In a three-roomed class, a few metres off Malindi Road near Pwani University in Kilifi, is an adult education centre that is changing lives of area residents and giving them a second chance at education.
Second Chance Adult Learning Centre was started in August 2016 by David Kimani, 22, a student who was in his second year at Pwani University in Kilifi by then.
Mr Kimani, the founder and director of the school, said that through his interaction with people around the school it dawned on him that many adults in the area were illiterate.
“Our aim is to give Kilifi residents quality literacy skills and a second chance for both people who were not able to go to school and dropouts. We concentrate on young people who are not going to school but there is a big population of adults who are not educated,” Mr Kimani said.
The school started off with two students but now has 33. Mr Kimani used his pocket money and loan from friends to start the facility. At first, the centre was located in one small room which cost him Sh3,000 a month in rent.
Last year, Mr Kimani participated in the Safaricom’s Blaze competition and won Sh3 million, which he invested in the school. He moved the school to bigger premises where he pays Sh8,000 a month rent. It has three classrooms, a small library and a staffroom. Students pay Sh1,000 for registration. Primary and secondary school students pay Sh6,000 per term.
“At first I could not afford to pay teachers well. Also, expansion was a problem. Now the school enjoys the service of nine teachers and we hope to hire more,” said the Bachelor of Computer Science fourth year student.
Mr Kimani markets his school through posters and door to door flyers. Referrals have been a major marketing tool of the school, he said.
Ali Juma, 46, is a student at the adult school. Mr Juma joined the school last year and is in level two of secondary education (form three and four) and will sit for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) at the end of this year.
The father of four is a casual worker at the county government of Kilifi. After completing his primary education in 1994 he joined the jua kali sector as a mechanic.
He later became a driving school and mechanic instructor at a local polytechnic. He joined the hotel industry where he worked for seven years. Mr Juma has to balance between school and work though he acknowledges that it is difficult.
Another student, Lucy Michael, 20, is pursuing level one of secondary education (form one and two). She joined the school in April.
After completing her primary education in 2014, she failed to join secondary school due to lack of fees.
“Am glad that the school gave me another chance to pursue secondary education. I am working hard so as to pass my KCSE exams come 2019. I also hope to continue with college after completing the course,”Ms Michael said.
Principal at the school, Benson Mwangi, said students perform well. “Initially we face a lot of challenges trying to make the students put their minds back to class because most had stayed out for long. Once they catch up, they perform well. Last year one sat for KCSE and attained a D+ and the other sat for KCPE and got 200 marks,” Mr Mwangi said.