Bridge pupils shine as they take up places in national schools
Competition for spaces in national schools in Kenya has been higher this year than before. Only 8,091 candidates in the 2020 KCPE scored more than 400 marks. These were given priority in the selection to national schools which have a capacity of about 30,000. With only 103 national schools in the country, the competition has been real.
Yet, due to the strong foundations set by teachers across their academies, Bridge graduates were able to go head to head with their national counterparts, with 58 of them getting selected to join top national schools.
Chrispo Morara was the best performing Bridge pupil in the 2020 KCPE with a score of 413 marks. He has been selected to join Alliance High School. The school was the first school in Kenya to offer secondary school education to Africans. It is situated in Kikuyu, about 22 kilometers from Nairobi’s central business district. It is among the best performing high schools in the country academically, ranked amongst the top 10 positions every year. Alliance High School holds the country record for most consecutive years holding the pole position in the national exams. Every year, over 98% of the school’s graduates get admission to universities in Kenya and abroad.
It’s not just Chrispo who will have a lot to live up to. Bunyore Girls High School, a girls’ national school in Vihiga county, will be the destination for highflying graduate Kimberly Betty. Priding itself on academic excellence, Kimberly will undoubtedly be able to go from strength-to-strength. Bunyore Girls’ High School produced the second best overall female student in the country in 2007. It had a mean score of 9.68 in 2014 and 8.01 in 2018. The school produced the only A in the county in 2016.
This marks an ongoing trend which has seen Bridge graduates from underserved communities take up places at some of the best recognized and most prestigious secondary schools in Kenya. This year more Bridge pupils will take up the mantle with 58 pupils selected to join national schools, and over 400 selected to join extra county schools.
The journey of pupils from underserved communities into strong secondary schools is important for not only the immediacy of the opportunity and advantages that it gives the individual children and their families. Over time it is important because it will start to shift the prosperity of communities that have stuck in a cycle of poverty for decades with no way out.
The journey that thousands of children have taken from a successful primary foundation into secondary school looks set to continue. Bridge Kenya pupils performed exceptionally well in the 2020 KCPE, more than 20 points above the national average. Bridge pupils were disproportionately present among the top ranks and disproportionately absent from the lower ranks.
Across Kenya, many children would have a far greater opportunity to attend a high-achieving secondary school if they had the foundations in place from a primary level. Pupils such as Chrispo and Kimberly have done incredibly well to get into Alliance High School and Bunyore Girls’ High School respectively, but not everyone is as fortunate. We must strive to narrow the equity gap for all children in Kenya, so that everybody has an equal opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality.