School's 'Ugly' Name Linked to Poor Performance

  • Chetoto Primary School
    Chetoto Primary School
    The Standard
  • Residents of Kitale now want a local primary schools' name changed to boost enrolment and performance.

    Chetoto Primary school gained its name from Marabou stork, a scavenger bird that preys on carcasses. Chetoto, the name of the bird in Luhya were popular in the area mainly feeding on the Bondeni dumpsite and a slaughterhouse close by.

    The school was started by residents of Kipsongo slum in the early 1980's after they noticed a rise in their children's population.

    Bishop Benjamin Tarus of African Inland Church Kitale
    Bishop Benjamin Tarus of African Inland Church Kitale

    With a population of over 3,000, the school has progressively registered low performance and enrollment.

    A majority of the residents including a bishop in a local church, now associate the low enrollment and poor performance to the rather unsavuory name. 

    They say the Chetoto bird is associated with filth and poverty. They proposed 'Baraka' and 'Bahati' as better names that will attract luck to the school.

    “They do not admit our children claiming we are unable to raise funds for their educational needs,” said Moses Lutome, a resident.

    Another resident, Monica Tobos, shared her woes over the poor hygiene, broken sewers, improper waste disposal and poor housing plan in the area. In her opinion, linking the school name with the prevalent conditions would be wrong. 

    Bishop Benjamin Tarus of African Inland Church (AIC), Kitale which sponsors the school affirmed that they took note of the proposal and will work on it.

    In liaison with the Christian Education Department Committee, they will collect views before making a decision.
    Residents were asked to suggest new names for considerations.

    “I expect further conversation on this topic with other relevant stakeholders and the locals,” he added.

    “We are not erasing history, we are just erasing a symbol of poverty, and it’s a low-stakes way to have a public conversation about history, what we value, what our morals are. It’s a normal process,” stated Joshua Ewoi, a professional.

    The new name is meant to attract donors and the government to aid in its development.

    Marabou stork bird
    Marabou stork bird