School in Kilifi giving second chance to school dropouts


The newly constructed Gede Mixed Secondary School by the Kilifi North NG-CDF. The school has become a rescue for dropouts in the area. 

Photo credit: Maureen Ongala| Nation Media Group

For a region that often hits the headlines over teenage pregnancies that lead to school dropouts, a new public secondary school in Kilifi with a vision of offering free education has come as a saviour to many.

On February 9 this year, Kilifi North Member of Parliament Owen Baya officially opened the Gede Mixed Secondary School in Maghangani village in the remote areas of Watamu Ward whose construction was funded by the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

By early March, the school had admitted 415 students who consisted of 70 in Form Two and 315 in Form One.

Ten out of the 315 Form Ones had scored 300 marks and above in their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams but failed to join national schools for lack of school fees. The top student had 385 marks.

Mr Baya revealed that many children in Gede did not transition to Form One after their KCPE examinations.

According to the legislator, most children from the region who fail to join secondary school become beach boys, curios sellers or fishermen to earn an income.

Others, he said end up becoming drug addicts, while girls engage in commercial sex, leading to early pregnancies.

Many families in the area are poor without the capability of financing their children’s education.

“Having a school in this area is giving hope to the community because many children walk in the morning to the beaches and this is where their live are made miserable.

"Even so, children from this area who have gone to school properly have succeeded and that is why I am confident that if I invest in education here, I will uplift the livelihood of the community,” he said.

At the school, students are allowed in class with their former primary school uniforms and parents are given time to get the official ones.

TheNation found some of the students barefooted with home clothes.

The nearest secondary schools in the vicinity are Gede Secondary School which is a boys school, and Ngala Memorial Secondary School, a boarding school that many poor students cannot afford.

The school has attracted students from Madunguni, Magumoni, and Jacaranda, the furthest villages in Watamu, and the Kaloleni sub-County.

Ms Christine Salama, a widow, said the school was a saviour that offers relief to women from the burden of school fees.

“Men have run away from their responsibilities and women are carrying the burden,” she said.

The mother of seven said she could not afford school fees for her three children in secondary school since the money she gets from her construction work was not enough.

She said sometimes it was hard to find jobs and has to stay without any income for days.

Another parent, Ms Zainab Idd, said she could not afford school fees for his two sons since she was nursing her sick husband.

The School Principal Stephen Katana said the school has offered equal opportunity for both boys and girls to access education with ease.