Primary, Secondary and Vocational Schools

Interaction with the Kenyan students was one of the great joys of the Hopewell student trips in 2007, 2010 and 2012. Despite the deprivations, they maintain a cheerful attitude and do the best with what they have. They see education as the way to move forward and take it very seriously, perhaps more seriously than American students do. In 2007, education was only free through 8th grade and then students had to pass an exam to move on to high school, and to pay fees of $300 and more to attend. As a result only 25% of students went on to high school. In 2008, the government made education free through 12th grade, although students still had to pass the exam. As a result, about 50% of students now attend high school and the schools are overcrowded as few new classrooms have been built for the increased intake.

Our favorite student and her well worn books

The primary and secondary schools have infrastructure needs (classrooms, labs, libraries, kitchens, bathrooms) that are beyond HKA’s current capabilities. For instance, Nyanchonori Secondary School requested assistance in building a 4-story wing at an estimated cost of  $130,000. In general the Kenyan government pays for teachers, books and supplies through 12th grade, with the community paying for buildings, desks, equipment, etc.

A very basic classroom

Education assistance therefore needs to be broken into manageable projects, completed in conjunction with the Kenyan schools’ Parent-Teacher Associations. For example:

  1. Complete the science labs in 2 of the 3 secondary schools with bench sinks, electricity and equipment (~$10,000 each). Mong’oni secondary school needs a new lab block at a cost of about $35,000, which can be considered a medium term goal.
  2. Provide additional water through gutters and tanks (see Water supply page).
  3. Develop computer labs when electricity is available. They need dedicated rooms, computers plus an optical connection (optical fiber has reached Keroka).
  4. Add classrooms (~$5000 each), possibly by finding classroom sponsors (with a plaque) from organizations in the Hopewell community. The primary schools requested 11 new rooms, plus refinishing of 6 rooms at an estimated cost of $74,000. This is a long-term goal.
  5. Desks – continue the current desk-plate selling project to build new desks.
  6. Reference books for libraries (text books are provided by the government).
  7. Provide funds for students who qualify for secondary school but cannot go for lack of money.
  8. Other support; posters for walls, sports uniforms for teams, calendars, etc.

St. Lukes Training College curriculum

There is also a need for post-primary vocational training for students who do not qualify for, or cannot afford to go to secondary school. St. Luke’s Universal Training College, which we visited in 2007, is an example of such a training facility. Currently they have 35 students (20 residential) enrolled but have applications from over 300. They have added two new classrooms since 2007 and would like to increase the dormitory capacity from 20 to 50 students and to grow the school to take 300. They need materials for their existing classrooms – secretarial, woodwork, masonry, mechanics, computer lab, tailoring, etc. which we could collect and ship or carry over. They are also looking to add more classrooms plus a kitchen and dining area.

An international standard of education should ensure that every child receives books, a desk, pencils, and school clothes.  The community of Hopewell Valley can help Keroka to realize these educational standards by providing them with the basic necessities.  The most powerful gift we can give is support for a solid education.

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- HKA, PO Box 67, Pennington, NJ 08534

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