While many schools are engaging in burning bouts and destruction of school property for unknown reasons, thousands of other schools such as Starehe Boys Centre are going on with their normal activities.
The school has refused to join the fire spree and has insists on maintaining orderliness and good behaviour.
Starehe Boys Center is partly a boarding school located in Nairobi, Kenya.
Popular for its excellent performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations, the school is named among the best schools in the country. Established as far back as 1959 by the late Dr. Geoffrey Griffin and other two co- founders, Starehe is a charitable institution.
The school cater for at least 70% of its students free, and the rest at a reduced rate. It is in fact a school for financial handicapped boys who are really bright. It runs a Centre, Secondary School and a tertiary Institute offering Accountancy and Computer studies.
Its tuition fees are paid on a means-tested basis, and the school pays for weighty subsidies. According to the school authorities, the move is to allow all people from all walks of life to have a public school education that is somewhat beyond their means.
The director of the school reveals that Starehe harbors about 1,000 students from all the 47 counties in the country. And the students come from various backgrounds. But what binds them is the values the school upholds which they instill in the students from the get-go of their enrollment.
More outstandingly, the school exudes complete discipline and obedience through and through.
What’s more is that on Saturday the school will celebrate its 57th anniversary. It is clearly 57th year of maintaining greatness and top positions in the country’s education sector.
Captial Fm had the chance of meeting the school director, Matthew Kithyaka as they prepare for this celebration. According to the media organisation, everyone they met welcomed them with utmost respect and humility.
Matthew Kithyaka was quoted as saying that humbleness and respect are core principles that every student and staff was expected to practice.
Speaking to Capital Fm, the director of Starehe Boys Centre said:
“We have had a heritage of training young people in a very humble way that engages them to do things for themselves knowing they are responsible for themselves and for others in the communities. That same practice of thinking and attitude is also extended to the staff.”
The level of discipline shown by students can be linked to the cordial relationship between students and teachers even as they give light forms of punishment depending on mistakes done. It also features the commonest on sports (gymnastics) and community labour, which can be in the form of cleaning for grave mistakes.
On instilling controlling students, he said;
“We use a rule that says ‘use your common sense to see what you are doing is right or what you are doing is wrong’ and out of that we ask all the students to embrace an attitude of care and to have a good identity and belong to a family called Starehe.”
Another strategy the school uses, which has been effective in maintaining high level of discipline, is the house system.
Starehe Boys Centre has 13 houses – each with 80 students controlled by house prefects, captains and house masters who are adults.
“Every evening at six pm, they sit in the house system do a roll call then review their relationship in that house and if there is any problem it is reported upwards until it reaches the house master and it goes up to the head of students welfare at the level of principal and if it is extreme it is taken up to the level of the director.”
Teachers’ director’s, staff’s houses and students’ houses live together in the same compound and are combined. The living arrangement in Starehe Boys Centre reinforces the relationship between the residents of the school. Kithyaka explained:
“Outside the classroom is where we can build that relationship and confidence both ways and that is one of the key things Starehe believes in building trust between the boys, the staff and other members of staff,”
“The idea is not to punish or to make you feel bad – to make you feel physically hurt but the idea is to tell you – please remember what you did is wrong – please remember you are accountable to your deeds.”
Kithyaka urged those responsible for teaching or nurturing the students to do so diligently in order to empower young people and offer them guidance, not only in academics, but also to mentor them into responsible citizens.
Speaking further, he said:
“As adults we tend to forget that young people will be given good guidance if they learn from us the good things that bring responsibility and the best thing is to have more adults spending more time with young people in school and remember out of 12 months, 9 months of the year are spent in school with their teachers and other staff and those are the moments we should be all be able to sacrifice, to input a lot positive interaction mentorship and accountability so that these young people can also pick from us.”
Out of more than 8,000 high schools in Kenya, 100 have been affected in the newest chain of school fires. More than 200 students and teachers have been detained following the unfortunate incident.
We urge schools which are either trying to delay exams, or enjoy unmerited holiday by carrying arson attacks, to learn from many of the other schools, especially Starehe Boys Centre.