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Saturday, 01 Jul 2017 18:19 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
A recently-founded private school in Wajir Town, the Al-Amin Integrated Academy, is already setting the pace for its peers and attracting students on a scale never before witnessed in the region. Having been opened only in January 2015, the school has now reached Standard 5 and has 216 pupils (101 girls and 115 boys).
The school, which currently employs eight teachers and four Muslim sheiks, has a rigorous academic and extracurricular programme that gives its students all-round education. Its physical facilities have been praised by education officials as setting the module for upcoming institutions. According to school manager Mr Adan Sokar, the school has a strict code of conduct the pupils have to abide by which promotes their personal responsibility ahead of academic work.
"As part of our rules, every child must report to school by 6am in the morning," he said, explaining that requirements of normal Islamic life including observation of prayer hours are inbuilt in the school programmes. He said after the normal lessons, the teachers conduct two remedial classes for upper classes.
Among the physical facilities in the school are seven classrooms, a staff room, and one office for management. The school has a borehole in the compound that pipes water to the entire school, promoting sanitation and good health. It also has a school van for transport.
Given that the area is dry and not served by a municipal sewerage system, the school has piped water to all key installations and gives high priority to personal hygiene. There are also eight toilets for use by students, four each for boys and girls. "These facilities have made the school child friendly," said the manager.
Another provision for which the school has been praised is its growing forest cover. It has trees that provide sheds for students during the warmer days. Its forestation programme has indeed been replicated by some institutions and homesteads in the region. To meet the needs of disabled members, all facilities have made provisions for wheel chairs and other special needs. It has sufficient classroom facilities such as desks and books.
The school's main entrance.
Mr John Mwasy is the current school principal, and he told this writer about the high expectations have for the school and their current upper classes. "We have to compete with big schools in future. We are trying to ensure that all our students are computer literate, and we will introduce French language teachings. Our goal is to produce the best students from the county when we do KCPE," he said.
According to the principal, all the classes have high mean scores, "which is a clear indication that we will reach our target when will do our first KCPE in 2020." The academy provides lessons in: Quran, Arabic, Towhid, Fiq, and Sira, while its extracurricular activities include the Debating club and Quranic competition.
Part of the school compound, showing its developing tree cover.
The school manager Mr Sokor who is a senior teacher in Wajir County, and he told this writer about the need for parents here to educate their daughters since there were more fewer girls than boys in school in the region. "In the current world, education is the key to prosperity in life," he said, explaining increased competition for jobs and opportunities in the country.
The manager said that where parents cooperate with the teachers, its automatic the child will do well in school. "We have different challenges in the county like parental ignorance, poverty, lack of cooperation between the teachers and the parent, lack of time awareness and many other issues around which school administrators should try to advocate in order to improve education standards in Wajir. We as a school are doing that."
He also said that pupils should be exposed to different testing methods early in life, hence their provision of three exam papers per term: i.e, the opener, midterm and final exams. The manager praised the support of the school board of management which he said was composed of highly qualified individuals.
The school BOG members include Hassan Bush, an agricultural expert, educationists Loge Amin, Ahmed Yussuf, Nasir Abdi, Ms Hawa, and Ms Fatuma Yussuf, a nominated MCA in the Wajir County Assembly. "They are the backbone of the school, bringing an unparalelled vision for the growth of the institution," the manager said.
Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County