90-year-old ex-whites only Kitale School boon for locals

Monday November 11 2019

Kitale School. It is one of the few pre-colonial learning institutions in the country. PHOTO | GERALD BWISA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Started 90 years ago, Kitale School has withstood the test of time to maintain high education standards in the region.

Located about two kilometres from Kitale town, the school sits on 70 acres and is among five pre-colonial learning institutions in the country. Others are Nairobi School, Molo School, the Hill School in Eldoret and Nyeri Primary School.

The institution was set up by the British colonial government under the sponsorship of the Church Mission Society (CMS), current-day Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).

When Sir Edward Grigg became governor in 1925, he provided funds for building the school which admitted white learners only.

The agricultural depression of the 1930s and the locust invasion that caused extensive crop damage spelt doom for the town, adversely affecting the growth of the school.

It was not until the end of World War II that the deployment of British army soldiers boosted the fortunes of Kitale town, positively impacting on the school's growth.



Some of the renowned individuals who attended the school include the late founder of Starehe Boys Centre Geoffrey William Griffin (1938 to 1945).

Businessman Mogul Paresh Tanna was the first Asian child to enrol in 1962 after the institution opened its doors to non-whites when Kenya gained independence in 1963.

“Initially, only whites were allowed in the school. The first black children to join the school were the likes of Richard Etemesi,” Mr Tanna told the Nation.

The institution has since remained a household name on both the academic and the sporting scenes despite having a huge population of 1,700.

Head teacher Emel Sitienei Chuma says the institution treasures its architectural uniqueness in the old brick-walled buildings with regular refurbishment.


He adds that despite the prestige associated with the school, it is faced with some infrastructural challenges since the government stopped full sponsorship in 1993.

The Alumni Association has kept the culture of giving back to the institution by organising events geared towards supporting the institution.

On December 13 this year, the old students body will hold a reunion party at the school to raise funds for refurbishment of some facilities.

"There is need to improve the infrastructure as well as equip dormitories, the computer laboratory and library,” said Mr Peter Kebati, the chairman.

This is in line with the spirit of the late Griffin who once said: “Whatever is your duty, do it as fully and perfectly as you possibly can. And when you have finished your duty, go on to spare some time and talent in service for less fortunate people, not for any reward at all, but because it is the right thing to do.”

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