Secondary School Sponsorship . . . Program Description
Christ’s Gift Academy is a God-centered school providing education for preschool through 8th grade. CGA is not able to provide high school education at our facility, and so we help our students join quality high schools throughout different parts of Kenya after finishing primary school.
Currently, in Kenya, at the end of 8th grade, students around the country take their National Exams (KCPE), usually in October/November. The KCPE ranks all of the students (around 700,000 - 800,000) in Kenya, and secondary schools use the results to select students to invite to their schools. The best secondary schools try to select the students with the highest scores. There are 5 subjects that are examined in Primary School: Math, Science, Social Studies/Religion, English and Kiswahili. Each of the five subjects is worth 100 points for a total of 500, but there is moderation done in some subjects so that the highest score is usually around 80 in Math, Science and SST. Because of the moderation, typically the top student in the country will score around 430 marks out of 500. A score of 250 is considered passing and a score of 300 is considered a “quality pass.” If a child manages to get 350, that is a very good result. 400 and above will rank them among the best in the entire country. CGA usually has a mean around 320 and is usually ranked in the top 5 out of 100 schools in the district. All of the other top schools are boarding schools that keep their students in class until 9:00 pm on weekdays and bring them back for classes every Saturday and Sunday. CGA places importance on self guided studies at night and on the weekend to prepare the students for what is ahead. We also believe it is important they have time to spend with their families and church communities and to develop other talents and abilities outside of the classroom. Our test scores show that we can still be competitive doing it that way. Very few of our students don't reach the pass mark.
The performance on this test will determine which high school, if any, they may attend. Many of the schools are boarding schools, and come with a price tag beyond the reach of most Kenyans. In addition to school fees, each student is also responsible for the cost of their uniform, bedding and personal items. This is why the majority of Kenyans are not able to obtain a high school education. It’s our ambition at CGA, that each student have the chance to complete their education with a high school certificate. With the excellent education that they have received at CGA, almost all of our students qualify for high school, and we assist them with their financial requirements. Since the majority of our students are AIDS orphans, and have no financial means to pay high school costs, this can only be possible if their sponsors commit to continuing their sponsorship, in partnership with CGA. The sponsorship amount in secondary school is still $45 a month or $540 a year. It helps us if the sponsor is able to pay the full amount at the beginning of the calendar year because most of the fees and other associated costs are required early in the school year. If not, we are grateful for the consistent monthly support.
The secondary school sponsorship money goes into a pool for secondary funds that allows us to assist and monitor all the students in the various schools they attend. We try to help each of our students in their next area of learning, but we do not take full responsibility for everything. Their families and the community also have to contribute financially. The amount of school fees that we pay for a student is based on the cost of the different schools they attend, how well the student performed on their KCPE and the need of the family. Students that are complete orphans require more assistance than those who have two parents in the home. We base the scholarship on their performance because we want it to motivate them to work hard and because we want to make our highest investment in those that are going to make the best use of it. Our support helps make their high school graduation a reality, a difference that will last a lifetime.
After finishing their national exams, we help prepare our graduates for the next level by hiring secondary teachers to come for two weeks to begin introducing high school Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Math. The students also come for another week at the end of December with our older secondary students to learn much from them. Finally, we take two more weeks in January before they leave for secondary school to prepare them physically, academically, socially and spiritually for life in high school. Those that take full advantage of that opportunity benefit greatly and get off to a good start. After all of that preparation and training, they join good secondary schools during the first week of February, most of them in boarding schools. In Kenya only 1 in 5 students who begin primary school end up moving on to secondary school, so we feel blessed at CGA that almost all of our kids who begin primary school move on to secondary.
Once they have joined their various secondary schools, CGA provides oversight for each student at their various campuses throughout Kenya. We also send their sponsors an annual academic progress report and update on how the student is doing. The students continue to write letters to their sponsors a couple of times each year.
It is a difficult transition to attend secondary school in Kenya, similar to going away to college in the U.S. Most of them are in boarding schools and it is their first time living away from home. The typical schedule is similar to this:
4:30 am Wake-up and bathe
5:00 Morning study time
6:30 Breakfast (cup of hot porridge)
7:00 Chores around the compound
8:00–4:00 pm Classes (usually a 20 minute break in morning for tea and around 40 minutes for lunch)
4:00-5:30 Games and sports time
7:00-9:30 Evening study time
As you can see, it is a very long day and they are kept busy from early morning until late at night. It is difficult at first for most of them, but they usually adapt quickly.
The yearly schedule is exactly the same as for primary schools.
January - March Term 1
May – July Term 2
September - November Term 3
They will all return to Mbita during the school breaks in April, August and December. During their breaks we have two weeks of holiday remedial teaching for all of our secondary students. It is voluntary for those that need extra help in Math, Physics and Chemistry. We also bring all of our secondary students together every holiday for a week of spiritual encouragement, team building and other activities.
Most of these children will be successful in secondary because of the strong foundation they have received at CGA. Many of our kids are selected as leaders in their new schools and they see themselves as missionaries on their campuses.
At the end of their four years in high school, all of the students will take another national exams called the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Around 300,000 students across Kenya will take the KCSE. It is done over the course of three weeks. They do exams in 8 subjects. Some are mandatory such as English, Math, Kiswahili, Biology etc.; and there are other electives they can choose between like Physics, Chemistry, Business, Agriculture, Computers etc. They feel a lot of pressure and stress during this time because their performance on this test will determine much of their future possibilities. Though the students’ national exams end in November, their time of testing is not over. The next year can present many tests of temptation as the students wait four months for their exam results and begin to navigate future possibilities. Their "gap year" is a transition from a rigid and busy academic routine to the more casual setting of their rural home.
In our first few classes about 75% have qualified for University with about 30% qualifying to go through government sponsorship. Several of our former students are now studying in universities or other mid-level colleges, preparing to begin their careers and helping to break the cycle of poverty in their families.
Without the support of CGA and our sponsors, many of these students would never have the chance to reach this far in their education. These sponsors help to make their high school graduation a reality, thanks to their faithfulness. Their support is making a difference that will last a lifetime. It is our vision at CGA to see God's Kingdom come to Kenya through the lives of these students. We are thankful for our consistent and faithful supporters that help us reach this goal.
Please continue to pray for these students in this critical stage so that we can see God’s Kingdom come to Kenya through their lives.
- Thank God for their success and how far he has already brought them.
- Pray for their physical health and being able to adjust to a new schedule and a new environment.
- Pray for their academic success, that they would make the most of their personal study times and their lessons. Pray for success in the exams they take.
- Pray for them to come to know Jesus if they don’t already have a relationship with Him.
a. If they already know Jesus, then pray for their spiritual growth.
b. That their character would be developed to be more like Jesus.
c. They would stand strong against temptations they will face
d. They would be salt and light in their schools, reaching out to others with the love of Christ.
If you would like to send them any letters or care packages to the student you sponsor, please send them to:
Christ’s Gift Academy
P.O. Box 110
Mbita, Kenya 40305
If you have any specific questions, please feel free e-mail Joe Peterson.