As teachers strike, kids turn to PlayStation

July 17, 2013 2:19 pm
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The pupils, who come from schools such as Roysambu Primary School, spend their days camping at the video games shop/MUTHONI NJUKI
The pupils, who come from schools such as Roysambu Primary School, spend their days camping at the video games shop/MUTHONI NJUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17- Somewhere in Nairobi’s Zimmerman estate is a video café that has for the past four weeks had a fat bank balance, as pupils from nearby public schools throng it for their favourite PlayStation series to while the crippling teachers’ strike away.

The pupils, who come from schools such as Roysambu Primary School, spend their days camping at the video games shop, as their privately schooled counterparts continue learning and preparing for the end of term exams.

But as they enjoy the FIFA PlayStation series or wrestling games, it does not escape one’s mind that both privately and publicly sponsored school goers will sit for the same national examinations at the end of the year.

They will both be battling for the same space either in high school or in university.

And that is the sad reality of the debilitating teachers’ strike.

Café owner Albur Chomba says he has made profit of Sh10,000 since the teachers started boycotting their work stations.

“Since the strike started I have made about Sh10,000. These children fill up my shop waiting for their turn because I only have three monitors,” he explains.

He adds that the pupils take to his store every day from 9am and some remain there until he closes shop at around 8pm.

And for their favourite game, each player parts with Sh10 for every 10 minutes they sit in front of the computer monitors with their joy sticks in hand.

Where they get the money is a topic for another day.

“They come in the morning and spend the whole day playing. I don’t know why many of them have not turned out yet because I normally have a bigger number here at this time of day than you can see at the moment. But I know they will still come,” he says.

Chomba, who completed his high school education last year, however argues that the strike should be called off blaming the 2012 strike for his poor performance.

One of the pupils at the video games shop, dubbed ‘PlayStation’, told Capital FM News that he did not report to school on Wednesday because when he did so on Tuesday there were no teachers.

Another young gamer, who however reported to school on Wednesday, said that teachers at the Roysambu Primary School asked him and his colleagues to go back home at around 10am.

“We went to school but were asked to go back home by our teachers,” a boy only identified as Maina said when Capital FM News caught up with him in his green uniform on his way home.

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