With more than 70% of the total population in Kenya living in rural areas, access of education is a major problem. With moribund infrastructure and sometimes a complete lack of it, most children living in rural areas are notwithstanding, determined to excel in their studies.
My story is a true testimony of the challenges that students in rural areas face in search of education. I was born and raised in Kapsabet. My father never went to School but he believed that education can change everything and so he worked hard to give me and my siblings the best education he could afford. He always told me that “Education changes everything in life.” As a farmer in the rural Nandi he did the best he could to ensure that we got quality education and most of the time my siblings and I used to help him out in the farm during the School holidays.
Life in the rural areas was not easy, we used to wake up at five in the morning and we had to walk four kilometers to school. In lower primary we used to study under a tree and write on the ground. I remember during those days having a shoe was a luxury that students from few families could afford, and the students used to wear tattered clothes to school. Classroom experience was really hard, we used to share few text books that were available and most of them were not up-to-date. This placed us in a disadvantaged position compared to students in private and urban schools who we were competing with them. We also had so many school chores and during that time most of the schools in the rural areas could not afford to employ subordinate staff and Nandi being an agricultural land, the students used to go to the farm twice a week to plug tea in the school plantation and also do plant horticultural crops. This also placed the students from these schools at a disadvantaged position.
After school the students used to help their parents with household chores and there was little time to do revision. There were limited revision materials and teachers had to travel all the way to Kapsabet (16KMs) in order to get revision papers and other study material for the students to use in class. As a result of all these challenges more than 50% of my primary school mates did not make it to high school and some especially the girls ended up getting married early.
Life has in those Schools has improved with the coming of free primary education; my young brothers and sisters now in primary are getting new books and most of the materials that they need for their studies. The challenge they face now is that the enrollment in schools increased and the resources are not enough to meet the needs of the students in the school. Unlike our time where in some cases we had to use outdated books, for them they have the latest books but they use one book for one in every 20 students and this is a big challenge.
This is why we need an educational equalizer, a system that can make education available to all the students across the country irrespective of where they are in this country. A system like MPrep platform to me would really come in handy especially to students like my sister who is sitting her KCPE exams in three weeks time and needs to revise for this it. Most families in the rural areas have at least one mobile per household and this makes it easy for the students to revise for their exams.
I look forward to a day when all the students in my area will be able to make it to secondary school and beyond. I know this will only be achieved with the development of innovative technologies like the MPrep study tool which is a great educational equalizer in education. We must all work together to give the students an equal opportunity in life.
By Kosgei Isaac
Community Relations Director