City school where parents pick day-scholars at 8pm raises eyebrows

NAIROBI |

Some parents find the routine unusual. [Courtesy]

It is 8:30pm on a cold evening in Nairobi. Most primary school learners are already at home having supper or wrapping up their homework for the day.

But some learners at a school in Tena Estate are preparing to go home under the cover of darkness, drained and hungry after enduring more than 15 hours of instruction.

This is what has raised some curiosity in the area, with some parents, with children attending the day and boarding institution, finding the routine unusual.

When The Standard arrived at the gate of the institution, some parents were at the security guard’s shelter waiting to pick their children.

Normally, day-scholars report at 6:40am for regular lessons during the day until 4pm. Those in classes 7 and 8 stay behind after 5pm for other activities until 8:30pm.

Day-scholars report at 6:40am for regular lessons. [Courtesy]

One of the parents (name withheld), whose daughter is in class 7 and has been a day-scholar all along, says the evening programme was introduced this term.

He says the new schedule runs throughout the weekends and has a feeling that his daughter is not getting enough time to play with her siblings and could ultimately be forced to pay more for her daughter to join boarding.

Another parent told The Standard that “it is not a bad move because my son, who is preparing for final exams (KCPE), has nothing much to do at home. He is a day-scholar and I don’t want him to board.”

When we contacted the school following concerns raised by some parents, the administration said the issue was being amplified by unhappy competitors.

“We request parents to trust us to give the children a wholesome education, taking care of their academic, spiritual and social welfare as we have always done. Kindly ignore any misguided and incorrect schedule circulating on social media,” reads a letter addressed to parents.

The school’s headteacher told The Standard that the institution agreed to host day-scholars in the evening for remedial classes, upon request of some parents.

Those in classes 7 and 8 stay behind after 5pm for other activities until 8:30pm. [Courtesy]

“This is an institution that has a majority of boarders and normal lessons runs up to 4pm. Then from there, up to 6pm, learners participate in games and other extracurricular activities, including mentorship programmes.

“However, the group that remains behind as others leave are few day-scholars and are in class 7 and 8. We allow them to stay behind so that they can complete their homework. That is between 7pm and 8:30pm. During that time, we have teachers to ensure order and discipline as pupils do their homework,” said the school head.

He said this is a voluntary service with no extra fee, stating that some parents requested that their children stay behind instead of going home to play other games like play station.

At the same time, the institution says this will help learners now that the school calendar was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some parents told us they work until late and no one will be around with the kids at home. They wanted to allow the children to stay in school until they come for them. It is not punitive at all. We have put all security measures to ensure that those who leave in the evening are in safe hands,” he said. 

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