Several candidates of this year’s KCPE examinations are still grieving not being selected to join their dream national high schools following the announcement on Monday.
But as they continue to protest, the main concern for 14-year-old Leakey Mark Finley Odhiambo is whether he will be able to secure admission to the prestigious Mang’u High School.
Leakey scored 424 marks in exams written at Arina Primary School, a public institution in Kisumu County, but unlike the protesters, his is not a problem of selection, but of lack of school fees.
“My concern is how I will join Mang’u, to where I was called, to be able to fulfil my dream of becoming a doctor,” he said on Tuesday, while asking the government and well-wishers for help.
Leakey, a partial orphan who lives with his mother, 36 year-old Josephine Anyango, at Manyatta slums in Kisumu town, on Tuesday narrated his journey to success despite numerous challenges.
The boy was born in 2005 and lost his father, Mr Gordon Leakey Agolla, in 2009, when he was only four years old.
His mother, a staunch Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) faithful, told of the struggles she underwent and the sacrifices she made raising Leakey and his younger brother, Emmanuel Hope, nine.
“Since their father died, I have struggled to raise them since I do not have a job. I sell vegetables and at times do menial jobs such as washing clothes within the estate, which earn a few coins. That is how we eke out a living,” she told the Nation in her bedsitter house in Manyatta.
“The money I earn from selling 'mboga' and washing other families’ clothes has not been enough but has at least enabled us to have basic necessities such as food and clothing."
A tearful Ms Anyango told of the time her former landlord threatened to lock her house a remove a sheet of iron from the roof to push her out over rent arrears.
“I lived in a house whose rent was Sh750 but I could not sustain the payments. I had to ensure my children ate ... this led to bad blood between us and the landlord,” she said.
Ms Anyango also narrated how, on many occasions, some teachers at Arina helped her by paying examination and other fees for Leakey.
“They have been of great help to me. Some members of my church have also offered a helping hand. I am proud Leakey did not let us down. My only fear is that he may now fail to join high school due to lack of fees,” she said.
Leakey attributed his sterling performance to waking up at around 4 am to revise.
“Sometimes I requested for textbooks from my colleagues since I did not have any,” he said.
“Waking up at that time was not rosy as it affected my mother and brother because I had to use the lights in our single-room house to read as they slept. I thank my mother for her perseverance. At least it yielded good results."
Leakey implored well-wishers to come to his aid and help keep alive his dream of becoming a doctor.
“My father died when I was just four years old. At that time, I watched him suffer but could not do anything to save his life. For that reason, I have been praying for God to help me achieve my dream of becoming a doctor I can save the down-trodden in society, who cannot afford medication."
While releasing the results of the secondary school selection exercise on Monday, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha 30,000 candidates had been placed in schools they had not chosen.
Prof Magoha attributed the decision to lack of schools in counties where the candidates wrote the tests but said the placement reflected their performance.
He blamed some candidates for bad choices, saying majority picked the 18 elite national schools and gave 85 newly-upgraded institutions a wide berth.
“I ask parents, guardians and teachers to work closely with candidates during the process of selecting schools to ensure they make the right choices,” he said.