Before 2012, many students who completed their primary or secondary school studies and performed poorly had no hope for a bright future. Opportunities to advance to the next level were based on merit, excellent performance, and the rich who could afford bridging programs. This spell doom for students in rural communities and to help every student get an equal opportunity despite their geographical location, the government urged the communities to establish a secondary school for every primary school so that the students that failed to secure opportunities to the national and county schools, could still get a chance to earn a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate which improves one’s possibility of secure even a blue-collar job in the contemporary times. What the government forgot to do or couldn’t do was facilitate the exercise country-wide and much less furnish these new institutions with resources.
Currently, almost every primary school in the rural setting has a corresponding secondary school close-by. The government has provided teachers, but performance in these institutions is weak. While some regions in rural settings are in better conditions, in the other areas, the students face life-threatening situations daily. For instance, students in Kyalilini and Kwamboo do not have to run away from hyenas or elephants on their ways to or from school like those in Katundu primary school in Mutha sub-county and Kongoni, Maktau, or Mwashoti in Taita Taveta county. Those in Shildley, Waaso, and Lambarah are faced with terrorists and bandits in addition to a few wildlife animals like poisonous snakes.
It is a norm for teachers and students alike to spend weeks hiding in the forest during such attacks in the neighbourhood as, despite the government’s best efforts, the communities remain in danger. But despite this, their thirst for knowledge is unshakable. In the next few weeks, I’ll be taking you on a virtual tour from the Coastal region, across the Eastern off to the North Eastern counties where we have managed to identify rural schools in need of your help. Stay tuned.