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Daily Nation : February 8th 2014
SATURDAY NATION February 8, 2014 National News 3 WHAT’S IN A NAME? | It was meant to honour a warrior but it has been misinterpreted ‘Place of fools’ school name stirs controversy Parents, teachers and students see light in new name, Mwangaza, but elders say the Abatsotso people have been robbed of their pride BY BENSON AMADALA email@example.com have passed off as any other mundane event. But the symbolic gesture meant T to celebrate the valour of the Abatsotso clan hero in Kakamega county has triggered a storm that refuses to go away. The man is said to have singlehandedly confronted belligerent neighbours. Ebuchinga was the name cho- sen for a secondary school located next to Shibuli market on the Kakamega-Mumias road. In some Luhya dialects, the name Ebuchinga means “place of fools.” A string of poor performances in national exams by the school has not helped matters. In bad light Parents could not hide their disaffection of the name which they said portrayed the school in bad light. It was probably the cause of poor performance, some insisted. According to traditional folk- How come the primary school has been posting impressive results in KCPE exams?” Ambundo lore, Alubia, one of the sons of Mununi challenged the Abangonya clan to a fight and eventually drove them away. “Oli omuchinga busiro (you have lifted the heavy load),” Alubia’s younger brother Mareba who witnessed the fight told him in admiration. Mr Jason Andika Matanji, 77, says Alubia’s brother meant that the warrior had achieved a rare feat by driving away the Abangonya, who had tormented them for a long time. The irony was that great wrestlers were celebrated for he decision to name a school after the heroic exploits of a warrior would NATIONAL EXAMS KCSE results are not encouraging In the last five years, Ebuchinga Secondary School has not performed well in national examinations. In 2012, the school had 28 candidates and posted a mean score of 3.86, translating to a D+. In 2011, there were 23 candidates but the mean score was 4.30 still D+. Sixteen candidates sat for KCSE in 2010 and a mean score of 5.06 or a C-. Results were not any better in 2009 as the school had a D+ with a mean score of 4.29 from its 17 candidates. In 2008, Ebuchinga had 15 KCSE candidates but still, the results were nothing to write home about. The new head, Dorry Muyia, hopes there will be some improvement. 1956 The year Ebuchinga Primary School was started. It has been posting good results. their physic rather than their skill while tackling rivals. More often than not, they would grab their opponents and smash them on the ground to demonstrate their grit. With the victory, the place was to be known as Ebuchinga — a popular spot for wrestling contests. Little did the local people know that it would stir controversy in future. Because of the concern over performance, education officials had the name changed to Mwan- ISAAC WALE | DAILY NATION A class at Mwangaza Secondary School in Shibuli, Kakamega county. Clan elders want the school’s name to revert to Ebuchinga (place of fools in some Luhya dialects). They argue that ‘Mwangaza’ is meaningless. gaza (Swahili for light). But the elders want the original name. The day school was started 23 years ago, but it has a disappointing enrolment of merely 180. Its motto is catchy: “Discipline for Success” while the mission is rather convoluted: “Cultivating disciplined approach to academic and character and excellence to fit in a changing society.” Headteacher Dorry Muyia was posted there two weeks ago from Lirhanda Girls in Shinyalu. Mrs Muyia said when her sister learnt of her transfer, she was outraged. The neighbouring primary school, which shares a playground with the secondary school, has held onto the name Ebuchinga. “My sister wasn’t pleased at all when I told her I had been transferred to Mwangaza,” said Mrs Muyia. “Good performance depends on how much effort students and teachers make in preparing for examinations.” Mwangaza teachers complain of a heavy workload and lack of a library, dining hall and kitchen. Parents have fee arrears of more than Sh2 million. But this has not dampened Mrs Muyia’s spirits. “I have a dedicated team of teachers and students ready to put in their best to improve results. It is encouraging,” she said. Stolen pride Also in the neighbourhood is Ebuchinga Church of God. Also in the neighbourhood is Ebuchinga Church of God. Elders say the change of the name had robbed the people of their pride. Mr Andika, who served as a member of the school’s board, has sworn never to step in the school until the old name is restored. “We were offended by the de- cision based on misconceptions about the name’s meaning,” he said. Former Shibuli ward councillor Benedict Ambundo said the name change was taken by a former headteacher disappointed by the poor national exams results. “How come the primary school which was established in 1956 has been posting impressive results in KCPE exams?” asked Mr Ambundo. Interestingly, the school’s Journalism Club is very vibrant. Members spend time putting together anecdotes about life in and outside the school. They have been using their tal- ent and knowledge to correct the misconceptions about the school and bring out fascinating stories on life at the former Ebuchinga Secondary School.
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