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Inside Kenya’s most expensive school.

Every country has its own elite schools, where the children of the rich and powerful are educated. In Kenya too, this is no different. One school has recently opened in Karen, Nairobi, and if the trends are anything to go by, then be assured that it will take the education sector by storm. 

The classroom of the school looks like a computer lab. Only that it is eight-year-olds busy on the laptops and iPads as the teacher introduces the day’s lesson. It is history for Year 4- Standard 4 pupils.
In an ordinary Kenyan school, one would find them crowding their heads on an old book that has seen better
days. The lesson would probably be about the origins of “our” people, phenomena and what to find in the school’s environment.

Not in this school in Nairobi’s Karen neighbourhood. Here, each of the pupils is glued to a laptop or iPad with Wi-Fi connection.

Their teacher, Ms Rachel Cain, is also working on a laptop. Everyone is tech-savvy at Kenya’s trendiest and most expensive school, the GEMS Cambridge International School. It is arguably Nairobi’s newest school,
being only seven months old.

“They are using the iPads to get pictures and videos on these topics and transfer them to the laptop for final presentation,” explains Hannington Mauka, the subject teacher.
This is the trend at the GEMS Cambridge International School, which opened its doors in September last year. The British-system school offers the Cambridge school examinations.

Sitting on 17 acres off Magadi Road in the Karen suburbs, it cost the management Sh3 billion ($35 million) to put up the campus and install all the learning facilities.

The construction lasted just six months between February and August this year.
In its three months of operation, the school, which has a capacity of 1,080, has admitted 70 pupils of 15 nationalities.

A look at the school and the amenities shows not only quality but also affluence. 
One of the managers aptly describes it as a home away from home for the pupils.

It is not a school for the children of the average wage earner. It would cost a cool Sh22 million to take a child through the school from the foundation stage (FS) 1- standard one- to Year 13- standard seven. And you won’t even be done with the secondary education.

Under the British system, one needs to study up to Year 18- Form six- before going to university.
Mr Raminder Vig, the director of GEMS Africa and the chief academic officer at the school, says they will introduce the remaining five classes in the course of this year.

For the extra-curricular activities, the school has a half Olympic-size, 25m swimming pool, a 400m all-weather running track, cricket nets and playing fields which complement the indoor sports arena and multi-purpose hall that includes a drama and dance studio.

“Our fee is justified because the quality of teaching is exceptional and we guarantee that, with what we are offering here, every child will succeed,” says the principal.

Neeltje Sherwin, a parent whose daughter Maya is in FS 2- Standard 2, paying Sh500,000 per year, says she has been paying almost the same amount in smaller schools that do not match GEMS Education.

“The quality of education is worth every dollar I pay.” she concludes.

1 comment:

  1. We may not get here so soon, but Kenyan schools are heading here, where we shall have all student access computers comfortably without having to pay an arm for it, looking forward to this