- Joshua Kuria, the head teacher of Kisauni primary school, is all smiles now after the school posted impressive performance in the 2019 KCPE.
- It is the first time in ages the school has produced top pupils with higher marks than those at traditional academic giants in Ganjoni primary and St Augustine’s preparatory schools.
The name Kisauni is almost synonymous with insecurity, drugs and juvenile criminal gangs in Mombasa county.
But the quest of one teacher to change that image is slowly bearing fruit.
Joshua Kuria, the head teacher at Kisauni Primary School, is all smiles after the institution posted impressive performance in the 2019 KCPE.
The school, for the first time in 15 years, produced two of the top students in Mombasa county.
Humphrey Otieno got 411 marks while Loise Loviance scored 410.
It was also the first time that the school produced top pupils with higher marks than those at traditional academic giants Ganjoni primary and St Augustine’s Preparatory schools.
Ganjoni’s top student got 399 marks while St Augustine’s top performer got 403 marks.
Tucked into the notorious neighbourhood of the larger Kisauni, where Wakali Kwanza juvenile criminal gang was once headquartered, Kisauni Primary School shares a compound with Mlaleo Primary School.
This is an area where a pupil in one of the neighbouring schools in 2013 stormed out of a classroom after a few strokes of the cane for indiscipline, only to return with a gang of about 10 gang members, who unleashed terror on the teacher. The teacher was thoroughly beaten.
The school had been one of the recruiting grounds for the Wakali Kwanza criminal juvenile gang.
It is located about 500 metres from the headquarters of the criminal juvenile gang. Most of the pupils who had lost hope in life dropped out of school to join the gang because of peer pressure.
“We are glad that we have been able to restore hope in these children. Now they value education,” Kuria said.
Kuria told the Star a different approach towards education has enabled Kisauni Primary School to change its performance.
“There is a change of attitude towards education from the parents. Our sensitisation programmes are paying off,” said Kuria.
Since joining the school as the head teacher in 2015, Kisauni primary has been posting improved performances year-on-year..
The teacher-parent relationship in the school is improving, Kuria said.
“Before, parents never used to bother about the performance of their children in school. They never attended school meetings and had no interest in their children’s performance,” said Kuria.
This was a perfect recipe for negative influences on the children, who would leave home for school but never get to school.
Since the parents never bothered, they never knew their children could miss up to a whole week of school.
With 237 candidates, Kisauni primary managed a mean score of 244. The lowest student had 135 marks.
Kuria said the Teachers Service Commission has played a big role in the performance of the school. “I have no shortage of teachers here,” he said.
The school has a pupil population of 1,700. Some classes have up to 100 pupils.
The school holds special life skills sessions for the pupils every Wednesday after classes.
It is these sessions that they use to stress on the importance of education. “Parents now value education. They are optimistic that there is a future for their children, unlike in the past,” Kuria said.
He said the political leadership of Nyali constituency, led by MP Mohammed Ali, also supports the school. “We use resource persons who we welcome about 2-3 times a term, so they can talk to our pupils. This helps give the pupils hope and encouragement,” Kuria said.