Ugenya High: Smalltime Siaya school that sent whole class of 174 to university

Clement Nyang’acha

Ugenya High School Principal Clement Nyang’acha on May 6, 2022 as he displayed some of the trophies that the school has won. The school attained 100 per cent transition to university after all the candidates scored a C+ and above in the 2021 KCSE exam.

Photo credit: Kassim Adinasi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • With 174 candidates, the school had a mean grade of 9.05, with the least candidate scoring C+, the threshold for joining university in Kenya.
  • Due to its good performance, the school was recently elevated to the level of a county school from the initial sub-county status.

Ugenya High School, an 11-year-old institution in Siaya County, had every candidate attain the minimum university entry grade in the 2021 KCSE examination.

Interestingly, at some point last year, some of Ugenya’s candidates had spent a week at Kapsabet High School – the top school nationally in the 2021 exam that had only one C+ as the lowest grade – to learn how the boys in Kapsabet conduct their studies.

On a visit to Ugenya High on Friday, Lifestyle was informed that self-discipline and teamwork among the teachers and non-teaching staff were the secrets behind the good results.

The school is among the few public secondary schools that managed to attain a 100 per cent transition to university. With 174 candidates, it had a mean grade of 9.05, with the least candidate scoring C+, the threshold for joining university in Kenya.

Due to its good performance, the school was recently elevated to the level of a county school from the initial sub-county status.

Mr Clement Nyang’acha, the school’s chief principal, said the idea of 100 percent transition was instilled in the minds of the candidates immediately they got enrolled for KCSE exams.

“The school provided T-shirts to all the candidates. They had writings ‘mean score 9.0 and 100 percent transition’. 

This went a long way in ensuring the learners owned the target that the school had set. Every time, we reminded them to believe in themselves and work towards the target,” said Mr Nyang’acha.

Teachers worked collectively to ensure that the syllabi were completed on time to allow the learners enough time for revision of the past papers.

The school also managed to take the candidates to different schools on exchange programmes.

“We managed to visit Maranda High School and Kapsabet Boys and we learnt for one week what they were doing differently that made them excel. Teachers also went for exchange programmes and we got lessons that helped us bridge the gap between us and them,” said the chief principal.

Education experts and motivational speakers also added to the success of the little-known school that was established in 2011.

When the learners were out of school at the height of the pandemic, teachers ensured they got notes and tests through phones and learning continued virtually.

“Teachers would send notes to the students through phones and learning went on. When the schools reopened, things went on well and we discovered that most of the students had covered syllabi on their own,” noted Mr Nyang’acha.

There were, however, few extreme cases of indiscipline among the learners; some bad apples that the school administration had to deal with to streamline things.

“We discovered that some students were into drugs, especially bhang, and we engaged the security organs and the parents to discipline them. There was a time some attempted to torch the school facilities. Some were discontinued,” he added.

The school is currently strained with a huge number of students. The management is thinking hard about the ways of ensuring the students are accommodated.

“We are converting our bus shade into a classroom because our classrooms are full. We have to accommodate all the learners because we cannot send them away,” said Mr Nyang’acha.

The school has received an award for being the best performing school in Siaya County in the category of the county schools this year.

Other than academics, Mr Nyanga’cha said, the students also excel in sports.

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