President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday, March 16 attended Mang’u High School’s prizing giving day, an event graced by top notch leaders in the country.
The National School, which was founded in 1925, is renowned for producing high profile individuals including Third President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki, the late Tom Mboya, the late George Saitoti, the late Cardinal Otunga, the late John Michuki, former Attorney General James B. Karugu, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, former Nation Media Group CEO Wilfred Kiboro, Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri among other successful individuals in different fields.
Some of these personalities left the school over 70 years ago, a good example being Moody Awori who has in many instances made appearances during luxurious events – Mang’u High School Golf Tournament – organized by the school’s alumni association.
Despite the School boasting of hundreds or maybe thousands of prominent personalities in the country, the President went ahead to promise a 72-seater luxurious bus, as if not enough, the head of state gave in to the school’s request to renovate its infrastructure estimated to cost Sh140 million.
The school had requested the head of state to facilitate development of a perimeter wall, two science laboratory blocks, a dormitory block with a capacity of 800 students, a fully equipped computer laboratory and four abolition blocks.
President Kenyatta promised that the government will finance the infrastructure in two financial years.
While the fact that funding our institutions of learning can’t be overlooked, it begs the question, was is it really necessary?
To put the matter into context, thousands of schools in the country lack convenient means of transport. Needless to say, thousands of students in these institutions learn under deplorable conditions.
Some of these students only hear of science laboratories. And if they’re lucky, they get to use ‘borrowed’ science apparatus during their final national examinations.
Besides science laboratories, basic amenities in these schools such as toilets are a big problem.
In July last year, public health officials closed a school in Igembe South in Meru county over lack of toilets.
Igembe South health director, Ntoitha Baimirongo, closed Athimba Primary School over claims that pupils had been forced to relieve themselves in nearby maize and miraa farms.
The school represents thousands of institutions affected across the country, but the pupils are still expected to excel in class.
Leaders have often focused on high-end institutions forgetting so called ‘small schools’. Most of these poverty stricken institutions are found in slams and rural areas.
To make matters worse, some of these areas are inaccessible, either because the regions are not well funded or funds meant to drive the infrastructure agenda are embezzled before the projects see light of day.