Why Sh30 million school in Kisii faces closure

Rianyabaro Centre of Excellence Secondary School in Bonchari Constituency, Kisii County. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]
Rianyabaro Centre of Excellence Secondary School in Bonchari Constituency faces closure due to a low student population.

The school — built at the cost of Sh30 million under the Government Economic Stimulus Programme — has remained underutilised seven years after it was opened due to a standoff between the Education ministry and the Catholic Church.

The institution has only 64 students and Seven TSC teachers yet it has the capacity to accommodate at least 200 students, Principal Joshua Ogolla told The Standard.

The school was built on land owned by Rianyabaro Primary School, which is sponsored by the Catholic Church. The Church has the title deed of the two schools.

“I am at crossroads, I do not know what to do since my school has failed to attract students despite having all the necessary facilities. (There are) boardroom fights between the Education ministry and the Catholic Church,” said Mr Ogolla.

Contemplating resigning

The principal claimed that locals who subscribe to the Catholic faith were not keen to take their children to the school for fear of being seen as going against the church.

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Ogolla said the school opened its doors in January 2013 and had the first students doing KCSE in 2016. The school emerged the sixth top school in Kisii.

“I have reached a point where I am contemplating resigning since my career progression has remained stunted since I joined the school as a principal from Kisii National School where I served as the Deputy Principal,” said Ogolla.

Bonchari MP John Oyioka told The Standard that he would be holding a stakeholders meeting at the school to establish why the school had continued to have low enrollment numbers. Kisii Catholic Diocese Vicar General Jeremiah Nyakundi told The Standard that the church was not consulted when the institution was built on land that belonged to a primary school which they sponsor.

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Rianyabaro Centre of Excellence Secondary SchoolEconomic Stimulus ProgrammeCatholic Church