A small mixed day school in Tigania East has surprised many after beating academic giants in the area in the last two years.
Situated on a dusty road off the main Meru-Maua Road at Karama Market, Antuanduru Mixed Day Secondary School lacks a big compound, imposing buildings and is even facing a shortage of 10 teachers but its performance has been exemplary in the last two years.
It has nine Teachers Service Commission teachers and eight more employed by the Board of Management, meaning parents have to raise their salaries.
With over 430 students in two streams, the institution that sits on just about an acre of land is crowded with desks crammed in the classrooms. It shares a playing field with the adjacent primary schooland with buildings in the compound, it has only a tiny space for a garden.
Yet, the school has in the last two years beaten all the seven county schools in the area and produced the highest number of students who join public universities.
In 2016, the school managed position five in Tigania East (out of 25 schools), with 15 students managing Grade C+ thus qualifying to join university while last year it became position one in the sub-county.
“Most of the students admitted here after Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) will have attained 200 marks or thereabout, so you can see the amount of work put in to mold them into university material,” the Tigania East Sub-county Education Director Ikiara Kimathi said.
What is the secret of the good performance? According to the principal Kairi Ituuru, all students report to school on weekends for individual studies and remedial tuition.
“We also ensure that students are subjected to three exams per term namely opener (Continuous Assessment Test) CATs, midterm CATS and End of Term exams,” added the principal.
The school produced some of the top performers in Mathematics in Meru County and one of its secrets in scaling this subject considered “hard” is weekly CATS, with results announced on Monday afternoon and most successful students being rewarded.
“Holiday assignments are given by subject teachers and we encourage the teachers to ensure they have covered the syllabus by June/July so that the complicated topics are adequately recapped,” said the principal.
The good performance has not been without appreciation and the school is among five in Meru County that have received a Sh1 million Government donation to improve its infrastructure.
Kimathi said the donation was intended for use in expansion of a laboratory or classrooms.
“The donation could not have come at a better time because we have received 140 students in the Government allocation towards realisation of the 100 per cent transition rate,” said the principal.
According to Parent Teachers Association Chairman Shadrack Ntongai, the large allocation of freshers has necessitated the consideration of starting a third stream.
Kimathi said the principal had consistently excelled in curriculum management to enable the school that was established in 2006 eclipse the area's giants.
The Tigania East Constituency Development Fund has pledged to fund the construction of multipurpose hall and tuition block with MP Josephat Gichunge Kabeabea asking the school BoM to write a proposal for financing.