History of Eastleigh Secondary School, Nairobi, Kenya
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History of Eastleigh Secondary School, Nairobi

School buildings – 2006

Eastleigh Secondary School was founded in 1952 under the name Racecourse Secondary School to cater for the education of the Asian Community in the Pangani/ Park Road area. With the ensuing increase in the demand for education, it was decided that the Racecourse Secondary School be moved to a new site in the Eastleigh area. The construction work for this new school was completed in December 1955 and the school opened its doors to pupils for the first time on 16th January 1956.

The then Director of Education Mr. W. J. D. Wadley formally opened the school on 6th October 1956 under the new name of Eastleigh Secondary School. It was a four-stream secondary school for 510 boys with an academic education leading to the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate equivalent to the then GCE 'O' levels. There were 24 teachers plus the Head and Deputy. It had 14 general classrooms, 3 science laboratories, a lecture theatre and 3 specialist rooms for history, geography and art. A senior reference and fiction library were added in 1957 at the expense of the science prep room but without any capital outlay on books for many years! In 1958, the first intake of secondary modern pupils was enrolled to follow a 2-year 'practical' curriculum in Woodwork and Metalwork in addition to English and mathematics.

In 1959, new Woodwork and Metalwork workshops were added. The number of staff went up to 27 plus Head and Deputy. In 1960, a new classroom block and library was added. There were now three 'grammar' (four year course) and three 'modern' (two year course) streams in the 6-form entry school of 550 pupils. There were 30 teachers plus Head and Deputy in 1962.

After 1963 following Kenya's independence and the drive towards non-racial schools, there was a steady rise in the number of African pupils and slowly of staff. The school roll increased as demand for places went up. In 1965 there were 5 streams and 635 boys on roll.

Ramesh Sethi (1958-1961) visiting his old school - 1971 View from the gardens next to the Principals office - 2006
However the dreams of a school hall and of the school's own 6th Form remained unfulfilled all those years. The school remained an 'O' level five stream institution until 1981. In 1981, the then Ministry of Higher Education granted 'A' level status to the school (Form 5 and 6). On 14th September 1983, the then Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education formally changed the school's name from Eastleigh Secondary School to Eastleigh High School (EHS) to reflect the new status of the school.

Eastleigh High School Today
With the introduction of the 8:4:4 system of education and the emphasis on cost sharing for the financing of education in the country, the school has undergone several changes. The Government has continued its support in provision of the teaching staff while the parents are expected to provide for the physical facilities and equipment necessary in their school. As a result, the parents completed the construction of a school library and staff room block in 1994. The parents have however been unable to equip the library with books that are relevant to the new system of education due to financial constraints.

The school today is a multi-racial school with 850 students and a teaching staff of 54. It offers a wide and varied curriculum, which includes pure sciences, metalwork technology, woodwork technology, principles of agriculture, mathematics, languages, religion and other social sciences and humanities. The performance in national exams is however below the expected standards. This has been as result of the financial inability of the parents to provide the required facilities. Most of the parents are residents of the surrounding Mathare and Eastlands slum areas and are financially handicapped to the extent they cannot afford the minimum fees required and have to rely on bursaries from the Government and well wishers. The once beautiful school now lacks lighting due to constant vandalism; the fencing is poor while the roofs leak. Parents have long wished to have a kitchen and dining hall facility at the school to ensure that every student takes lunch at school but this is still an idea that will take long to implement.

However, the picture is not all bleak. The school spirit still exists particularly in sports. The school has produced notable personalities in the recent past and continues to do so. The school continues to strive and improve. There have been several changes in staffing and in the curriculum. With the arrival of new technology, the government has made the teaching of information technology compulsory. However, for the effective teaching of the subject, the necessary resources like computers and printers have to be found by the school and its community. It is in this respect that the Old Eastleigh Boys can make a significant contribution to their alma mater. We hope that with the strengthening of links between the school and its old boys living in the UK, Canada and America, the dreams and aspirations of the parents, pupils and teachers at Eastleigh High School will be realised and the school will regain its past achievements and glory!

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