After making headlines as the leading county with teenage pregnancies, girls in Kilifi have outperformed their male counterparts in the just released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.
Beating all odds, two girls from poverty-stricken families emerged top in the national exam results announced by Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed on Monday.
Bamba Kofi Academy pupils Mercy Nzingo and Rachael Rehema scored 439 and 434 marks, respectively.
The county made news two weeks ago when it emerged that at least 13,000 primary and secondary schoolgirls were reported pregnant.
Coincidentally, Nzingo and Rehema are beneficiaries of a sponsorship programme from the school which supports needy but bright children.
Speaking to People Daily, Nzingo, the fourth born in a family of eight, said she did not expect to be the best candidate in the county.
“Although I was expecting to do well given that I had worked very hard and committed my time to my studies, I did not expect to be the leading student in Kilifi. I hope to continue excelling and in the near future, transform the lives of my siblings,” said an elated Nzingo.
She added that she is hopeful she will be admitted to Alliance Girl’s High School or Kenya High in her journey to becoming a surgeon.
Coming from a single-parent family, Nzingo said she heeded advice from her mother to focus on her education and avoid peer pressure.
Mary Safari, her mother, said it has been tough raising her family single-handedly but Nzingo’s exemplary performance has motivated her to work even harder to fend for her children.
Rehema, who hails from Gede trading center, celebrated her victory with her parents. She said dedication and hard work was the secret to her success and thanked her family and school authority for support. She added that her school of choice is Alliance Girls’, and wants to become a lawyer.
“I would like to urge girls to focus on their future and stop concentrating on issues that compromise their dreams,’’ she said.
Her father, Johnson Masha, said they expected Rehema to do well because her performance in school was above per. Bamba Kofi Academy had registerd 25 candidates for this year’s KCPE.
Other Girls who topped in the Coast region are Jasho Quinter (Little Star primary school) 422, Halima Murutu (Sheikh Zayed primary school) 425, Farhat Alone (Nyali School Mombasa) 427, Laura Nyadzua Tungu (Light Academy) 428 and Nurai Mohamed of Memon Academy 428 marks.
Schools that recorded best performance include Memon Academy, Aga Khan Primary and Nyali Primary School, all in Mombasa.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya’s son, Hassan Wanini Mvurya, scored 440 marks out of a possible 500 becoming the top student in Coast region.
Also in the top were Mtwapa Elite Academy Kilifi, Busy Bee Academy in Mombasa, Light Academy, St Kevin Schools, Sheikh Zayed Primary and Light Academy.
In Shimo La Tewa Maximum Prison, Iteke Gechiko topped the with 312 while Mzee Thomas got 304 marks in a class of 27 candidates who had sat the exam.