like Mutheu improve their scores and have similar opportunities just like Jasmine and others in the urban schools.

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