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School that lost 15 pupils in stampede among top scorers

Mitchelle Makungu, a girl who survived Kakamega primary school's stampede, celebrates with teachers outside the school after scoring 408 marks in the KCPE exams. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Kakamega Primary School has emerged among the top-performing schools in last year's KCPE examinations. It is among the best public schools in Kenya despite a stampede in February 2020 which left 15 pupils dead and scores injured.

Before the school community could recover from the tragedy, the first case of Covid-19 was announced in Kenya in March and the government closed all learning institutions as a containment measure.

The double tragedy, however, did not dampen the learning spirit of the candidates who took to online learning when it was rolled out. More relief came with the partial reopening of schools for Grade Four, Class Eight and Form Four in October last year.

With a population of more than 3,000, the institution? did not waste time in ensuring pupils gained much of the lost ground.

Their sacrifice has paid dividends. The top candidate Emmanuel Changulo scored 426 marks out of a possible 500. Nationally, the highest score was 433. Others who did well include Peter Oduor who scored 418 marks, Abednego Kituyi (418), Lavin Vuyanzi (417), Peter Kamau (414), Charles Otsyula (413), Wells Fadhili (411), Rachael Munyiva (411), Ian Matoke (410) and Mitchelle Makungu Chagema (408) marks.

“I expected to perform better than this, but as you are aware, Covid-19 affected our studies,” said one of the candidates, Makungu. Her brother Alphaville Keng’ore was among those who were injured in the stampede.

“Seeing the injuries my brother sustained affected me in a bad way. It is not easy to imagine we lost friends and fellow schoolmates as it happened in the stampede,” she added.

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Without the incident and Covid-19, the candidates believe the overall score would have been much better.

Tireless efforts

Makungu further thanked her teachers for their tireless efforts that enabled them to get grades.

While the Institution of Engineers of Kenya had made several recommendations, including making adjustments to the fateful building, it has emerged the school lacks the funds to undertake such works.

The head teacher Dickson Wanyangu said he was happy that his candidates managed to focus on the examinations despite the challenges.

“We thank God for the good results and appreciate the support we received from various players including the parents,” he said.

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