Manyani GK Maximum Security Prison is a cheerless dour facility known for holding the most violent and hardened of criminals.
Located in the harsh wilderness in Tsavo National Park in Voi sub-county, Manyani is one of the most fortified correctional facilities in the country. In any ordinary day, dozens of heavily armed wardens and guards patrol the prison round the clock in a never-tiring vigil.
But on Saturday, the grim facility was a scene of song and dance as wardens flocked the compound in rare celebrations to fete stellar performance of Manyani Primary School.
This is the only public primary school that is located within a Maximum Security Prison in Coast region. The unusual sight of uniformed officers and wardens dancing their hearts away left many mystified while hundreds of inmates stopped their chores to savour the celebrations.
Parents for the top five students are all workers at Manyani Prison where the institution’s Superintendent, Solomon Koome, also the Chairman of the school board, led other officers, teachers and top performers in the rare celebrations that saw the prison facility erupt with laughter and songs.
Speaking to KNA during the event, Koome noted that this was the first time any candidate in the school had surpassed the 400 mark. In 2017, the school managed to have two students scoring more 400 marks. Francis Nyawa, whose father is a doctor at the facility, emerged top with 406 marks. He was followed by Mthusi Mtuku, whose father is an Inspector at the Prison, with 401 marks. The first girl, Mitchell Jeruto had 396 marks. Her father is a warden at Manyani.
We had set a target and we surpassed it. With 70 candidates sitting the examination, Manyani did us proud, he said. He added that they were also planning to hold a thanksgiving party for the school in honour of the 2017 candidates.
The school’s mean grade has also moved up from 282 in 2016 to 289 in 2017.
The Head teacher, an ecstatic, Ms. Nancy Wangui, termed the performance as very encouraging given the harsh conditions the learners were subject to while at school.
Due to the proximity to Tsavo National Park, wild animals, including elephants, baboons and lions often stray into our school compound confining learners to their classrooms until it is safe to move out, she said, adding, the school had no fence to keep the animals at bay.
She said that the school was sometimes forced to use the prison vehicles to transport pupils from school when wild animals camped in the area.
It has been tough and to manage to post such results amid difficult conditions shows our potential as a school, she said.
Inspector Francis Munda, whose son emerged second, said the school had surpassed most people’s expectations.
People view Manyani as a home for hardcore criminals and guards, he noted, further adding that the facility was a home to many other activities including a well-equipped boarding facility.
He added that the environment was conducive for learning as it was noise-free.
The County Director of Education, Philip Wambua said the education officials were still doing analysis of results for 2017 KCPE and would give the correct school ranking once it is done. However, it is widely expected that Manyani Primary School will retain its place amongst the top 10 primary schools in the region.
Source: Kenya News Agency