Principal raising John Osogo High School’s academic bar

Paul Obuya. The brain behind the excellent academic performance of John Osogo Boys High School in Budalangi, Busia County PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng, Scholar Media Africa.
Paul Obuya. The brain behind the excellent academic performance of John Osogo Boys High School in Budalangi, Busia County PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng, Scholar Media Africa.

John Osogo Boys High School, a lakeside learning institution in Port Victoria, Bunyala sub-county, Busia county, has been posting excellent Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results despite a mountain of challenges.

The school’s outstanding achievement in the 2022 KCSE result is attributed to diverse factors: the commitment of teachers to duty, teamwork, and sound management of the school’s Board of Management (BOM) and the students’ efforts, under the expert guidance of the Principal, Mr. Paul Obuya.

These have seen the learning institution post good KCSE exam results for the past five years in a row.

Mr. Obuya, who joined the school in 2018, confided to Scholar Media Africa during a recent interview that for any learning institution to perform well in any exam, a proper strategy he describes as the “steering wheel” that guides the school on the path to success must be put in place and followed to the letter to pave the way for the achievement of positive results.

He says teachers have a duty to guide the students on how to achieve good results in line with the strategy, which is very crucial to the success of the students in the national exams. 

“Without proper strategy having been put in place by the school BOM, no school can be able to achieve good results in the national exams. This calls for total commitment and determination on the part of the teachers,” asserted the school head.

“Our school has developed a testing policy program that involves conducting a CAT and RAT (Continuous and Random Assessment Tests) per term to determine our students’ ability to ensure they achieve good results. This has made our students ready to take our programs seriously,” says Mr. Obuya.

Academic achievement

According to the school’s academic performance data accessed by Scholar Media, no student qualified to join the university in 2017. 

However, in 2018 when the current principal took over the mantle of the learning institution’s leadership, four (4) students qualified to join the university. 

This raised the hopes of parents initially losing confidence in the school.

Installing the principal at the lakeside learning institution undoubtedly set the stage for realizing good academic results. 

The principal’s concerted effort to improve the school’s academic performance unbelievably saw the school send 20 students to the university in 2019, a sharp increase in a year.

Part of the entrance to John Osomgo Boys' High School. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Part of the entrance to John Osogo Boys’ High School. PHOTO/Courtesy.

“I owe the school’s improved academic performance to determination, discipline and teamwork between the teachers, students, parents and stakeholders,” says the principal.

The school continued to perform exceptionally well and managed to take 35 students to the university in 2020, whereas, in 2021, there was a decline due to the government’s 100 percent transition order. 

The school sent only 16 students to the university in 2021. 

 In 2022, the school again sent 33 students to the university.

“At the subject level, it is incumbent upon our teachers to develop a strategy to guide them on how to approach their teaching for a better result.

It’s our duty to give our students the best so as to improve their performance. When you give your students the best guidelines, the academic performance of your school shall definitely improve,” Mr. Obuya explains.

He adds that for good results that will please not only students and parents but also education stakeholders, the school board of management has taken the initiative to maintain teachers’ welfare.

“Motivated teachers will be committed to duty hence improving the school’s academic performance,’ he said.

“Again, we have strategized on establishing a friendly relationship with students to motivate and urge them to work hard. This discourages them from planning or engaging in a strike which is very disastrous due to the degree of damage that normally accompanies it,’ he emphasized.

Inadequate infrastructure

The school’s infrastructure is overstretched, due to an increase of student enrollment from 370 in 2018 to a whopping 900 in 2022, creating much pressure as classrooms are packed to capacity, hence the need for the construction of five additional classrooms.

“There is urgent need for the national government to consider providing our school with two more science laboratories.

The school presently has only one laboratory, which cannot accommodate the current population of 320 form three students gearing to tackle their KCSE exams in 2024,” Mr. Obuya expresses fear.

Out of the current 900 student population, 500 are boarders housed in four dormitories which are also overpopulated.

The insufficiency has compelled the school’s BOM to convert a dining hall into a dormitory. 

This situation has forced the students to have lunch and supper under trees within the school compound.

“Whenever it rains while the students are having their meal, they are forced to carry food either to the dormitories or respective classroom verandahs. 

Students from St. Cecilia Namenya Girls Secondary School in Budalangi Busia County fetching water from Lake Victoria recently. PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng.
Students from St. Cecilia Namenya Girls Secondary School in Budalangi Busia County fetching water from Lake Victoria recently. PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng.

This is indeed a big embarrassment to the students,” said the principal.

The school also has neither a computer lab nor a library. 

The two facilities are very crucial as far as the school’s academic performance is concerned.

 Water shortage

“Another key challenge we face as a school apart from inadequate infrastructure is lack of water. We had been relying on the county water supply system, which has since broken down and is yet to be repaired. 

This has compelled our students to fetch water from Lake Victoria, three kilometers away from the school, with a section of them opting to bathe in the lake, risking their lives,” he said.

John Osogo Boys High School is one of many learning institutions facing acute water shortage. 

The students from St. Cecilia Namenya Girls Secondary school adjacent to Port Victoria Sub County Referral Hospital have also been compelled to draw water from Lake Victoria every evening for washing and bathing.

The students returning to school after fetching water. PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng, Scholar Media Africa.
The students returning to school after fetching water. PHOTO/Gilbert Ochieng, Scholar Media Africa.

No strike

Apart from good teacher-student relationships, the principal has other ways of averting strikes. 

This involves inviting guest speakers to address the students on the importance of discipline. A good diet is also on the list. 

“No student can be tempted to engage in strikes so long as their welfare is properly taken care of,” says the principal.

Non-payment of fee                          

Non-payment of school fees has become a gigantic challenge. The school is currently owed a total of 12 million shillings. 

This has become a big headache to the BOM regarding the management of the learning institution, considering that most parents are fishermen and the business is on a low note due to the unavailability of enough fish in the lake.

Shortage of teachers

The school should have a teaching staff of 42 to handle the enormous number of students.

Currently, it has 20 TSC teachers and 8 BOM teachers, with a shortfall of 14 more teachers. Mr. Obuya is appealing to the TSC to consider deploying more teachers to curb the shortfall.

The teacher-student ratio needs to be addressed with urgency by employing more teachers.

Bursary for needy students

The principal is thanking the political wing, Budalangi National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) committee, for supporting needy students from low-income families through the provision of an education bursary fund.

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At the same time, he lauded the area legislator Raphael Wanjala for acquiring a fifty-one-seater bus for the school, noting the bus would enable the students, especially the KCSE candidates, to go on educational tours.

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Mr. Ochieng is a journalist based in Busia. He has 20 years of experience writing for diverse newspapers countrywide. He focuses on Agriculture, Health, Development and other Human Interest Stories.


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