In 2002, the Government of Kenya made primary school education compulsory and free for Kenyans, which is presently available to the great majority of children. The course lasts 8 years and ends with a national examination – Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). After this stage, a large percentage of children drop out – either because they do not perform well enough to enter one of the comparatively few secondary schools or because, although they have gained good examination results and qualify for places, their families are unable to afford the school fees.
This is tragic since such children possess considerable potential, having overcome real, often formidable difficulties to get as far as they have. In the informal settlements like slums, the transition rate to high school is even lower than the national average owing to high level of poverty and deaths
resulting from the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS.
Secondary education is still prohibitively expensive and only limited to those who are able to attain qualifying grades and sufficient financial resources
to pay about US$1500 in annual fees and other education costs in government subsidized schools. With more than 60% of the population living on less than US $1 per day, there are many bright children from poor families who score the grades required to admit them to secondary schools but are unable to afford the fees. Secondary education is an important phase during these formative years of the children and those who have missed out are usually condemned to a life of poverty and social strife.
It is students selected from Kibera – one of the largest slums in Africa and drawn from every ethnic background whom St Al’s reaches out to help.
Such students apply to join St Al’s using a special form available free of charge that requires a case history testimony provided by the parents/guardians and supported by evidence from their civil administrator (Chief), minister of religion (Pastor/Priest/Imam), and their Primary School Headteachers.
100% of our places are reserved for such students, being made free to them through sponsorship or endowment. St. Al’s aims to provide an opportunity for bright and talented children from families that are financially challenged by diverse circumstances, especially HIV/AIDS, and most of whom have attended poorly equipped primary schools from Kibera slums. Without support by St. Al’s, their future remains bleak and they are likely to remain trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.
By financing their secondary and college education and mentoring each child through this impressionable age, we believe that they will transform their lives, their families, and ultimately the society they live in.
Admission to St. Aloysius Secondary school is a rigorous process that aims at ensuring that only the most deserving students are admitted. As the only free private all-scholarship school in Kenya that exclusively caters for HIV/AIDS affected students, the competition to gain admission is intense and a rigorous process is followed to make sure that only the neediest of cases are considered.
Summary Of Admission Procedure For A Candidate Wishing To Join St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School
The prospective students are expected to be living and studying in primary schools within Kibera. This aims to reach the target group. Generally, successful applicants to St. Aloysius will be admitted and selected on the following basis
- Fulfillment of all application requirements
- Academic Merit (Excellent performance in their KCPE (at least 300/500)
- Level of need based on the Yellow Form filled during application
- Studied in Kibera slums during the time they sat for the KCPE examinations
- Lost one or both parents to AIDS or extremely needy
Form 1 Vacancy Announcement
Each year, the school has 70 slots for form one. The advertisements are made locally ensuring that the neediest are reached. In doing this, the school administration prepares form one application forms. The documents are then distributed by staff, social workers, and graduates to the community through the following:
- Schools in Kibera through the headteachers (the social worker visits school heads issuing application forms to interested students; both public (city council) and private community schools are reached
- Local churches announcements (all denominations)
- Local leaders forum
- Partners through community based organization, NGO and self-help groups
- Existing school students encouraged to spread the news
Through this the community is sensitized. The prospective candidates are requested to fill a form designed to gather basic information and request to get admitted to St. Al’s. The forms are brought back to the school administration social office in the month of October. This makes it possible to get up to 400 interested candidates.
As soon as the KCPE results are announced in late December, prospective candidates are to bring the results slip and all supporting documents to the school.
A selection committee then sits in the 2nd week of January to asses and analyze all the applications received to get the best possible candidates.
The committee consists of the:
- Academic master
- Social office
At this stage, the following considerations are made:
- Performance minimum 300 marks, those below the cut-off points are dropped.
- Duly completed forms, with all supporting documents appended as per the requirements.Those with missing or forged documents are disqualified.
Selected candidates are invited for first interview, usually oral. This is done in the 3rd week of January and results are posted on the school notice board. The first interview aims at meeting with the potential candidates and their caregivers.
Specifically we seek :
- To ascertain the authenticity of the documents submitted
- To establish whether there is consistency between what the students wrote while filling the form and their verbal presentation
- To establish the candidates desire to attend St. Al’s
- To assess the degree of need and possibility of the care-giver to offer support to the candidates while studying at St. Al’s
Approximately 40% of the applicants are dropped at this stage. After reviewing the results of the oral interviews,the successful candidates are notified and invited for written interviews.
Generally 3 subjects are used as interview baseline:
The exams are marked and the results determine the cut-off points.The maximum a student can score is 300 marks. Those who meet the pass mark and other requirements are considered for admission. A list of the successful candidates is pinned on the notice board.
The successful candidates are not ready for admission until a home visit is conducted. Each of the 70 students will have a staff member visit him/her again to confirm their residence. It is during this visit that a final letter of acceptance is offered. However, if a student is found to have provided false information regarding his/her residential status or true circumstances surrounding the family, the admission is declined.
Successful applicants are notified through the admission letter about the date of reporting and other requirements.
Induction / Reporting
Successful candidates report with their caregivers and a checklist of materials verified, then the passport photo of the student is taken for documentation purposes. After verification the newly admitted students are issued with full school uniform and reading materials.
The same afternoon the new entrants are gathered and introduced to the school environment, departments, and expectations of the school from them. This formally marks the beginning of orientation and is really an exciting exercise. Many are always elated, having been selected from a long list of applicants. Then the journey begins. Many openly wonder what they would be doing if they had not made it to St. Al’s.