Lecturer Cosmas No Child Should Drop out of School For Lack of Fees
Lecturer Cosmas Kimanzi from School of Management and Commerce (SMC) says hardwork, commitment, and a desire to see children progress in life were the main source of drive towards the Kitui County School project initiated in 2010. The Accounting and Finance lecturer at Strathmore University has been heavily involved with the progress of a new secondary school Kalanga Secondary School, which is a community based high school set up to help needy students from the community to get secondary education.
Cosmas is a father of an 8 year old boy and a 4 year old girl, who together with his wife, have offered tremendous support towards the progression of this school project.
Kalanga Secondary Initiation
This school was built in an effort to cub the poor transition rate of students from primary to secondary schools, poor girl child education and rampant school drop outs due to lack of school fees.
With this in mind the community came together and formed a committee, headed by myself with a mandate of coming up with a low cost day secondary school that offers education for the local and neighboring communities
Through the help of the local CDF in 2010, classes and a laboratory were built for form one to form four students which was completed in 2011. In the same year (2011) the community called for a fundraiser to raise funds for building washrooms and a kitchen for the school; these facilities were a requirement by the Ministry of Education before registering the school and admitting new students.
In 2012, the washrooms were built and the kitchen, although the kitchen was not big enough according to the Ministry of Education standards. After much pleading, the ministry allowed us to open the school in 2013 but gave us 6 months to build a bigger and better structure. My wife and I felt the need to fund this project and as a result my family committed up to 60% of our funds towards building a better structure which we did and completed in 2014.
When did students join?
First intake of form ones came in 2013, with about 30 students joining. The school fees for each term was and still remains to be Kshs. 6,000 which some parents pay in three installments. Currently the total student population is one hundred and ten.
Although they did not have a teacher from the ministry in the first year, by law, the school was allowed to run with the head of a local primary school appointed by the ministry until a teacher was provided. The local head teacher helped to run the school for a year before the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) provided a principal for the school in 2014
How did you sort out the needed facilities?
We did not have lab equipments and proper facilities for the laboratory, unfortunately. Therefore, the committee requested their local contacts from neighboring schools to donate lab equipments such as test tubes, stands etc. which they did. The school management committee then collected their funds and bought lab chemicals and other consumables. To cater for the furniture, the community contributed some amount of money which was enough to build proper lab tables, chairs and sinks for the practical lessons for science subjects.
This year, 2015, a major fundraiser was conducted to build a new administration block for the teachers which is now almost complete. It is an exciting phase for the teachers because previously, they were sitting in one of the classrooms intended for the form four students who will transition into it next year.
What does the future hold for the school?
2016 will see the beginning of a form four class with students preparing to sit for the national examinations KCSE at the end of the year. This is a big step for us as a school, because our fruits of hardwork and commitment should finally show in the results of the students.
The school is also focusing on providing quality education and produce all round students who can be of help to the local community and the nation at large. We are still trying to lobby TSC to give us more teachers. Right now we have a lot of teachers who are on attachment teaching the students, who are therefore not very consistent.
Cosmas was elected as the chairman of the board of management of this school where he has served for the past five years. His desire is to see the expansion of this school; through getting a dining hall, and a bigger playing ground; providing good quality education to the students noting that top students in the county also pick Kalanga Secondary to undertake their high school studies; he also desires to see students from neighboring towns bring their students to the school for excellent education.
Do you still get needy students with the subsidized costs?
Yes we do. My wife and I adopted two needy students who needed further assistance in paying their school fees. We have many more of such students, therefore, we try and encourage leaders around the county to adopt a student as well – so that no child will drop out of school due to lack of school fees.
I thank God for my wife who has allowed us as a family to contribute heavily towards this school, not only physically, through advise but also financially.
I am also grateful to Strathmore for inculcating a spirit of excellence in me as a lecturer which has been recognized outside of this university to the point of me being appointed to be the chair of the B.O.G. If Strathmore is doing well and I am part of this institution, then my community expects me to bring the same knowledge and culture to the school for the students to excel.
My next task is to come up with a project to help the elderly in my community. Many old people in my community are sick, lonely, lack proper care, food, clothing etc. and I believe with the help of my friends I can bring a smile to these senior members of my community and reduce their suffering at this late stage of their lives due to neglect and poverty. God help me.