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Revive ‘harambee’ streams for local students, if to pay back to pioneers

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Many years ago, nearly all public secondary schools had a “harambee class”. As schools admitted students from all over the country, this was reserved for local children. They were admitted with slightly lower marks but, soon afterwards, would learn alongside their peers.

This gesture ensured a bond between the local people and the school. But this cannot be said of the same schools today. Little wonder that these school have very few or even no student from the locality. How many students from Gatundu are in Mary Hill Girls High School, or Kikuyu or Kabete residents in the Alliances?

The foundation blocks of nearly all the early schools were laid by the local people. In some instances, they donated part of their land to have them built.

As counties admit pupils from “everywhere” to these schools with title or no consideration of the local communities, the government and donors pump in more funds. Also, the schools have the highest allocation for development and expansion.

When CDF allocates money to a national school with a few local students — or none — how does the community benefit?

The local people are simply locked out in nearly everything — except, maybe, menial jobs. Firewood, milk and other supplies that could be readily available from the locality are sourced from God-knows-where.

We must pay back the pioneers by allowing their grandchildren to learn at the schools, do genuine business with them and be employed there. Only then, we shall not be accused of betrayal.

Mungai Joe Ngige, executive secretary, Knut Thika, Kiambu.

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