By Niccola Milnes and Rita Field-Marsham
A really interesting revelation that came out of my meeting with Precious Blood Girls Secondary School and their Board of Governors yesterday was in a discussion about the school’s status as a Provincial School, as opposed to a National School. I was curious because St. Patricks, the other school that we are running our pilot program with, recently gained its status as a National School and was ecstatic about it because that means that they can recruit talent from across the country, and not be limited by only being able to recruit from the province of Kenya in which they are situated. Usually, schools work extremely hard to gain their National status as they regard it as an enormous mark of pride, achievement and opportunity.
Precious Blood, on the other hand, spends considerable time fighting against getting National status, which it has been eligible for for quite some time. Despite being continuously pushed by the government to take on National status, the school has resisted it as it believes this would be detrimental to the access the they provide for the education of girls in their area – Nairobi province. As it stands now, Precious Blood brings in girls from all around Nairobi Province, giving those in underserved areas like Kibera slum, for example, a chance they most would not have if Precious Blood was a National school. The school is very aware of this fact. Some of their brightest and top performing students come from Nairobi Province. They are recruited and don’t typically excel in their studies until they receive the encouragement, support and mentorship at Precious Blood. These girls would be overlooked for admission if Precious Blood was a National school because their results at selection time would never match up to the K.C.P.E. results of Kenya’s top National school candidates.