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Determined girls realize dreams despite odds

The 100 percent transition from primary to secondary policy imposed by the Ministry of Education has bore fruits as evidenced in the just released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

Many teenage mothers and poor performers in the primary examination, performed well in the secondary education, giving hope to many learners with a disadvantaged background.

In Narok County, a number of teenage mothers, some of whom were forced to sit for the exam while breastfeeding, have scored good marks that will comfortably land them in public universities.

In the list of most improved candidates in the Country are two students from Olderkesi Secondary School, Narok West Sub-county, who were recognized by Cabinet Secretary (CS) of Education, Professor George Magoha, in his speech while announcing the year 2020 exam results.

The two are Charity Kipees from Oldekesi Primary school who scored a C+ (plus) grade despite having scored 151 marks in KCPE and Sadera Shalvin, attained a B- (Minus) although he scored 168 marks in KCPE.

When we visited Ms. Kipees at her home in Melili, Narok North Sub-county, she was all smiles that despite the bitter education journey she faced, she had emerged victorious.

Ms. Kipees sat for KCPE in the year 2016 but was forced to remain at home for one year because no secondary school was willing to accommodate her with such low marks.

“I was willing to continue with my secondary education but no secondary school could absorb me because of the low marks. This made me remain at home, as I helped my parents with their day-to-day activities,” she said.

Luckily, in a family gathering, one of the family members who was also a Board of Management (BOM) Committee member at Olderkesi Secondary School promised to secure her a chance at the school.

This meant that Ms. Kipees would travel about 200 kilometers from her home to the school that is located near the Kenya Tanzania border.

“Tears of joy freely flew my eyes as I joined high school one year after sitting for KCPE,” she said, adding that this motivated her to burn the midnight oil so that she could pass her exams.

Ms. Kipees who hails from Melili area in Narok North Sub-county said she received the good news that her name had been mentioned by the Cabinet Secretary through her uncle who called to congratulate her.

“I was confident I had done my best to pass the exam, but I did not expect to be named among the most improved students in the Country by the CS himself. This was very exciting and humbling,” she continued.

Another success story is of Ms. Susan Mpatian, a mother of three who managed to beat all odds to score a B-(minus) of 59 points.

Despite having been married-off at a tender age of 15 years back in the year 2017, she did not give up on her education because she was confident that she could score good grade that would earn her, her childhood passion of becoming a teacher.

Ms. Mpatian was admitted at Olderkesi Secondary School after she was expelled from Ole Tipis Girls School for falling pregnant while in form one.

But while in Olderkesi, she fell pregnant a second time, forcing her to remain at home for a whole year to tender her young children.

At home, her single mother forced her to get married as she concluded that she could not continue with her education despite the fact that she was a bright girl.

Nevertheless, she kept pressing her husband to give her a chance to go back to school so that she could achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. Her husband yielded to her cry and gave her a chance to go back to school.

The School Principal also gave her a chance to continue with her studies after she told him how she had a passion for becoming a teacher.

However, during the Covid-19 school closure period, Ms. Mpatian fell pregnant again and gave birth to her third born child.

This did not deter her from sitting for her exam where she scored a B- (minus) grade that will comfortably give her a chance of joining university to pursue the teaching profession.

She asked girls not to give up in education despite the hiccups they face as they too have a talent that can only be utilised if they gain education.

Olderkesi high school Principal Lemara Seno lauded the candidates for their good performance despite challenges like poor road networks to the school and lack of enough classrooms.

“We constantly kept encouraging the candidates, especially the girls, to keep them in school despite the challenges they face,” said Seno.

The School has admitted many students who had been rejected by other schools due to their poor performance in primary education and teenage pregnancies.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages, teenage pregnancies and Moranism are examples of challenges faced by the pastoralists’ community.

According to statistics from the Department of Health, 15, 542 teenage girls in Narok County became pregnant in the year 2020 when schools were closed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

By Ann Salaton

 

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