Rongai Agricultural and Tech School, a Nakuru County-based boarding high school, has captured the attention of Kenyans online, fueling debate on its self-sufficient model.
The school was established by the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1973. The school runs its own farm and produces much of its own food. Students are taught how to grow cereals and vegetables, and raise poultry, pigs and cows.
According to the La Salle website, the school has 400 students. Students are allocated various duties tending to the farm and animals. It even has its own student-run posho mill.
Form one students handle the animals and Form two students take care of the farm, while Form Three Students are tasked with farm management responsibilities. Students in their last year are excluded from the duties. This model allows the school to keep a lean staff which includes a few cooks among other supervisory and administrative roles.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Christian Brothers) in 17th century France. Today, the Lasallian mission is present in 79 countries, serving one million young people.
Interest in the Rongai high school among Kenyans online was triggered by a thread by a former student who shared his experience on Twitter and went viral. More students have since shared their experiences even as the model elicits debate.
The user, @Onorpik, disclosed that their menu included beef, pork, and on occasion, chicken and rabbit meat. Drawing comparisons with the controversial Competence Based Curriculum (CBC), he called for the model to be replicated.
“If most schools could adopt this kind of model, it will even be better than CBC, it instills a form of self responsibility, management at early age, imparting of technical and agricultural skills and so on, there is so much the Govt can learn from this and improve on CBC,” the user shared.
While some lauded the model and reiterated calls for it to be replicated elsewhere, others questioned, among other things, the use of children for labour.
There is this school i studied in years back, Rongai Boys, in Nakuru.
It is self sufficient meaning they didn’t buy vegetables, milk, grains, meat, eggs and so on. And they did not hire outside labour to tend to the farms and animals. Its a trend that most schools should adopt 🧵 pic.twitter.com/ZPmmgRT5dp
— GK (@Onorpik) July 21, 2022
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