A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
TOBIAH CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
The state of education in Kenya
Children With Hope started as an orphanage, but the Lord’s direction to expand our ministry into the realm of education became clear very quickly. As our babies grew, we faced the challenge of securing a quality education for children God had entrusted us with, and gained an immediate and painful perspective on the state of education in Kenya.
While children in Kenya are enrolled in school at a much higher rate than in most African countries, it’s not reflected in their academic abilities. In fact, a recent assessment of the basic literacy and numeracy skills of children in Kenya revealed that only 19% of Kenyan second graders could read a paragraph in Swahili – 65% of them were unable to even read individual words. Even fewer were able to read a paragraph in English. And only 20% could perform basic
addition and subtraction. It’s not uncommon for children in Kenya to graduate 8 th grade (finish primary school) without having mastered the equivalent of second-grade skills.
In a country where almost 90% of children will be enrolled in school at some point in their life, why is the education system failing so tangibly?
of Kenyan Second Graders could read a paragraph in Swahili.
of Kenyan Second Graders unable to read even individual words.
of Kenyan Second Graders could perform basic addition and subtraction.
Why is the education system failing so tangibly?
There’s a couple key factors: to start with, Kenya has faced a massive teacher shortage since around 2003. There’s simply not enough teachers to instruct the number of children enrolled, so children end up left unsupervised while one teacher attempts to manage several classrooms, or instructed by unqualified teachers who may have never finished even primary school themselves. A child might spend 11+ years in school but only receive 8 years’ worth of instruction because of the lack of qualified teachers.
There’s also no guarantee that a student – or a teacher – will even be in school on any given day. Attendance is often treated very casually in Kenya, and students are statistically likely to be absent around 15-20% of school days per term. What’s even more discouraging is the teacher absentee rates – on any given day, a little over 85% of teachers will show up to work, and most of the absentees will keep their jobs with no consequences.
Thirdly, there’s no such thing as free education in Kenya. While the government does provide public schools, parents who choose public schools will quickly be saddled with a host of fees – teacher fees, community program fees, textbook and uniform costs, exam fees, and more. Kenya has an incredibly high dropout rate simply because students are forced to leave if they aren’t in the proper uniform or sent home if they haven’t paid for a midterm exam.
Private schools in Kenya often have higher quality teachers and more consistent attendance, but the cost of private schools is even more overwhelming and an unrealistic burden for the majority of parents in a high-poverty country.
It’s no surprise that Children With Hope co-founders, Thom and Shari Seagren, began to look into education as a second branch for the ministry. The idea of securing education for our kids went through several iterations – teachers brought from the United States, an in-home school program for our kids – but eventually, with clear direction from the Lord, Children With Hope began to fundraise for the establishment of a brand new private school in Eldoret.
Tobiah Christian Academy Answers the Call
In 2018, God provided the funds and personnel for Tobiah Christian Academy to open its doors. From the beginning, TCA has been established to stand apart from other schools in Kenya. It’s a low-cost private school. There’s no sudden and hidden fees to hit parents unexpectedly. Our teachers are held to a high standard in curriculum, preparation, and attendance, and we have a minimum of one teacher per classroom. We focus on technological literacy and maintain a computer lab. We even provide transportation to school in ministry-owned 15 passenger vans.
What’s more important, Tobiah Christian Academy provides an education in an environment where kids, regardless of background, are consistently reminded of and encouraged in their unique value, God-given purpose, and endless potential as children of God and disciples of Christ.
The school has grown immensely since our first classes in 2018. Even faced with the challenges of repeatedly cancelled school during the global pandemic, we have seen the Lord expand the reach of the school and enroll not only our Tobiah Home children, but more and more kids from the larger community in Eldoret. As the student enrollment has increased, we’ve also been able to provide stable, fair-paying jobs to many incredible Kenyan adults who minister to these children as teachers, administrators, accountants, drivers, cooks, maintenance, and more.
The mission of Tobiah Christian Academy has always been to provide an environment that is not only academically sound but spiritually vibrant, and to supply our students with the resources and the passion to become instruments of change for Christ in Kenyan society. We believe that the school’s growth is a sign of the Lord’s hand over our ministry, and we praise Him for His favor and continue to seek His power and direction in every step of TCA’s development.
TCA CORE VALUES
Christ Centered Education
Engaging Learning Environment
Focus on Life Preparation
Help Us Serve
How You Can Help
Tobiah Christian Academy is not a self-sustaining school, which means that the tuition we charge each student does not fully cover our operating expenses. TCA relies on donations in order to maintain the property, purchase needed books and supplies, pay ancillary staff, and train our teachers.
Donating specifically to the operating expenses of Tobiah Christian Academy supports a commitment to excellence in Christ-centered education.
What About Secondary School?
TCA is a primary school, which means 8 years of education that loosely translate to US Kindergarten through 7 th grade. Secondary school, however, is also crucial to a Kenyan child’s future, and while we don’t offer secondary grades at TCA, we do intend for all of the Tumaini Children’s Home kids to have the opportunity to enroll in secondary school and earn a diploma. If you would like to find out more, or donate towards the secondary (and university!) education of our children, please visit our Education Funds page here!
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