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Gusii Diaspora Takes Action on Poor Education Performance in Gusiiland

Arlington, Texas

July 4, 2009

Attendees at the 4th Annual Gusii Educational Advancement & Resources (GEAR) have resolved to take action to address the poor performance of schools in Gusii schools in national examinations. Among proposed actions will be the adoption of schools to raise the standards of performance, creating model schools, and investing in early childhood centres. Others include the establishment of library resources and mentoring students.

The conference urged greater involvement and collaboration of community leaders and professionals in mentoring students. They decried political and religious interference in the running of schools and urged politicians to recognize the negative impact of their actions and the disservice this caused the students.

Some Attendees at the 4th GEAR Conference

Some Attendees at the 4th GEAR Conference

Kenyan Certificate of Primary Examination (KCPE) performance data showed that between the years of 2000 and 2007 the then three Gusii districts (Nyamira, Kisii Central and Gucha) consistently featured among the ten worst performers. “Nyamira was in the ten worst performers in all the seven years while Gucha and Kisii Central appeared six times in the category in that period,” said Dr Joshua Bagaka the GEAR Chairman.

Dr Tabitha Otieno presented research that showed that teacher dedication, access to resources and parental involvement enhanced performance while lack of resources, poor teacher commitment and poor learning environment caused poor performance.

In her keynote speech, Dr Truphena Choti, said that only 5% of high school attendees from Gusii make it to the university while 57% score no better than a D in the Kenya Certificate of Education (KCE) examination. In Nyamira, only 35% got a C or better grade. She wondered what happens to the large population of school dropouts and those that fail in examinations. Public schools were the worst culprits in this respect.

Causes identified include lack of parental involvement, poor learning environment, demoralized teachers, clanism and nepotism, political and religious interference in the running of schools, and lack of resources (books) and facilities (laboratory and workshops) for effective teaching. She cautioned over the mushrooming academies saying they drill children for passing examinations rather than learning.

“The poor economic environment is also a factor,” said Peter Isoe, adding that “there is lack of student motivation in part because even some that have pursued education remain unemployed and compete for menial jobs with those that never went to school.”

Dr Matunda Nyanchama urged more incisive assessment of causal factors to determine those with the greatest impact. Doing so would help determine allocation of effort, attention and resources. He further called for the scrapping of the 85% rule that requires schools to select not more than 15% of their students from outside the district. The rule confines students to their home districts and never gives them a chance to grow with national perspectives.

Prof. Meshack Sagini called for awareness of potential limitations of what is achievable by GEAR. He added that some systemic issues need collaboration with others beyond the means of GEAR.

Hebron Mosomi urged GEAR to identify achievable goals in the short and long term and focus time, effort and resources as necessary. He cautioned against “biting more than could be chewed”.

In his luncheon speech Dr Omari Onyango examined the community’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. The region’s fertile land, hard working population and risk-taking nature of the people need to be tapped for education attainment. However, the dwindling land holdings present major threats to economic performance. He cited the lack of collaboration and ongoing fragmentation as an impediment to pooling of resources for the common good. It is important that the community, professionals and the government worked together towards common goals and achievements.

Dr Kefa Otiso presented data on Kenyans in America, saying that rootedness in the Diaspora would enhance the community’s ability to address problems of education in Gusii. Those in the Diaspora should not forget the challenges of education and attainment in their adopted communities.

In working on solutions, the conference resolved to work with all stake holders as a matter of urgency.

GEAR Committee Oficials Present

GEAR Committee Officials Present

“This will be in line with the planned 2010 Annual GEAR Conference to be held in Gusii, Kenya, said Dr Nyanchama. The proposed 2-day conference will bring together educationists, professionals, and religious and community leaders to chart a common course in addressing problems of education in the area.

“The event will also mark the launch of GEAR in Kenya,” said Dr Nyanchama

Other speakers included Jared London who offered suggestions on collaboration and Augustus Otwori who presented a historical perspective on GEAR’s founding.

Organizers of the Dallas conference Meshack Boraya, Joshua Mochache, Hebron Mosomi and Amos Abuga expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the conference, and resolved to invest efforts to raise money for GEAR initiatives. In this respect, they have planned a fundraising dinner on Saturday July 4th, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.

