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Congested Mama Ngina Girls School to relocate to bigger land soon

By Reuben Mwambingu
Monday, September 6th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Ongoing construction of new Mama Ngina Girls High School. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

For decades, students at Mama Ngina Girls High School in Mombasa county have grappled  with sharing amenities, including classrooms, hostels and laboratories squeezed on less than an acre piece of land in Kizingo on Mombasa island.

The school principal Mwanahamisi Omar says the situation is so dire that the girls have no space to conduct their sports activities, and are forced to outsource playground facilities from a nearby sports facility.

“The only pitch that we have is the basketball court. We have been forced to hire the nearby Mbaraki Sports Club where we go to play on Tuesdays and Thurdays,” she told Scholar.

The school has been a household name for years for its outstanding record of posting a string of high-flying grades, until it slowly started reporting poor performance in the recent past.

In 2015, when the then director of studies at the school Geoffrey Githinji was asked about the school’s performance, he admitted that straight As had become elusive.

He attributed the performance to a number of challenges, key among them the congestion problem at the school.

 “In recent years, we have not seen students producing straight As. They dried up way back in 2010, but there have been a number of challenges attached to this.

For instance, we do not have a field for co- curricular activities. This has impacted negatively on our performance,” said Githinji.

Almost complete 

In 2019, the government through the Ministry of Education, would kick start an ambitious plan to relocate the Port county’s national school from its current location to a sprawling 30-acre piece of land in Shanzu, North Coast.

The then education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i delivered a Sh100 million cheque to the school and assured that construction was scheduled to commence immediately.

Already, Phase One of the project, which includes a tuition block of 21 classrooms, 30 offices, washrooms and four labs, is  85 per cent complete and is due for completion in the next two months, according to the principal.

After the first phase is complete, the principal says they expect to enter the second phase, which will involve construction of a hostel to host 1,000 girls.

Students and teachers are expected to start moving in to occupy their brand new modern structures after completion of the second phase of the institution in the next six months.

“We had requested the government to build us a hostel for 1,000 girls, which is expected to cost around Sh66 million.

We are currently waiting for the funds for the hostel. Once we have the hostels, we shall start moving in,” Omar said.

She explained to the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), which visited the site during an inspection tour of government projects in Mombasa how the school has endured decades of struggles in limited space before the turn of events.

“Whenever we had a function at the school, such as debates with other schools, especially boy’s schools, or even parents coming to visit us in the school, we had to lock our girls inside the hostels to allow us to hold the meetings.

So you can imagine that scenario,” she explains, adding the only space on the other side of the school is a basketball pitch that doubles up as the assembly ground.

Omar says when the education ministry issued the Sh100 million to have the school relocated, Shimo La Tewa High School had availed 10 acres for the project before later releasing another 10 acres and Shimo La Tewa GK prisons released an additional 10 acres to make a total of 30 acres.

More learners 

“Mama Ngina is the only girls national boarding school in Mombasa county. I want to thank the President for thinking of relocating this school. As you can see, tremendous progress has been made,” she said.

With the relocation, she said the “girlchild is going to benefit immensely” adding that the spacious structures will allow the school to accommodate more learners.

Once the project is done, unlike in the current situation, the new-look Mama Ngina will be  packaged  with ultra-modern sporting facilities, including an olympic-size swimming pool, standard soccer pitches, basketball, volleyball and netball courts and a running track. 

Established in 1988 as a public double streamed boarding school, the school is expected to double its intake after relocation, which will be a major boost to the realisation of education ministry’s 100 per cent transition policy from primary school.

“With the new structure, we can take up to a maximum of 10 streams, which translates to a maximum of 2,000 students.

This will be a vast improvement, because where we are currently, we have limited space that can only hold slightly below 900 students. 

We cannot take in more students while the demand is there,” she offered.

“Many are attracted to join this school, but because of space, we cannot take in more. The new school will comfortably admit more students,” she added.

She disclosed that currently she has letters of well performing students with up to 390 marks, but she is unable to accept them.

Senior Director at the Presidential Delivery Unit Polycarp Onyango said the project is part of the futuristic agenda of the President to set the standard for how schools should look like.

He said 100 acres have already been set aside for National schools in Lamu and Kwale counties with the objective of constructing model national schools.

Reuben Mwambingu