Provision of Education

We consider education crucial to the long-term survival of Twana Twitu’s children. The facts speak for themselves. Unless we arm these children with academic ammunition, they are condemned to a life of poverty. Education is a means for earning a living and a vital tool for keeping these children alive, healthy and off the streets. You have heard it said that charity begins at home which is why Twana Twitu is determined to educate all secondary school level orphans. We believe that by investing in this group, we will not only be providing education, vocational skills training and/or survival skills, but also a means to support younger siblings.

Statistics on Education in Kenya Male Female
Illiteracy Rate, Percent of Population Age 15 and Over 11.12% 23.98%
Primary School Enrolment, Gross % of School Age Population 92.09% 92.10%
Secondary School Enrolment, Gross Percent of School Age Population 32.02% 29.24%

Source: UNFPA, 2001

In Kenya, there are three different levels of education; primary level education which is similar to elementary school in the US; secondary school which is similar to high school and university level schooling.Primary School Education:
Under Mwai Kibaki’s new government, all primary school children are entitled to free education. Indeed, their campaign slogan, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”, highly popularized the government’s free primary education programme (FPE) policy. The government has taken an aggressive stance against illiteracy and is actively pursuing parents and/or institutions barring children from obtaining their education. Resulting from this, there has been a new influx into schools and many institutions have found themselves ill prepared for the approximate 10 million primary school pupils now in attendance.

As the table above indicates, primary school attendance has always been significantly higher than secondary level education, owing to unaffordable tuition costs. Primary school education after all, is free…but is it really? We feel, that despite many improvements shown by the new government, sadly, the word “free” in this context still remains subjective. While official school fees are free, the cost of education in and of itself is not. Most schools have historically imposed levies that ultimately amount to more than the cost of regular fees. The fees charged are labeled various names such as construction fees, chalk fees, etc. and children, regardless of background, are subject to expulsion from school if unable to pay. Mwai Kibaki’s government forbids the exploitation of parents under the guise of paying for educational supplies and in December 2002, imposed a minimum sentence of two years and 50,000 Kenya Shilling fine (US $653) on anybody denying a child the right to education. That said, the basic costs of schooling still remain, as textbooks, school uniforms and the costs of school-subsidized meals are not included in basic tuition costs.

What does primary school education cost?
Though the cost obviously varies by grade and location, the general cost of one year of primary school is about ksh 5,000 ($71 USD), per pupil. This cost covers exercise and textbooks, activities and school uniforms.

Secondary School Education:
As indicated above, there is a significant disparity between the attendance at primary and secondary levels of education. The reason is purely financial; the government does not cover secondary school education.
Secondary level schooling unlike primary level schooling is also much costlier. Unlike other areas of the world such as the US and Europe where boarding schools are considered exclusive, such is not the case in Kenya. Most secondary schools, including those in the rural areas, are boarding schools. It goes without saying therefore that this is one of the reasons why tuition costs are higher. The schools house students for 9 out of 12 months a year, providing all meals, boarding expenses and extra curricular activity costs.

Tuition costs for secondary school education also greatly vary depending on whether a school is local, district or national. In addition, other categorizations such as whether a school is considered “high” or “low” cost, also impact the fees. Technical schools have separate structures. Twana Twitu has liaised with academic institutions in and around the Migwani area to ensure that all our children are allowed access to the education we pledge. When it comes to education, we take full charge. To avoid any misappropriation of funds, no money is given to the children or their custodial families. Instead, we pay all tuition costs directly to our attending schools. Currently they include the Kyamboo Secondary School, Nzeluni Girls’ School and Migwani Secondary School, just to mention a few. Following below is a summary of basic costs affiliated with secondary school:

Average Annual Cost of Secondary School Education
Uniforms $5,000 $71
Textbooks and Stationary $4,000 $57
Tuition and boarding $22,000 $314
Total per child per year $31,000 $430

(ABOVE) As part of our monitoring, we meet regularly with teachers to discuss progress.

(ABOVE)  A few of our secondary students striking a pose!