BY JOSEPH MUCHIRI
Going by its improved performance in the last few years, it is only safe to conclude that Moi High Schoåol Mbiruri is turning out to be an academic giant and is promising to become top ten in the country in the next few years.
Having just been elevated into a national school from a provincial school in June last year, it went on to become number one in Embu County in 2011 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam.
The school also produced the best student in Embu County, Njeru Benard Kimanthi, who scored an A plain.
The school had A 13, A- 30, B+ 27, B 26, B-22, C+ 10, C 1 and was number 18 nationally.
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It had a mean score of 9.8144 which was an improvement from 2010 when it got 9.406.
The principal Dr Jamleck Muturi attributed the improved performance to high level of discipline where no student has been suspended for indiscipline case since 2008 when he joined the school.
“It is easy to identify a student of Moi High School Mbiruri even outside school because they carry themselves with a lot of self-discipline and respect,” said Muturi.
Moi High School Mbiruri opened its door to first lot of students in1953 as a colonial primary school.
Following independence, the local community in pursuit for higher education initiated a secondary school wing with only 18 boys on harambee basis.
In 1974 the government absorbed it into a mainstream school and being the only school in Kagaari location under the sponsorship of the Anglican Church, co-education was introduced in 1966 and the first lot of girls enrolled.
The harambee class was fully taken by the government in 1986 by the order of President Daniel arap Moi and it attained provincial status with a total population of 320 students.
Muturi says the school did not experience problems in integration of the provincial and national classes.
“The school has a mentoring programme for form one students whereby they are not allocated duties in their first term in school,” says Muturi adding that form one who joined the school as a national one easily got on well with those in upper classes which are provincial.
He adds that during the induction period, it is not a must for a form one student to wear a tie so that they can gradually get oriented to the rules of the school as opposed to heaping all rules to them at once.
“They take it as a privilege to follow the school traditions. At the end of first term they do an induction exam that seeks to assess how deep they have dug into the traditions of the schools,” says the principal.
Moi High School Mbiruri is now a four stream school from a three stream last year and has a population of 658 students.
It has 35 teachers, of whom 26 are employed by the Teacher Service Commission and the rest by the school’s Board of Governors.
Muturi reveals they employ team teaching and team marking where for instance if it is a topic in genetics in Biology, one teacher teaches the topic in all the classes in form four.
He says the advantage of such a method is that the teacher’s weaknesses or strengths are shared by all hence in a case where students feel they did not understand a topic well others can confirm it.
The method is also advantageous in that it takes care of teachers who are absent from school since another teacher can take over from him and thus no class would end up unattended.
“In our form three and form students, the ratio of books to students is 1:1 and we plan to have that ratio in all our classes by next year,” he says.
The school has also introduced e-learning and is relying heavily on projectors, computers, digital versatile disks and laptops.
He says the prefect body is elected by the students as opposed to being appointed by teachers.
“Teachers only give certain standards like one to be good in academics or in games depending on the department and then students choose who they see as the best,” he says.
Another good thing about the school is that it does not discriminate on one’s social status or religion.
The school principal says the school has also been doing well in extra-curriculum activities.
Last year, the music club won The President’s Award Kenya at statehouse and last month went Gold Expeditions in Lonongonot.
“We are able to reach the provincial level in many of our items in games and sports and in clubs and societies,” says Muturi.
He says since they have already achieved the grades they had envisaged in their five year strategic plan from 2008 to 2012, they were developing a new strategic plan.
Muturi’s motto is “Give me your boy and I give you back a gentleman”.
As a national school some of the challenges the school is facing is putting up facilities befitting a national school.
According to Muturi, the government was supposed to raise Sh25 million for infrastructural development but has so far allocated only Sh12.5 million.
Once they get all the funds, Muturi says they will complete a storied block of 15 classes and two storied dormitories which will accommodate 240 students.
The school is also in the process of putting up a computer laboratory, an administration block and a swimming pool.
The school recently acquired a 67 seater bus effectively easing the problem of transportation it had been facing.
The school captain Joe Collins Mugambi Macharia who is in form four says the students were excited to learn of the elevation which gave them a lot of pride and motivation.
Macharia says as a national school they know more is expected of them and that gives them more reasons to dedicate themselves to their studies.
“Discipline and hard work are the reasons the school got elevated into a national school. We had other schools visiting to benchmark with us,” said Macharia.
He says before the elevation, the relationship between the students and the teachers was marked by fear, but now that they are united by a common goal to show the nation that they deserved the elevation, they work together as one without fear or intimidation.
“If you want something, hold it in faith,” he says adding that they brand themselves while still in school since they believe with faith they will achieve.
For instance, he and the other students refer to him as Engineer Macharia since he aspires to become an aeronautical engineer in future.
Speaking on behalf of the teachers, Mr Sammy Mwangi Githinji an old student of the school who is now a teacher of English and Literature says they were also motivated by the elevation of the school as they felt like their efforts were rewarded.
He however says with the increased number of students, the work load is more and so they would be grateful if the government gives them more teachers.
He says Moi High School Mbiruri has risen from a small harambee school and beaten many odds to become an academic giant beating the former giants of the region like Kangaru School and Kieni Girls’ School.
He attributes the good performance to the cordial working relationship between the students, the teachers and the school administration.