, NAIROBI, Kenya, November 10 – Many people view education as the cornerstone of a successful life. Indeed, every facet of our life revolves around getting some form of training whether formal or informal to help us mitigate the circumstances we live in.
How true the words of an ancient quote that ‘It is only the ignorant who despise education.’ This quest to gain knowledge began eons ago with early groupings coming together to gather education.
The achievements of ancient civilizations of Egypt and Ethiopia are well known. Then early in the first millennium of the Common Era, the Moors and other peoples on the northern fringe of Africa made notable contributions to world education and culture.
During the past 1,000 years, the Saharan and sub-Saharan peoples had several centers of learning, Timbuktu, Agadez, Gao, Katsina and Borno, where books written in Arabic were in great demand.
The yearning to have quality education has gone on up to this day with companies seeking people with particular educational backgrounds to be part of their corporate teams. They even go as far as organising corporate events by funding and building schools as part of their corporate social responsibility.
In a bid to realise its Community Social Responsibility to Kenyan society, Citi Bank embarked on a noble initiative that sought to among other things to build classrooms in Olturoto Secondary school situated in Kajiado district.
Citi Bank East Africa Managing Director Ade Ayeyemi said that this would ensure a smooth transition of the current form two students to forms three and four enabling them to complete their secondary school education.
"As Citi Bank in Kenya, we have chosen Olturoto Secondary school to provide support in terms of building two classrooms, enabling them to connect power, and in terms of rehabilitating the borehole that was in the school but not functioning," he said.
Apart from building classrooms, the bank’s managing director stressed the need to conserve the environment through the planting of trees.
In this regard, the bank partnered with the school to plant 1,000 tree seedlings and sought to ensure the future survival of the seedlings by completing the borehole project at the school which will provide the institution with a clean source of water and translate to the students getting quality education.
"We have planted about 1,000 trees that we want the children at the school to look after as part of our contribution to try and support the community," Mr Ayeyemi said.
He emphasised the need to develop the school’s infrastructure to provide the students with quality education.
"The school is by and large only a secondary school within almost a 30 kilometre radius it is important that the kids will have the classrooms to use."
Ms Shellmith Matindi who is a student at Olturoto Secondary school appreciated the endeavor by Citi Bank to smoothen the road to knowledge for her.
The form two students said that her dreams would come true as a result of the completion of the classrooms. She explained that most of her colleagues dropped out as a result of early marriage but still, this did not deter her from pursuing her dreams to become a pilot.
"I do not want to be married (at an early age). I want to be someone of my own principles. As long as I can stand by myself in future, then I am not complaining at all," she said.
"I can do all this by finishing my education and I want to thank Citi Bank for making this possible as a result of building these two classrooms," she added.
Olturoto Secondary school Principal Peter Gathaga likened the initiative by City Bank to Manna from Heaven and said that it would go a long way in molding the lives of young people in the region.
He stated that the classrooms built would provide a conducive environment to the students as they will be protected from the harsh elements of weather prevalent in Kajiado.
He pointed out that this would in turn improve their ranking nationally.
"The lack of infrastructure has impacted negatively on the provision of quality education especially in sciences," The head teacher said.
"Now that Citi bank is helping us, the students can’t now say that we do not have a laboratory and that is why we are performing poorly." he stated.
He stressed the need for the students to strive to be role models in a community rife with early marriages which disrupt the education of the girl child.
"We are trying to tell them that they are going to be the role models in the future. If they fail at this time, they have failed the community even in the days to come," he emphasised.
"We are trying to be encourage them to stick and at least practice abstinence, but I can tell you that being the only day school in the community, that is where the problem is because they appear to be the only mature girls for marriage," he pointed.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti who was the guest of honor during the event lauded Citi Bank’s efforts in taking education closer to the communities in Kajiado.
He said that such efforts were commendable and would go a long way in reforming the government’s free primary and secondary education programme.
"Lots of reforms have been carried out in education by governments in Africa out of the realisation that we need knowledge in order to tap resources in the continent," the Internal Security Minister stated.
He pointed out the important role education played in the development of the nation as it produced think-tanks who make and implement development policies.
"Africa has the largest deposit of resources so all that we need is the know how to get and utilise the resources that are available," he said.
He urged other corporate institutions to take part in such endeavours as it would prevent brain drain and contribute to the economic development of the country.
"It does not matter how small you are as a country. You cannot ignore that today, we are confronted by what we call global competitiveness because the economy has become global and the only way we can be able to survive as developing countries is to invest in education," he said.
"If we do not become part of globalisation, then we shall be marginalised by globalisation."
There are clearly many challenges to getting a good education today. But such an education is quite possible today if both students and parents use the keys provided by the government and like-minded private companies to open the door to a prosperous future.