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By Eric Omwombo 

Walking a total of 12 Kilometers every day from home to school and back as well as being a total orphan did not stop Ryan Ochieng from scoring A—(minus) with 79 Points in the 2023 KCSE examination.

Master Ryan Ochieng. Photo: Eric Omwombo

Ryan who hails from Nyandiwa village in Central Alego Ward of Siaya County was a student at Obambo Mixed Secondary School.

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Ryan was top among 186 candidates who sat for the 2023 KCSE exams from the little-known school.

When the results were announced officially released on Tuesday by Education CS Ezekiel Machogu, Ryan was sweetly surprised to notice that he was among the top performers countrywide. With great humility, he attributed his success to God’s grace.

Being a day scholar out of lack of boarding fee Ryan said:

“I never had enough time to revise my books like my other colleagues in the boarding section who enjoyed evening and morning preps. Still, I had confidence I could outperform most of them.”

During Registration Ryan Ochieng was index one at Obambo Mixed Secondary School. His performance has always been outstanding although he says it came as a surprise when he scored the A minus.

Mr. Pius Ongonga, Principal Obambo Mixed Secondary School. Photo: Eric Omwombo

He reminisced sentimentally about the death of his father, saying:

“When my father died I thought that was the end of me as my mother could not afford to pay my fee,” said Ryan Ochieng.

Subsequently, he was to be a beneficiary of the Alego-Usonga NG-CDF kitty under the auspices of MP Samuel Onunga Atandi.

“I’m happy that my achievement today is the result of the support from well-wishers and NG-CDF. Am not sure about the way forward from here but I will be eternally grateful if a sponsor would come up to help me achieve my dream of pursuing a degree in medicine.”

Mr. Pius Ongonga, Principal at Obambo Mixed Secondary School speaks highly of Ryan.

“Ochieng is one of the three orphaned students who posted very impressive results despite his domestic handicap. The others are Christine Otieno with a B plus and Obiero Michael who also scored a B plus,” said Mr Ongonga.

He added that hard work pays and the investment and goodwill that society placed on Ryan had paid off.

He further appealed for well-wishers to consider supporting Ryan to pursue the course of his choice at university.

Gate of the little-known Obambo Mixed Secondary School. Photo: Eric Omwombo

In the meantime, Mr. Ongonga has decried the decline in performance which only saw 12 candidates in the present cohort make direct entry university grades.

“This year we had 1 A minus, 2 B minus, 2 B plain, and 4 C pluses and others though the mean was 3.4595 against 3.9 for 2022.”

Ongonga attributed the dismal performance to challenges of school fee payment often resulting in absenteeism.

He added that the level of school fee payment is very low so most of the students spent most of the time going home to collect fees.

Meanwhile, Siaya Education stakeholders have been urged to step in and save Mwer Boys High School from collapsing.

According to the principal Joshua McOyucho ever since the school was reduced to a sub-county institution, its performance has dwindled considerably.

The institution, he said, requires incisive drastic measures to revive its once prestigious position among Siaya schools.

The once respected Mwer Boys High School now has a student body of 200 both in the boarding and day segments.

“We face a dire lack of infrastructure that saw Mwer reduced to a sub-county school. Even the office that hosts me has been condemned by Public Health officials as unfit,” said McOyucho.

It’s so irritating that Mwer which has a tradition of enrolling students with above 300 marks now pleads to have students with 200 marks. Somehow they are still expected to compete with well-equiped schools.

“It’s the poor status of the infrastructure that led to the dismal performance of the students,” said McOyucho, adding “out of the 42 students who sat for KCSE, only 5 are going to university.”

The school posted a mean of 3.47 yet it had a mean of 4.1 in 2022.

Last year 4 students qualified for direct entry into the university

He further appealed to the government to change its strategy for developing school infrastructure through the capitation pegged on number of the students.

“The Ministry of Education needs to give funds for infrastructural development other than directing for such funds be deducted from Capitation. The strategy is killing schools with low population,” he said.

He observed that with improved infrastructure and more recruitment of teachers, enrolment was bound to improve.

The school currently lacks a physics teacher, a library and a laboratory.

“For the past six years, we have sent a proposal to NG-CDF but no action has been taken,” said a sad Mr. McOyucho.

He however lauded the efforts of some Mwer alumni who took the initiative to buy the school a photocopy machine.

 

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