We believe that measuring our impact is very important. Friends of Ngong Road, with its sister organization Ngong Road Children Association (NRCA), is in its 11th year of operation. Our mission is to provide education and support so students can transform their lives. We have defined “transformation” as securing employment in the vibrant Kenyan economy. To reach this goal our students must do well on every step in the process.
First step: Doing well on the all-important eighth-grade exam.
Kenya’s school system is heavily influenced by its colonial past and mirrors the British system. The first hurdle is the KCPE exam (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). It is a 500-point exam and is administered every November to eighth grade students. On average, our students have out-scored the Kenyan average score every year since our first primary school students began to take the exam. As shown in the table at right, our average bested the Kenyan average by 25 points in 2009 (when we had 14 exam-takers). The gap has grown in the later years. We are especially proud that our 2015 exam-takers out-scored the Kenyan average by 105 points.
Second step: Getting into a good high school
The scores on the exam determine which high schools will accept the student and whether or not the student is able to transition to high school. NRCA students have consistently outperformed the Kenyan average every year. As shown on the right, 100% of our students transitioned to high school in the first three years of the program. Since 2012 we have been able to transition over 90% of our students to high school.
In addition, our students have increasingly gone to better and better schools as the scores have risen. In 2016, 23 of our 2015 KCPE exam takers were admitted to National level high schools, the most competitive and prestigious in Kenya.
Third Step: Graduating from high school
We are pleased that our students have achieved an almost 85% graduation rate from high school in the years our students have taken the second all-important exam, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam taken at the end of 12th grade (called Form 4 in Kenya).
Fourth Step: Entering post-secondary studies.
Post-secondary schooling may be trade or technical schools for those students scoring under a D- on their KCSE exam. In Kenya there is NO grade inflation and failure to graduate because the student receives an “E” or “F” is a real possibility. Fortunately we have had only a handful of students fall into this category. Any students who do are sent to technical schools to gain skills such as hair dressing, catering, and mechanics.
Students who score between D- and C are eligible for “college” programs lasting from one to two years after which students receive a diploma in their chosen field. This is the majority of our students. Many professions that require a 4-year degree in the U.S. only require one or two of these diplomas in specific fields.
Students who score a “B” and above are eligible for university. In Kenya, university is reserved for a few, very specialized, professions, fewer than in the U.S. Our students are taking classes in business studies, veterinary science, and actuarial studies.
Final Step: Completing post-secondary studies and getting jobs!
We are pleased that our students are getting jobs! Of the 2012 grads all have jobs or are in university full-time. Over 90% of the 2013 and 2014 students have jobs or are in full-time university studies. And our 2015 grads are mostly still in school, although a few have part-time jobs as well.