The Kimana Girls Secondary is a county school that has been struggling, over the years, to do better in national examinations.
With the advent of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the hitches brought about by the ministry of health protocols on all schools last year, the Kimana Girls performed fairly.
According to Principal Mary Kitum, the school put to maximum use the open period the form 4s were called back at the end of last year to be able to catch up with the syllabuses and revisions ahead of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination this year.
“This is a remote area where virtual learning cannot be dreamt of. While other schools, across the country, had contact with their teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic when the students were home, ours were in their villages. There is no internet in the remote villages,” said Kitum.
The school managed a mean of 4.000 (D+) in the last KCSE compared to 2019’s 4.009 (D+).
Looking at the school’s comparative table, the institution managed to eliminate an “E” in the last KCSE exams despite the many challenges that included pregnancies.
The leading KCSE student when the results were released had a B (Plain), and the school managed to take four of her students to the university.
The second student had a B- (Minus) and 2 (C+). The four will now join other progressive students in national universities across the country.
According to Kitum, the school receives average students to join form one each year, but parents from within the Kajiado South sub-county prefer sending their children to schools in Makueni and Machakos.
“The local parents have no confidence in the institution, and all the best students picked by the ministry of education to join form one in the school seek places in other schools. In the process, we end up picking those who performed dismally in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations,” says Kitum.
While the school is struggling with some of the best schools to take students to the university, it is evident that teachers at the institution work extra time to improve the students’ performance.
Despite all the challenges posed by the low-graded students taken in every year, Tum has a team of 24 devoted teachers, of course with a shortage of 8.
Although the school has this year introduced a new subject; Home Economics and Textile, the institution is still waiting for the Teachers’ Service Commission to post a subject teacher there.
Placed at position13 out of 29 county schools in the region in the 2020 KCSE examination, Kitum says she is, with her team of teachers, determined to beat all the odds and revitalise subsequent annual results.
“It is just a matter of understanding our students’ need, encouraging a reading culture in the school and bringing the students closer to the teachers – and all will work well,” said Kitum.
Although quite many students became pregnant, during the time they had been sent home over the Covid-19 breakout, the school has come up with an ambitious program to allow them to tend to their newborns before returning to pursue their dreams.
Kimana Girls is not the only one that had many of her students made pregnant during the period but the school falls in a sub-county with a high pregnancy rate in the region.
Lenkisim Division in Kajiado South sub-county has the highest early marriages and girl pregnancies in Kajiado county, according to local anti-FGM organisations operating in the south.
Kimana girls school is in a serene location, secure and with freshwater freely flowing down the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro.
“As teachers, we convince ourselves that the students we are teaching have no reason not to compete with those in the Alliance or Lenana because our syllabus are the same,” says Kitum.
With the support of the local community and a bit of trust from parents, Kitum says the school we will be able to take in average students who can be easily be improved to perform like those in the best schools.
There are 600 students in the school, mostly from the sub-county, and the number is rising every year.