Parents from the Boni minority community in the terror-prone Basuba ward in Lamu are celebrating after the top student Ali Mohamed scored 261 marks in the KCPE exam.
They said the score is well deserved, considering the difficult environment the learners found themselves in. They were exposed to threats of al Shabaab attacks.
All the five primary schools in Basuba remained closed for more than four years since 2014 after teachers fled because of terror attacks. Many schools in the area were torched by the militants.
The schools that were closed are Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools.
Candidates revised for the exam without their teachers.
They were transferred to a safer learning centre at Mokowe Arid Zone Primary School in Lamu West where they did last-minute preparations for the exam. The top student at the school scored 317.
Speaking at the school on Tuesday, headteacher Omar Ile said Boni pupils performed well considering their circumstances.
Two Boni girls Hawa Warre and Mariam Noi scored 260 and 243, respectively.
Ile said he was proud of the Boni students.
“These are children whose schools have been closed for over four years. They never got normal learning nor did they revise like the rest of the pupils,” he said.
“They lived in an insecure area but were still able to do their best. We couldn’t be more proud of them. They would have performed better in a conducive environment.”
Ile said in the past, most of the students from the community scored below 200 marks.
Parent Shukri Mohamed said the Boni are looking forward to one of their children joining a national school.
“We have made history. For us, this is a big deal. People from other parts of Kenya might wonder why we are celebrating 261 marks when they are talking of 400 plus but we are proud of our son.
“We never imagined our children could shine especially after schools remained closed. We hope the government will give these kids a chance to join schools like of Alliance and Starehe. They are bright kids,” Mohamed said.
Basuba Ward MCA Deko Barissa asked the government to pay special attention to students from the Boni community when Form One placement begins.