We envisage that in years to come Kapumpe Primary School will grow into a school that can also offer secondary education. We believe this is necessary as at present there is not a secondary school (grades 10-12) in the Kaniki area. Currently, those children who manage to pass their grade 9 exams have to go to one of the secondary schools in Ndola town and this in itself poses several problems. Where possible Arise organises for children to live with relatives they have in town, but when there is no willing relative available Arise pays for a group of 2-4 boys to rent a very basic house together. In some cases Arise also provides them with food. Arise does not rent houses for girls in town as it is not safe for them to be staying on their own. Instead of that, where there are no relatives for the girls to live with, Arise helps with their transport costs.
Obviously it is not ideal for young people to have to be away from their home environment in order to go to school. Not only do the boys in town lack parental supervision and daily encouragement/support but also their household chores are a distraction from their studies. It has even been found that some have skipped school in order to do ‘piece-work’ (small short-term jobs).
Right now the best Arise can do for these children is to continue sending KOP volunteers to check on them and encourage them in their schooling, but this is obviously not a long-term solution. There are said to be plans underway in the local government school to build a secondary school in the Kaniki area and if it happens that may help. The local people we have spoken to do not seem confident that this new secondary school will be successful and many doubt it will ever be built. While we wait for the right opportunity to start our secondary school, therefore, we are also looking into ways of getting our own Arise bus which will at least prevent children needing to live in Ndola town during the school term – taking them on a bus is also more financially viable than paying house rents.
While recognising the need for a secondary school in the Kaniki area, we cannot ignore the need for a better standard of basic education first and foremost. Without this we believe the children would not be able to adequately access secondary education at the level needed to undertake a British curriculum. It is important to remember that many Grade 9s are unable to read and understand basic English, despite the whole education system in Zambia being taught in English. In order for the children to make the most overall progress they need to be grounded in a strong educational foundation.
If children in Arise take full advantage of the help offered in our open afternoons and make good progress in English and their other subjects, it could be for example, that we ‘fast-track’ them into our secondary school later on. For the large part we do have to wait and see how successful our other initiatives are before aiming to provide full secondary education... but we would love to see it happen!