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Bright boy shuns 'imposed' course to work as farmhand

COUNTIES
By Silah Koskei | June 21st 2016
Former Samoei Secondary School student Collins Kiprop, 20, holds a milking container at Mutwot Farm in Jerusalem, Nandi County. The top scorer in KCSE shunned an 'imposed' course to work as a farmhand. (PHOTO: PETER OCHIENG/ STANDARD)

As he skilfully milks the cow, one would think Collins Kiprop, 20, has vast experience in livestock rearing.

But in his mind lies big dreams harboured since he was nine years old, but which have been shattered.

In the 2013 Kenya Certificate Secondary Education exams, Kiprop scored Grade A of 81 points at Samoei Boys' School in Nandi County.

Following his exemplary performance, Kiprop had high hopes of pursuing a course in medicine to lift his family from poverty.

His classmates are now two years ahead of him pursuing studies, while he tends crops and animals in a farm at Mutwot, Jerusalem area in Nandi County.

Kiprop's life has been full of misery, having lost his mother when he was only nine, which forced him to take up the role of the breadwinner at an early age.

"I was index one all through and our local church, teachers and well-wishers played a key role in keeping me in school because there was no way I could raise fees after my parents passed away," he said.

As he selected a university and course of his choice, he knew he would do well in medicine.

"My preference forte was Biology and Maths. My heart warmed up for medicine because I always desired to make a difference in society since I hated to see people suffering or falling sick," he said.

But he was shocked after he got admission to a local university to study a course that was not his choice.

The admission letter from Technical University of Mombasa required him to pursue maritime studies.

Attempts to persuade the institution's management in Mombasa to change the course has all been in vain.

"I was angry because I felt cheated to the extent that I tore the admission letter after failed attempts to convince the management that I was not comfortable studying any course other than medicine," he explained.

Kiprop travelled back to Nairobi to stay with his relatives for a week before he returned to Eldoret.

"Further attempts to get placement in Nairobi for a software engineering course hit a snag after I was informed that most institutions were not accepting Government-sponsored students," he added.

He takes issue with the Government directive of choosing courses for students without taking into consideration their preferences.

"What would be the benefit if I agreed to take up the course and later fail to impress because it was not my choice? I would have wasted years studying and later become unproductive in life," said Kiprop.

He expressed the need for a change in curriculum and selection process so that bright students can have a chance to pursue their dream careers.

"Many might think that I made a wrong move but deep inside my heart, I am optimistic that I will one day pursue a course that has always been my passion ever since I was a kid," he added.

Kiprop met his employer at a bus terminal in Eldoret after he returned to the town from Nairobi.

Elizabeth Koskei, his employer, says she was moved by Kiprop's story six months ago and decided to offer him a chance at her farm.

She urged well-wishers to come to the aid of the boy so that he can pursue his dream course.

"He has a bright future ahead that should not be clouded by the current hardships," she explained.

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