Frank Educational Center, started by Joseph Oballah as a community based organization, was built by volunteers in 2012. One of the challenges faced by the school is insufficient funds to build more classrooms. Currently, the only classes that do not share a room are Class Three and Four. Though the school is located on a small piece of land, there is room for expansion, including the option of converting the building into a storeyed structure. The school is leasing the land for KES 50,000 annually and has a two-year contract subject to renewal.
Classes start at 6:30 am and run till 6:30pm with four breaks in between, including an afternoon nap for the nursery school children. On a typical day, a teacher will start with common topics covered in the syllabus between the two classes sharing the room and while it is new material for the lower class, the upper class get an opportunity to revise what they previously learnt. Once the topic is explained exhaustively, the lower class will be given an exercise to undertake while the upper class is introduced to material in their syllabus.
Though the classrooms are not enough, there school does not have a shortage of teachers. All teachers are currently volunteers. They do get some compensation but this is dependent on the donations received in any given month. Most of the teachers are in college and pursue their education when the pupils break for holidays. It is worthy to note that Joseph, the school’s mathematics teacher, is the best performing subject in KCPE with a steady improvement since the school became operational.
80 per cent of the pupils in the school are orphaned and are either living with HIV/AIDS or have parents/relatives who do. The challenge that most of the children face is stigmatization and Joseph noted that this was a common problem in the community. It is his aim to ensure that, positive or not, children within the area are getting an education.
During our stop at the nursery class, Joseph pointed out two children he had found playing along a railway line in the area. Saddened that they were not in school, he took it upon himself to give them an education, free of charge, as is the case for most of the children attending the school. Though he had repeatedly asked to meet their guardian, this has never taken place. He once followed the children to their home in the hope of meeting the uncle the children claim to live with but upon arriving was told that he comes home very late in the night.
During our visit to the school, the nursery class had just experienced a measles outbreak and while most of the children had recovered, some of them were still at home nursing the illness.
The school does have a 5, 000 litre water tank with the water mostly used for cooking, drinking and hand washing. The school is however in need of a second water talk in order to collect more rain water and not have to purchase water during the dry season.
To ensure the safety of the pupils, the management insisted that they take all meals in the school to avoid accidents or any harm that may come to them on their way home. Because the school compound is not fenced, the teachers vigilantly watch the children to make sure they are safe. One guardian, Isaac Nkonja, acts as a security guard to protect the property at night.
Though Joseph plays his part in making sure that as many children as possible get an education, there is low enrolment of students into high school once they get their KCPE results. Most of the children stay in the village. He showed us a photo of one of his top performing students who was shot dead near Nakumatt Junction after being part of a robbery in Lavington Estate.
With the help of Gakii Biriri, two students who performed well in the national exam were enrolled in Moonlight Centre School, a secondary school that AHI is also partnering with. AHI has signed a contract with Frank Educational Center to be able to operate in the school and provide tools that will contribute to the improvement of the quality of education in the school.
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