How learners beat odds to excel in last year's KCSE examination


Linus Kiprop who touched many hearts in 2021 after walking 35 kilometers to Kakamega town for lack of bus fare scored a mean grade of B- in the 2023 KCSE examination. [Courtesy, UGC]

Linus Kiprop touched many hearts in 2021 after walking 35 kilometers to Kakamega town for lack of bus fare.

The former Chavakali High School student spent a night with watchmen in Kakamega town after he was sent home for fees. 

After four years of hard work, Kiprop scored a B- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

Kiprop’s story is a sign of determination amid adversity among thousands of poor students struggling to quench academic thirst.

Levis Otieno Rabah also hit headlines in 2020 when he joined Kanga High School with only two bars of soap and an empty metal box.

By 8am, he was at the principal’s office pleading his case. The principal allowed him in despite being unable to pay the fees.

Four years down the line, Otieno’s resilience paid off after obtaining a B+. He got support from well-wishers. 

Otieno scored A– in Geography, B+ in Kiswahili and Biology, B in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and a B- in English.

Joshua Mukhwana, a student at Friends School Kamusinga, who studied through the county government’s bursary also defied odds to score an A of 82 points.

Mukhwana’s mother is a peasant farmer while his father is a security guard in a local school.

The 17-year-old firstborn in a family of five aspires to study dental surgery at the University of Nairobi.

He scored an A in Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography, an A- in Kiswahili and Drawing and Design and a B in English.

Esther Wacuka, a former student at Kwangethe Secondary School, lost her father during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite her pain and loss, she obtained a mean grade of A of 75 points.

Her mother who did manual jobs could not sufficiently provide for the family. Wacuka skipped the meals at school and carried it home to share with the family in their single room at Githurai 45.

Dickens Odhiambo who sat his examination at Murang’a High School hails from Kibra.

Even after making it to the top chart in KCPE, Odhiambo could not convince the scholarship organisations to sponsor him.

Odhiambo, who wishes to pursue engineering, missed classes for several months in Form Two when his well-wishers stopped supporting him.

Doris Waithera beat the odds to obtain an A of 81 points at Langa Langa Secondary, Nakuru.

The 17-year-old, who aspires to study cardiology at the University of Nairobi, said since her family could not afford electricity, the school principal would allow her to stay in school till 9pm.

“The extra time made me cover the syllabus and flourish. I left home at 5.30am and returned at 9pm on my father’s bicycle,” Waithera said.

Muithagania Kamore saw a dark cloud a few months after admission in secondary school when his father died.

Kamore who scored an A of 84 points could hardly afford school fees since the mother did manual jobs to fend for the family. He aspires to pursue Aeronautical Engineering

Ezekiel Andala, another student, arrived at Malava High school, Kakamega without any school requirements.

He had trekked 50 kilometres to the school without his parents’ knowledge.

The 16-year-old arrived in school in his former primary school uniform and wearing slippers. He had only brought his admission letter, attracting sympathy from the school principal.

‘‘I decided to make the move when I heard my parents planning to secure a place in the neighbouring primary school to repeat Standard Eight,’’ Andala said.

The schools Chief Principal John Wakwabubi said the school decided to look for alternative ways to finance the ever-growing number of needy cases.

‘‘I fully paid fees for one student using the school’s Wings to Soar internal scholarship which raises fees for poor students when I realised his potential. The second top student was on an Equity scholarship, they have a future,’’ Wakwabubi said.

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