In my previous post I talked a bit about our overall education strategy, and specifically what we’re trying to do with Primary Schools. In this post, I’ll describe our plans for secondary schools.
Right now, only about 25% of kids pass the Grade 8 standardized test in primary school and qualify academically for secondary school… 25%! That means 3 out of every 4 kids never receive a high school education. That’s gotta change…
What’s worse is that secondary school isn’t free. Fees, supplies, and boarding expenses are more than the average family can afford. As a result, less than half of the 25% who qualify for secondary school actually go. The rest simply drop out. Do the math… that means 1 out of maybe 6 kids go to high school in rural communities.
That sounds bad enough, but there’s one more problem… Kenya has three types of secondary schools – National (best), Provincial (good), and District Schools (bad). Your score on the standardized test determines which school you qualify for. Less than 5% of kids qualify for National schools.
We aim to change that in every 410 bridge community. Over the next five years, we hope to have a significantly higher percentage qualify for National or Provincial schools because of our Primary School strategy. I’m reluctant to tell you our goal because it may seem unrealistic… so let’s just say that we’re going to double the number of kids that qualify academically. But, they still can’t afford to go…
The plan is to make sponsorships available to those children who qualify for National or Provincial schools and whose families can’t afford the fees. All this is done through our strategic partner, BrightPoint for Children. We have these programs running in just about every 410 Bridge community today and we’re beginning to measure results.
Additionally, for those communities that actually have secondary schools operating within their communities, we will do a similar quality improvement program as the primary schools. We will conduct a needs assessment and sponsor that school through a BrightPoint program. Our goal is to take a District School to the Provincial School level by helping them improve the quality of education in that school.
So imagine five years from now… not only is the quality of education improving in every primary school, but every child that qualifies for the best schools in Kenya will have an opportunity to go. The standardized test scores in all 410 Bridge communities are better than the national average, and the rest of the country takes notice. It’s not just a program… it’s a movement.