Learning in Rural Kenya

From William, Maktau Primary School in Taita Taveta

During my days in primary school, we used to have crowded classes of at least 40-60 pupils. This made us strain when using the available reading materials like textbooks and storybooks

I remember one day, one of the pupils in my class had an excellent storybook, and so most of us would all scramble for it to take a glimpse of it. So I finally got a chance to read a few pages before it was snatched from me by the owner as another friend of hers had asked for the book. I never had a chance to finish the story I had started reading. It made me not to bother finding some more storybooks as I was discouraged.

From Peter Huruma, Nairobi Slums
I grew up in an urban, but even then, living in a slum, the level of poverty in our family could not allow me to have my books. Though I cherished reading, access to books was quite challenging, and the only way to access literature materials one didn’t have was to walk a considerable distance pay 10 shillings in a public library. Though this worked for me, it was only a solution to them who had an extra coin to invest in gaining additional knowledge. The underprivileged would have to wait for teachers to dictate notes for them to write and read later.
I am grateful to an NGO, Micato Safaris, that saw the struggle and hunger for knowledge in our vicinity. They established a library accessible to all, and this was a relief because not only was it near, but also the resources were freely available.

Let’s say it was a haven for those who had an appetite for both primary and secondary school students.
Many have benefited from the library. If such facilities were populated in remote regions, a lot more would fulfill their academic dreams with ease. And this is my story.

From Samuel, Mutomo, Kitui county

Schooling in primary and secondary schools in rural areas is quite really a big challenge especially in regards to the availability of essential resources such as textbooks among others. I was in a class of 48 pupils in primary school. We had only five copies of The New Progressive Primary English to share amongst ourselves. In Mathematics, we had ten copies of Understanding Mathematics -textbook. In other subjects, we mainly relied on what the teachers taught in class. It was a struggle for us.

We used to share one book with five students. We could rotate the textbooks daily. The condition of the books was pathetic. Sometimes they used to get lost, and we would miss out on everything. After primary school, I joined a day-secondary school that was 9 km away from home. The school similarly lacked necessary lab equipment and did not even have a library. In a class of 56 without a textbook. I was relying on the content and notes given by the teachers. It was a struggle — difficulties in doing assignments and even research.

I share this, for I understand the need in wait faced by pupils and students in primary and secondary schools, respectively, especially in rural areas. Thank you.

From Dominic, Muranga county

We used to share one book with five students. We could rotate the textbooks daily. The condition of the books was pathetic. Sometimes they used to get lost, and we would miss out on everything.

Dictionaries were available only in the library, a room next to the staff room, with two shelves and some ancient books. While parents would be advised to provide the students in class four to eight with dictionaries and kamusi (Swahili dictionary), it hardly happened.  I can’t recall seeing a text for any other subject except English, Kiswahili, and Mathematics. Novels never existed.

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