For those who think dropping out of school is the end of life, Chief Jacob Mutiga has a very different story.
Mutiga, the Chief for Anjuki Location in Tigania Central Sub County dropped out of school in form one at Chogoria Boys owing to lack of school fees back in 1990.
Being the youngest KCPE candidate at Mikinduri Primary School in the 1989 group, Mutiga scored a total of 475 marks out of the possible 700.
He could only return to complete his secondary school education in 2008 after being in the cold for 18 year due to lack of school fee .
“My greatest desire when I rejoined school was to just secure a certificate and not about the grades,” says Mutiga who lauds the introduction of Day Secondary Schools in the Meru region that time.
He remembered a day while in Nairobi he came across an advertisement for a vacancy as a toilet cleaner. This made his heart burn with the desire to go back to school.
“I was challenged since the minimum qualification for the post was D in KCSE which I did not have even if I wished not to look for such a job. This is when I started imagining how useless I would be without a form four certificate,” he recalls.
With this burning desire, he went to St. Massimo Mixed Day Secondary School and requested for admission for him to complete his education but the principal looked at his age and body size and asked him to produce Sh.28,000 as fees owing to his age.
“I did not lose hope despite being unable to raise required amount. I opted for another day school where the deputy principal was astonished and asked whether I was requesting for a chance for my son to study in the school,” he recalls.
After intense consultation among the staff at Mucuune Mixed Secondary, Mutiga was given a chance to join the school in form three the following day.
“I arrived in the school at 5.00am ready to begin my classes. The headteacher a Mr. Karau found me within the compound reading with a candle. The Principal was touched and became my greatest motivator,” says the chief.
Mutiga says the principal who was a Kiswahili teacher got touched and even bought him two Kiswahili set books: Utengano and Kifo Kisimani.
He adds that on the same day he was appointed the school headboy and with time the school allowed him to have a phone within the school.
Despite being out of school for over a decade, Mutiga emerged top in the first tests since joining the school and remained the top student till he sat his final KCSE exams in 2009.
He says “form one and form two work was so hard” and used to give him a headache although to his surprise he scored an aggregate of B-.
Mutiga says he was the best candidate from the day schools around the region.
It seems his star had started glowing bright because in 2010 August, a post of a chief for Anjuki Location was announced and he applied having met the minimum grade of a C+ and the 35 years and above age requirement.
“The contest was tight since there were many applicants but I emerged the best. In 2011 August I was appointed the Chief for Anjuki Location a position I still hold to date,” he states amid sighs of joy.
Since he had seen the benefits of education, Mutiga would not want to leave any opportunity go to waste. The following year he used his first salary to enroll for a bachelor’s degree in development studies at Mount Kenya University.
He graduated in 2015 and he is planning to enroll for his masters soon.
Mutiga was born in 1975 at Anjilo village, Anjuki location then in Tigania East Sub-County of Meru County.
Being the third born in the family of eight children, he says he used to cry wanting to go to school but his age would not allow. He would follow her older sister to school because the school was only 400m from home.
The teachers later admitted him in standard one term two at Mikinduri primary. At the end of that term he was among the last two pupils in the exams but at the end of third term he had mastered lessons and emerged position two in their class during the third term exam.
Chief Mutiga remembers working as an attendant at a miti ni dawa joint for period of two year in Mikinduri market in 1995. He found the work a bit challenging. He later joined one Seventh Day Adventist preacher in evangelism work.
Chief Mutiga never regrets the time he spent before completing his education since he believes that is how his life had been planned.
“It was a bit challenging being a father at the same time a student. I would not sometimes carry on with my homework because of family commitments but I made it,” he states thanking his wife for standing by him that time.
By Mwiti Harrison/Richard Muhambe