Last Friday, four Lakipia East (Daraja’s district) high schools joined Daraja Form 4 students in an English and Swahili symposium, the first of its kind. While educational symposiums have been used as a tactic for boosting test scores around Kenya, this is perhaps one of the first whereby an entire district joined forces in an effort to boost education.

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A little over a month ago, Daraja’s head staff gathered with other Laikipia East heads of schools to discuss what were, unfortunately, lower-than-expected KCSE test scores around the district. (In its first-ever KCSE year, Daraja had the third-highest KCSE scores of all 18 Laikipia East schools.) The heads of schools decided to join in numerous symposiums over the course of this year so that high school seniors could learn from one another.

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Later in the year, these same five schools will gather to cover symposiums that include sciences (chemistry, physics), math, geography, and history. So far, the first symposium, whose focus was both English and Swahili literature, was a useful tool. “We did it to bring students together and help us teach each other. Teachers were only there to help us where we were unable to explain,” said Mercy, a Daraja Form 4. Some of the literature they discussed included “The River Between,” “Shred of Tenderness,” “Utengano,” and “Mstahiki Meya.”