From 2011 until 2022, Unity Freretown Nursery and primary school catered for children aged 3 to 14 years. The school, stands on land currently owned by the charity. (In the process of being transferred to a Trust) Many of the children are not able to pay school fees or provide their own uniforms. Although primary education in Kenya is free, many are still at a disadvantage because they cannot afford uniform, books or examination fees. The Friends of Mombasa Children recognises this problem and ensures that children who need help receive it. We have a dedicated team of teachers, several of whom have worked with us since the Charity was formed.
In 2023 the education system in Kenya changed with Primary Education ending at age 11. A new National Curriculum was also introduced.
Changes at Unity School and across Kenya
January 2023 saw the implementation of the new system of education in Kenya. It is called the 2-6-6-3 system although the words used are not always consistent and both the “6’s” are subdivided. Since 1985 Primary schools have taken pupils from the age of 5 until 14. The new system is a little more like the one we are used to in the UK., with a change at the age of 11 years.
Our own school (Previously Unity Freretown Nursery and Primary) now becomes Unity Freretown Junior and Primary , And also Unity Freretown Lower Secondary School. The two schools have their own Headteacher and Uniform. Not all was plain sailing:
In December the Kenyan Government announced that all Junior Schools would be required to take the ‘lower secondary’ classes. This caused several problems for us and Unity School. A building adjacent to Unity School became available for renting, and after some last minute and very much appreciated financial support from some of our supporters, we were able to help the Unity School Management to secure these rooms. Desks, school uniforms and other equipment for the lower secondary was secured during the Christmas break in readiness for January 2023. After a very thorough inspection the Kenyan Ministry of Education have given Unity School the go ahead to host the lower secondary pupils. Further meetings have been arranged for all school directors and headteachers so this will not be the final story!
Unfortunately, the original Government directive that the lower secondary must be completely separate from the Junior part of Unity School, has now been changed by the Education Department, who have confirmed that the pupils must be in the same buildings as the Junior pupils. Unity School has one free room, so they can host the lower secondary pupils.
The Charity supports a number of able students to continue their education up to the age of 18. Some attend local day schools and others are in boarding schools. The better secondary schools in Kenya are usually boarding schools and, often, some distance from Mombasa.
We currently have nine Secondary School Students, placed in six different schools. Secondary schools in Kenya select students on the basis of their examination results in KCPE. All secondary schools are fee paying.
In 2016 four students who did especially well at Secondary School were sponsored by generous supporters to attend Universities. They are not the first of our students that have gone on to University, but the first whom have performed exceptionally well that The Charity felt it worth supporting them. All are orphans who have come through our school from the beginning. They are just completing their third year. In 2018 three more students commenced university, one is supported via the Charity.