Malala Yousafzai, the impressive child activist said, ‘let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.’
Today I want to celebrate our excellent teaching team at the Fountains of Hope School and the impact they are having on our pupils in Kibera. As we start the new school year in Kenya, we have been looking back over our pupil’s progress in 2016. At the same time, we’ve been receiving KCPE results from pupils we support in local government primary schools.
A full primary school in Kenya offers Class One to Class Eight with children sitting their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in Class Eight. At Fountains of Hope, we are gradually adding a new class each year as our pupils grow. So in 2016, we had Class One to Class Six at Fountains of Hope while we continued to support older children in Class Seven and Eight in local government primary schools. The difference in their academic performance is stark.
At Turning Point, we are able to offer some support for students to continue their education in secondary school but we require that they score at least 250 in their KCPE results. If they don’t, they can opt to re-sit the exams or we explore options for vocational training with them.
Once again this year only 50% of the children who sat KCPE’s attained over 250 marks. Meanwhile 96% of students in Fountains of Hope school scored over 250 in their end of year exams. Some scored particularly high marks like Jane in Class 3 scored 471, Marion in Class 2 scored 460 and Duncan in the same class scored 456. So despite sharing the same backgrounds and home situations, children in Fountains of Hope are performing better in school than those in local government schools. Why?
At FoH, we limit class sizes to less than 25 pupils, our classes are well resourced with textbooks, our pupils get time to take a break from academics and enjoy arts, I.T., P.E. and discipleship classes. Our social workers and pastors provide extra support and counselling to pupils with problems at home. Every child receives breakfast and lunch every day. All of these factors contribute but I think one factor stands above the others – we have an excellent teaching team. Our teachers are interactive, they use their spare time to make visual aids for their classrooms, they get to know every individual. They are experienced, trained and have a desire to see FoH become a top performing school.
Thanks to the investment of our teachers, the pupils at FoH are not just receiving a basic education, they are not just learning to read and write. They have the opportunity to do their best and reach their full God-given potential.