When the Ministry of Education implemented a policy that delocalized school heads a few years back, some liked it while others did not.
The move came at a time when most secondary school principals and primary school head teachers worked near their homes or within their counties of origin.
There was resistance particularly from the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET).
Nevertheless, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) got its way and implemented the policy, leaving a stone on the face of the unions.
Clement Nyang’acha, the Chief Principal of Ugenya High School, Siaya County, Kenya is among the many that got affected by the directive.
He had been heading a school in his home county of Kisii until 2018 when he was served with a letter transferring him to his current institution.
“I was unhappy when I got to the school for the first time. My major worry was the distance between Ugenya and Kisii,” he recalls. The school is about 200 km from Kisii Town.
“Upon meditation, it dawned on me that I did not have any option other than accepting that I was going to be in charge of the school henceforth,” he said.
The school had 440 boys and 16 teachers and did not have the requisite infrastructure that would make it expand in terms of enrollment and performance.
With a mean score of 6.5 in that year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results, Nyang’acha knew that there was a huge task for him to improve the school.
“As I settled in, I involved stakeholders and we challenged ourselves to be forward looking and take the school to the next level,” he said.
Through concerted efforts, the school, which was started as a Centre of Excellence in 2011 is now on the right path in as far as living to the expectations of the founders is concerned.
“We embarked on a mission to change the school for the better and I can now affirm that when stakeholders work as a team, the results speak for themselves,” Nyang’acha says.
Indeed, the existing figures at the institution show that it is in the right path and is increasingly becoming the school of choice for boys from Ugenya Sub-County and beyond.
The Board of Management (BoM) is devoted to make the institution a destination of boys yearning to satiate their appetite for secondary school education.
The school has in recent times undergone a notable facelift of infrastructure which includes a story-building for a tuition block with six classrooms and two science laboratories.
“The construction of a 900-bed capacity dormitory is also ongoing,” Nyang’acha confirms.
The dormitory will be named ‘CNN Dormitory’ in honor of Mr. Nyang’acha for his good leadership that has seen the school making significant strides.
From an enrollment of 440 students when he reported in 2018, the school now has 1,050 boys while the population of teachers has increased from 16 to 46 over the same period.
This positive trend has been realized due to the sustained improvement of results in KCSE examinations since 2018.
From the mean score of 6.5, the school recorded an improvement when it posted 7.05 in the 2019 examinations.
“We managed to get a mean of 7.56 when the 2020 class did their examinations. As you can recall, this is the time schools got paralyzed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic,” Nyang’acha said.
This year, the school is preparing the 2021 class whose target is 9.07.
“The boys are focused and determined and we are giving them the necessary support for them to deliver the grades,” he said.
In a record of four years, the school has risen from a Sub-county to an Extra-county school.
Currently, the school has running water and hand washing points are available at the gate, the entrance to administration block, the walkways, the toilets and the playing field.
The availability of water has assisted the school to manage ailments and keep high standards of hygiene.
This is particularly important at this time when it is required of people to wash their hands with soap regularly as a measure of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Recently, Nyang’acha was promoted to the rank of Chief Principal, this being the topmost rank by TSC.
Following the elevation of rank, a modest celebration was organized at the school early in the year, with his friends, relatives, education officers and other stakeholders attending.
During the event, Nyang’acha was installed as a Luo elder, a move that was meant to show that the surrounding community is impressed with his work.
Due to the good rapport existing among the students and stakeholders in the school, even a visitor can tell that systems are working for the success of the students.
During the celebrations day for instance, the students, teachers and other stakeholders freely shared a cake and drinks.
“I promise you that we will work even harder and smarter to make Ugenya High School soar to greater heights,” Nyang’acha assured.
According to Ugenya Sub-County TSC Director, Benard Orwasa, Ugenya High School is heading towards the right direction.
“It is our best school in the sub-county and we support the strategies the principal and the BoM at large have put in place to ensure that it produces mature, responsible and hardworking boys who will serve this nation in various capacities in future,” Orwasa said.
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