DIRECT TO SCHOOL
Kiwimbi Prep for Success Program
Kenya has recently changed its policy and now requires all students continue on to secondary (high) school. The mandatory Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam is now used to determine which school a student will attend. This test, given only in English rather than Swahili or the local ethnic language of the children’s homes, determines if students can advance to secondary school and the quality of school they may attend. The secondary school system is divided into levels: Sub-county, County, Extra-county and National. National schools compare favorably with excellent schools here in the US. Conversely, Sub-county schools may not even have the space to put all of their classes inside and when they do, they may have a teacher, a piece of chalk and a board with little else to accommodate 50, 100 or more students at a given grade level. A child’s placement on the national exam determines whether they are assigned to a National School, a Sub-county School or some school in-between.
Prep for Success is a direct-to-school program that combines school-time, after-school and camp programs to strengthen the academic skills of Grade 8 students with a focus on English and math. Kiwimbi utilizes teacher assistants and provides materials for students. Without teaching assistants, Kenyan teachers can face classes with 80 or more students. With Kiwimbi teaching assistants the classes can be broken into smaller, ability-based learning groups. The lunches we provide are another very important component of Kiwimbi’s Prep for Success Program. Besides insuring that these children have access to at least one nutritious meal a day, a key to learning, the lunch program eliminates the need for students to walk home, sometimes miles, midday for food. This ensures that the children have the time and energy needed to focus on their education.