Faruk*, a form three student at Sacred Heart Secondary school, Mombasa used to boycotts classes due to peer pressure and lack of parental involvement in his education. The 18yr old adolescent lives with his father, stepmother and elder brother. He used to leave home every early morning, fully dressed up in school uniform in pretense to go to school only to disappear in the streets of Mombasa.
This went on for quite some time without the parents even getting a glimpse of it. It is only after the introduction of BioSIM; a technology introduced by Jielimishe GEC that tracks students’ school attendance were they able to notice the deteriorating attendance of the student. During roll call taking, the automated system sent messages to Faruk’s father about his student’s absence. He ignored the messages on two occasions, but he called the number upon getting a third message. The teacher explained the new innovation to him but he was in denial about his son’s mischief; swearing that he had left home that morning for school. He immediately went to school to confirm; the son was not in school!
The following day, he decided to take a day off to personally investigate on the issue that alarmed him. He woke up as early as always and pretended to get ready for work. Edwin woke up and fully dressed himself in school uniform then bid the parents goodbye and left for school. A few minutes later the father also left the house and decided to hide in the nearby town Centre. He went back to the house later after receiving another message about his son’s absence from school that morning. Surprisingly, he found Edwin home with his friends watching movie and relaxing. On inquiring, Edwin got defensive saying he got dismissed from school for he was not feeling well. The father literally dragged his son to school to put the case to an end. Upon questioning him they found out that he had been sneaking back into the house with his friends after the parents left for work. At times, he would disappear into the suburbs and engage in drug abuse. He was punished and counselled by the parent and school which served as a solution and now Edwin is back in school regularly attending his classes.
An interaction with the BioSIM Principal’s management Portal during a past monitoring event.
According to the Principal, BioSIM has increased school attendance and captured real time data, which is key in decision making. This has been made possible since the parents are now more involved in the education matters of their students and constantly engage with the class teachers, to either appreciate the attendance report or clarify on their student’s absence.
Due to this amazing solution to student’s truancy in Mombasa County, the Constituency Development Fund has funded the BioSIM roll out in 10 of its schools and hopes to roll it out in all the schools in phase two of this project. The project will kick off on Thursday 22nd June, 2017 and the launch is scheduled on 24th July, 2017.
BioSIM is an innovation funded by the UKAID through DFID and has been successfully rolled out in 60 schools in Mombasa, Meru and Laikipia Counties resulting in increased tracking of students attendance and school enrollment.
Graph 1: Sacred Heard Form 4 Blue Student attendance as tracked and analysed by the System
Faruk* not his real name