Overcrowding, poor facilities threaten to grind school to a halt
Friends school, Teremi Boys High School, the school with the highest transition of 312 candidates joining university in Bungoma county in the recently released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, needs an urgent facelift to match its academic prowess.
The Extra-County ranked school that came fourth in ranking in the county topped both Friends School Kamusinga and Lugulu Girls High School, both national schools, by registering more students that will be transitioning to university in the recently released KCSE exams results.
Friends School Kamusinga posted a mean score of 9.6 with 288 students getting a C+ (plus) and above while Lugulu Girls got a mean of 8.25 and a transition to university of 296 students.
Teremi posted a mean score of 7.08 with 527 candidates, but the school has nothing to show of in terms of infrastructure compared to other schools apart from academic excellence.
With a population of more than 2, 2000 students sharing old and dilapidated dormitories, the school is also sitting on a time bomb during this Covid-19 pandemic period .
The overstretched facilities are a disaster in waiting to students if no action will be taken to build new classrooms, dormitories, laboratories, libraries and dinning hall to accommodate the large population of students
Congested classes and dorms
Students and parents who spoke to Scholar said the old dormitories have cracks, leaking roofs and are congested.
The dormitories generally are in bad shape, in this rainy season, classroom roofs are letting in rain water, and our dinning hall that can only accommodate 750 students for lunch is used by all the 2,000 students at ago,” said a subordinate staff who did not want to be named.
The school’s good academic performance have seen it attract students following the government’s 100 per cent transition policy.
Although the school principal Benard Wamanga could not deny or admit these claims, he was quoted in a local publication recently saying they were considering the proposal by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to have parents contribute funds for infrastructure development.
Scholar has established that the school that sits on a three and a half-acre land has only three laboratories, yet it needs more than six large laboratories for practicals in science subjects.
“The 12 old dormitories, three laboratories, a small administration block, a library and a dining hall were all built in the late 80s and early ‘90s to carter for a maximum of 1,000 students.
The school Alumni Association is demanding that student’s welfare in their once prestigious school be improved to boost morale and enhance the school’s performance in national examinations.
The old boys’ chairman Eng Boniface Munyole says a recent audit done by the Ministry of Education ranked the school as having poor infrastructure that needs urgent attention compared to other extra-county schools within the county.
“You cannot even compare this school’s infrastructure to St Lukes Kimilili Boys, Namwela Boys High School and Butonge High schools infrastructure, which are ranked as extra county schools too,” said Munyole.
Eng Munyole, who sat for his KCSE examination in the famous school in 1989 as the first ever batch of candidates says that the Friends Church sponsored learning institution’s image is shameful, considering that the school is ranked as an extra county school.
“I call upon the school management to involve old boys directly in efforts to improve the school infrastructure, which is a shame to the whole county and a disaster in waiting,’’ he said.
Despite the fact that Teremi Boys is an academic giant in Western Kenya, Eng Munyole cited that the gate alone, which should act as a mirror of the school gives it a bad image.
“If we can come together as a team to support our old school in improving infrastructure, the school will automatically post better results in subsequent exams,” he said, noting that the alumni association is already working on mobilising old boys to construct a new gate for the school.
Fred Wanjala, a parent who has a student in the school in Form Three asked the county governmet to build a modern dormitory to accomodate more students.
“Governor Wycliffe Wangamati promised to build a class and a dormitory in every top performing schools in Bungoma.
Let him begin with Teremi Boys as other leaders join him in improving infrastracture’’ said Wanjala.
Appeal for community support
He complained that the school has been squeezing students in classes and hostels, and now it has exceeded stretching capaciy.
Cognisant of the fact that education is a national government function, the association insisted that the county government can address some of the problems in the school, such as poor drainage of the institution’s field and compound.
They also called on former alumni of the school who hold top positions in the government, public and even private sector to help the institution get into better shape.
Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula, an old boy at the school is one of the top government officials that have registered as a member of the association.
He said the other objective of the association is to network and find placement for students after school apart from helping the management fix the poor image of the school.
“We help students get placement in good colleges, Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions,” he said, appealed to the community around the school, Board of Management (BoM), teachers, non-teaching staff and education stakeholders to continue supporting the school to continue posting impressive results.