Students of Silibwet Secondary School in Nyandarua County displaying a banner on the shortlisting for the World's Best School Prizes. [Courtesy]

Two Kenyan schools have been named among the top 10 in the world in conservation.

Silibwet Secondary School, a government school in Nyahururu, Nyandarua County, and Children in Freedom School in Nakuru were shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action.

The overall award was won by Institución Educativa Municipal Montessori sede San Francisco in Colombia.

World’s Best School Prizes said the school has been a game-changer in the fight against local deforestation, soil erosion, and the effects of global warming.

Silibwet Secondary School Principal Peter Mambuti termed the win as their biggest achievement in the war against climate change.

“This is the best news ever. We have earned global recognition in our efforts to conserve the environment,” he said.

He said the school has been at the forefront of planting trees and advocating for environmental conservation.

“This has been done by both students and parents as well as teachers. We have once again put the country on the world map,” he said.

Children in Freedom School, an independent school in Nakuru, was also shortlisted in the top 10 for shattering the status quo and instilling a deep sense of pride, critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship in its students.

The school was established in 2017 and aims to incorporate African values in the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) through dressing and languages.

Dr Utheri Kanayo, the founder of the school, is a former lecturer and researcher at Cambridge University. She established the school in collaboration with her husband Okuu Kanayo, a former software engineer at Hewlett Packard (HP).

The primary school attracted the attention of Nakuru residents due to its unique mode of dressing, teaching areas, and the freedom its learners enjoy while at school.

While most schools in the country have stuck to conventional uniforms, children at the facility dress in different types of attire inspired by African cultures.

The children are also free to have their hair done depending on the parents’ choices at a time when some public schools have been placed on the spot after ejecting those who wear dreadlocks.

Other winners in the contest are SPARK Soweto, an independent, partially government-funded kindergarten and primary school in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was named the winner of the World’s Best School Prize for Community 2023.

SPARK Soweto was chosen as the winner  from among the top 3 finalists for the prize, which also included William Henry Burkhart Elementary in the US and Escola Municipal Professor Edson Pisani in Brazil.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes as per the press release expressed his congratulations to SPARK.

“This tremendous moment has been made possible by the leadership, vision, and culture your school has fostered and it brings me great pride to bestow upon you the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration 2023.”

Applications have also been opened for the World’s Best School Prizes 2024. The five World’s Best School Prizes - for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives - celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of Covid-19.

Winning schools next year will share a prize fund of $50,000.

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