Optimism and fresh breath as schools re-open

By Odhiambo Orlale

Everyone has a story to tell and that is exactly what a cross section of students, teachers and girl-child experts interviewed by Reject after the two-month holiday have shared in this special report.

Most children said they were happy with the extra time to bond with their parents and relatives, to play, visit relatives and friends in urban and rural areas and also to meet and make new friends.

The best part for the students was that they had no pressure to wake up early, do homework and wear school uniform during the relaxed 60 days.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Lydia Achieng, a girl-child expert at Polycom Development, and Benson Adika, Kecoshep Deputy School Head Teacher, about the experiences over the long holiday and their way forward in 2023.

Polycom Development Adolescent Program Coordinator, Lydia Achieng

The two-month holiday had issues; some schoolgirls became idle and were taken advantage of and led to some cases of teenage pregnancies. We are still gathering the data to ascertain the number.

The hard-economic times for parents forced them to over stretch to raise school fees, buy uniform and support their children’s back to school activities. Most parents reached out for support from relatives, friends, donors, churches and their area Members of Parliament,  to use the Constituency Bursary Fund’s (CDF’s) bursary kitty.

The best part of the holiday was that the pupils, especially, the schoolgirls, had time to bond and have quality time with their parents and family.

Holiday highlights

But the holidays had a down side to it as some teachers and none teaching staff in private schools faced financial challenges as their employers were not ready to pay them full salary during the festive season.

Looking back, the post-Covid-19 period last year a survey showed that there was a rise in indiscipline cases due to the negative exposure schoolgirls faced during the lockdown, long closure of schools among others in different environment.

We received many reports of students who lost their parents and/or close relatives and friends to the pandemic which demoralized and disoriented them mentally leading to poor performance in their studies and examination.

As a girl-child expert, my view and hope for 2023 school calendar and way forward is that students will be able to have a syllabus coverage in time; they will be busy in school hence out of mischief; and that the students will get mentorship and bursaries to study freely to achieve their goals.

On implementation of the controversial Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) and Junior High School, I believe that we are not ready, the curriculum is too expensive for the parents and also the Government seems disorganised about it. We lack enough facilities and funding is a challenge.

Best Education CS Ever

Turning to the late Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof George Magoha, my best and worst memory, as an expert on girl child issues of is that he did a good job and ensured there was a 100% transitions to High School; the results for KCPE and KCSE were always released and announced in time to help parents and guardians to prepare for the transition.


Benson  Adika, Deputy Head Teacher, Kicoshep Primary School.

The long holiday brought a mixed reaction from Kicoshep parents, pupils, teachers and the community. Indeed, it was a sigh of relief to the hectic education calendar of 2022 which had stretched teachers beyond limits. 

For school heads, like me, it wasn’t easy as we still had to report to school and maintain the school environment. The Education Ministry officials visited and inspected our facilities to ensure we were prepared to host Junior Secondary School.

Our pupils reported that they enjoyed the long holiday and festive season and used it well to play, bond with both immediate and extended family members.

Some of our students said they had used the long holiday to acquire some new skills online in line with the Competency Based Curriculum ( CBC).  While others reported that they travelled upcountry where they learnt some agricultural skills and livestock husbandry, like how to milk cows and camels and/or slaughter chicken, sheep and goat and even how to skin the latter.

It was a sigh of relief when the CS Education announced the results of KCPE in mid-December, on eve of Christmas. This gave parents enough time to raise funds and make preparation for school fees and other requirements to join Form I.

For Kicoshep being one for great academic excellence centres in Nairobi County, the celebrations was short lived following the sudden demise of our Head Teacher, Euniah Kwamboka, who passed on after a short illness.

A sombre mood engulfed the whole community which hampered the start on the first term as teachers, pupils and parents came to terms with the loss. Otherwise, the long holiday gave us enough time to relax, reflect and re-energise ready for the 2023 calendar.

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