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Mombasa informal schools give slum children hope

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[Leads school community celebrating the victory of their best student Solomon Chimera who scored 404 marks. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Pupils living in informal settlements of Aldina and Mikindani in Jomvu Sub County, Mombasa County have beaten all odds to excel in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).

Tucked into the heart of the densely populated Aldina slums in Jomvu Sub County, LEADS School provides a ray of hope that illuminates the otherwise bleak future of the children.

The school is only a beacon of hope in education both primary and secondary to about 20,000 families living in Aldina slums.

LEADS School outperformed itself in the 2020 KCPE exams, the results sending the neighboring informal settlers into frenzy. “Excellence,” says their motto, and that is exactly what it is providing for the pupils.

According to the school’s Managing director, Elizabeth Nafula, the school had a mean score of 372 marks out of 68 candidates. The school improved on its performance in the 2019 KCPE in which it managed a mean score of 368 out of 60 candidates. However, the number of candidates with 400 marks and above dropped from 15 in 2019 to eight in 2020.

Covid-19

The school director said despite the Covid-19 challenges where the schools were closed her pupils performed because the school community worked hard to make sure they recover the lost time and also provided guidance and counseling lessons to the pupils.

Solomon Chimerah, 14, was the best performing pupil at the school with 404 marks. Admirably speaking in fluent English, a confident Chimerah, who aspires to continue chasing his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon and his dream is to join Alliance Boys high school, said he would have performed even better had Covid-19 not disrupted education in the country.

Hope

In Mikindani Ward informal settlement lays two primary schools which cater education to about 57,000 families.

St Irene’s nursery and primary school a Catholic Church-sponsored school was able to produce 3 pupils with 400 marks and above with the highest scoring 418 marks while second and third pupils with 404 and 403 marks respectively.

The school’s head teacher Sister Ruth Mwongeli said it was hard to get the pupils back to the learning mode because parents did not allow their children to get back to school fearing there might be massive Covid-19 infections.

“We had to have several sessions of guidance and counseling because the candidates were so fearful at first that immediately they resumed classes,” said Mwongeli.

[St Irene’s nursery and primary school a Catholic Church-sponsored school celebrating their best students who scored 418 marks. Photo/Ahmed Omar]. 

Amani Primary School, a government owned public school adjacent to St Irene’s nursery and primary school, was able to produce students scoring more than 400 marks.

According to the class eight Head teacher Mr Richard Nduva the school’s best two pupils scored 406 and 403 marks respectively.

He said the school had 244 candidates who sat for the exam. “Generally the performance of the school is good compared to 2019, we thought probably the effects the Corona would affect our performance but we thank God this time our results have been very good and this we attribute to cooperation between teachers, parents and learners is good ,” said Richard.