Check GEAR website for further updates.

Related stories: The Launch of GEAR.


Comment from Charles Nyangau
Time: July 7, 2009, 8:45 pm

This sound like a noble cause to me.
I live in Dallas and to my suprise and chargrin could not attend this auspicious and informative forum due to non-publicity.
There should be a concerted effort to recruit members and diserminate information about GEAR events effectivelly in this age of technology.
All in all Bravo and good job for pioners of GEAR and I it more prosperous years ahead.

Comment from Emmanuel Ondoro
Time: July 8, 2009, 4:11 pm

Good work sir.
I’ll get you posted on plans I think would help you and your team.
Sesenigwa Omogambi.

Comment from chryspin Onkoba
Time: July 10, 2009, 7:40 am

Wonderful work. What GEAR is doing is timely. It is a dose that Gusii requires if it has to reclaim its lost glory in academic performance. The best we can do as a people with passion of our motherland is to positively contribute in remedying the situation.

The CENTRE FOR PARTNERSHIP AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT TRUST, (CEPACET) is ready to partner with GEAR in making all these efforts a living reality.

Thank you once again. Kindly visit our website.

Chryspin Onkoba
Programmes Director, CEPACET.

Gwakaniwe na Jared Akama Ondieki.

Comment from chryspin Onkoba
Time: July 10, 2009, 7:42 am

Sorry for that typing error. I meant gwakwaniwe na Jared Akama Ondieki

Comment from Biuta Magarita
Time: July 21, 2009, 11:19 pm

whoever that can assist with books and or any brainstorming of ideas, can get in touch with me through this website.asap

Comment from Sommerhusudlejning
Time: July 24, 2009, 2:23 am

School is where our children learn the formal education. It is a must that quality education would be given to its students.

Comment from KIhika Kimathi
Time: July 25, 2009, 12:21 am

Sommerhusudlejning , good trial.wht and who,where,how factors….tuff gong!, but good on your comment.Some of us have been abroad for more thn 10 years, we dont want to go to school?We are preoccupied with handouts and “doing something right now”procastinations. Honestly?I wish I could.Which way is it?how do I get there?

Comment from Samuel Omenta matusi
Time: July 28, 2009, 3:54 pm

Schools are there yes. The youth need more opportunities in business-mentoring ,protogees,guidance and moral support,above all, support networks that many luck in modern bureaucratic channels.We also require Information,as Kenyans(we love spoon-fed education),which hardly goes the miles to effectively compete in the global arena. Thank you for sharing you vision Dr.Matunda Nyanchama.

Comment from Jason Nyantino
Time: August 7, 2009, 3:53 pm

I am impressed beyond measure that you Kenyans in the diaspora are thinking in this direction. Education is the key..reallly. I was a teacher briefly in Gucha district and I can assure you, Gusii needs all of us. I now work in the media (TV) and host a leading talk show on TV called Agenda Kenya where I discuss some of these issues on a national scale. I will be glad to be part of the GEAR conference to be held next year so that I can help out on logisctics and focus areas. I live in Nairobi. Kudos abaminto. Tiga tobwatere abwo.

Comment from Edward Nyanchiro
Time: April 4, 2010, 11:18 am

I’m very impressed by the progress that has been made. It is high time we made progress to uplift our environment. It has been proved that nothing can be achieved unless we come out though such forums. But we must shun pride as most of our friends have. Some of our friends are just heading in one direction of obtaining PhDs forgetting that life is multi-dimensional. We must keep away hatred and work as a team to uplift our community.

Comment from Alex Onchong’a
Time: April 28, 2010, 5:45 pm

I am impressed by what you guys are doing for the good of the community,this is a step in the right direction and i hope GEAR would impact a great change in various factors affecting us.kudos.

Comment from Martin Gathua
Time: November 14, 2010, 2:57 pm

Hi,see you are still thinking about perfecting the home affairs despite your absence back home.
And as you deliberate on all this,i wish to humbly aknowledge to you that iam a property dealer with prime lands in ongata Rongai,kitengela,Thika and nyandarua .
Also prime Plots in Westlands,Parklands ,garden estate,Runda and many more areas.
Please pass my words to colleagues over there and i will be able to assist yopu from here.
My email address is ,cell phone 0721708734

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