Visit to Eburru Secondary
School: January 2016
visited Eburru Secondary School twice before, in 2012 for 8 weeks, and in 2013
for 5 weeks. I worked as a volunteer
English teacher in all classes. In the
meantime I had maintained contact with colleagues at the school, and was very
much aware of the problems they had faced, especially last year with the
teachers’ strike, and with rioting pupils.
In addition, there was a new principal who I did not know.
it was with some apprehension that I suggested that I could return, for a
shorter period, and hopefully assist him and other new members of staff.
the principal, Mr Peter Wanene, was most welcoming, and likewise the English
department, all of whom are new since my last visit. The pupils were predictably curious, not to
say fascinated, to have a visiting teacher from England, and as they gained in
confidence, they quizzed me about everything English: school, my house, my
family, daily life, football teams, religion.
has obviously changed since my last visit but I feel there are many positive
developments, and these are to be applauded.
The principal decided to separate the girls and boys, and to run almost
parallel schools. He said there was too
much distraction by having them together, so they are in separate classes
(which higher up the school means that the boys’ classes have over 50 pupils
and the girls’ less than 40) and they have separate lunch times. The girls’
dormitories have a live-in matron, whom the girls like, and the whole area is
fenced, with a gate which is locked at night.
There is an askari at the gatehouse at night. This is good, as security has been an issue
there. The boys still sleep in
dormitories off site, but there too there is improvement: they have
electricity, and water for washing, though drinking water still has to be
fetched from school. The boarding master
sleeps at the dorm, and keeps a pretty strict eye on things. This is a new departure: in the past, a
senior boy was in charge overnight.
there are more water storage tanks, and more drinking water taps. The cookhouse has a woodstore immediately
behind, and there is also water piped into the cooking area: before they
fetched it in canisters. Also there is a
drainage gully outside. They have a
hatch for serving meals, it all seems very efficiently organised.
has a full complement of staff who are in class on time, mark books, supervise
prep, run extra-curricular activities.
The pupils are well disciplined and during lesson time there is a quiet
and industrious atmosphere. I am told
that the troublemakers who caused many problems last year have left, and
although the KCSE results are not likely to be so good as a result of the havoc
and mayhem, I feel confident that they are progressing well and will regain the
ground they lost.
there are improvements which could be made, and I feel the top priority is a
boys’ dormitory on site. The compound is
large, and there is room to expand. It would be more secure, they would have
drinking water to hand, and more longdrop toilets (there are currently 3 by the
principal is looking to balance the number of boys and girls, and will admit 50
girls and 50 boys to Form 1. Some pupils
have transferred higher up the school, and he is looking to recruit there
too. The staff were very friendly and
helpful, and everyone asked me when I would return, and if I could stay for
longer, which is always a promising sign.
I think everyone is pulling together to get the school back on its feet
and I wish them every success in the future.
There is a
new Board of Governors, now known as a Board of Managers, with a young and
enthusiastic chairman who is a vet in Naivasha, keen to play an active part in
the community. Some of the old guard
have retired, and I think that their sterling work during difficult times
should be acknowledged: I am thinking in particular of David Morgan, who
encouraged me from the outset, and who has taken an active interest in Eburru Secondary
School for many years.
for logistical support go to Jennie and Ian Stoker, and Jan Strevens, without
whom none of this would have been possible.
Sturdy 8 Feb 2016