St Mary’s Winjo Mixed secondary school is a hope restoration centre for ambitious teenagers along the shores of Lake Victoria.
The Institution located in Nyatike is a shining star in the lives of students in the hardship stricken area.
Surrounded by the fishing community of Muhuru Bay, the school battles to keep students in classrooms.
Our school being an inter-county school, we had to find a way of competing with extra county schools like Sori High schoolMr Bunde
The nearby fishing activities tend to lure most young men away from classrooms.
Subsequently, young girls are not spared as tough economic conditions leave them at the mercy of early marriages to fishermen.
The face of hardship
When Lake Region Bulletin visited the school, the faces of the students and teachers were filled with a glimpse of hope.
The life belief they exemplify is a contradiction to what the environment provided, hardships.
The school compound was filled with positive energy.
Happiness was written all over the staff and students’ faces.
The revelation of the mood resulted from the overwhelming performance received in the recently released national examination results, KCSE.
In the 2021 KCSE results, the school beat the odds and sent 35 students straight to the university.
A total of 14 girls and 21 boys will be smiling their way into campus life from the remote area near the lake.
This is the first time in ten years since the school was established.
A total of 49 students with C grades will directly join TVETS and colleges.
Gilbert Opiyo, head of examinations in Winjo Mixed secondary school could only share his satisfaction with the amazing results recorded.
He cited that they are more certain and have confidence that the school is poised for better grades.
“This year, we have drastically improved. This is overwhelming,” stated Opiyo.
He however stressed that it was not easy to get over 0.5 positive deviations for the first time in the school’s history.
This year, the school recorded a positive deviation of 0.9 points.
They also managed to achieve an overall mean of C Plain, recording 5.841 points.
This, Opiyo says, is an increase from the 4.941 points they scored in the 2020 KCSE results.
Adding to individual improvements, the school was ranked among the top five schools in Nyatike Sub County.
George Bunde, the institution’s principal said that they are reaping from various teaching tactics they have deployed.
According to Bunde, they have been doing joint exams with other better schools compared to Winjo to gauge themselves.
“Our school being an inter-county school, we had to find a way of competing with extra county schools like Sori High school,” stated Bunde.
He continues; “Therefore we had to do many joint exams with better schools.”
Most parents here are small scale fishermen. This has subjected us to challenges especially on fee collection as they cannot meet the timely paymentBunde
The talks by renowned national examiners has also helped in the building of the confidence of the students.
Bunde said that the school is at a disadvantageous location with accessibility becoming a major challenge.
They are surrounded by several streams of rivers that block students from getting home or to school when they swell.
He also laments the poor road network leading to the school.
This he says is forcing school visitors’ to walk from their vans over 2kilometers to reach the school.
Furthermore, he added that parents from the region are peasant fishermen who only rely on fishing to pay fees.
This has been a major hindrance to timely school fee remittance.
For this reason, Bunde says that they are left with accepting fee payments in installments.
Another option they are forced to accept is payment and in-kind like collecting food items like maize.
“Most parents here are small scale fishermen. This has subjected us to challenges especially on fee collection as they cannot meet the timely payment,” he said.
Apart from fee issues, the principal is worried about the lack of key infrastructure in the school compound.
Among them are the laboratory, library and proper dormitories for their boarding students.
Furthermore, the surging number of students led to demands for more teachers something he says is challenging.
“We are receiving many students every term, but the number of teachers remains constant,” he notted.
“We have to rely on the school’s board and the same poor parents to hire BOM teachers. It is not easy,” he added.