When Dr Edwin Namachanja joined Maranda High School in 2017, his determination to be part of Maranda’s good history was stronger than the many challenges he was going to face. Being at the shores of Lake Victoria, Namachanja expected to find a school with a very cool environment and plenty of rainfall. To his dismay, this was not to be. Contrary to his expectations, Maranda is located in an area with relatively high temperatures and low rainfall throughout the year. Because of this hostile climate, there is minimal cultivation of food crops and consequently higher prices of foodstuffs. This is a total contrast to his former station, Friends High School Kamusinga where he had served in different capacities for eighteen years. Kamusinga is on the slopes of Mt. Elgon with very cool temperatures and heavy rainfall.

The climate is very conducive to learning and cultivation of many types of food crops. The commonly used foodstuff for subsistence is readily available at the most affordable prices. Staple foodstuffs like maize, beans, milk and beef are always in plenty at the most affordable prices. Challenges notwithstanding, Namachanja’s willpower to settle down in Maranda and make his contribution to the school was unshakable. Five years down the line, Dr. Namachanja can proudly say that his vision for the school is very valid. Maranda has for the past four years, created a reputation as a school that transits the highest number of candidates into the university.

“For the last four years, Maranda has created a niche as a school that sends the largest number of students into the university compared to any other school within the country. This is very well part of my vision which is to see 100% transition of our students into the university to pursue competitive courses like Medicine and Surgery, Engineering, Architecture, Actuarial Sciences, Law among others” 

When Dr. Namachanja joined Maranda, he found an established school that was well known for its academic prowess. Since he was meant to step into the shoes of Mr. Boaz Owino who had steered the school into greater heights, his bigger challenge was to convince the school stakeholders that he was equally well set for the job and was able to perform even better

“I joined Maranda when the school was at its best, challenges not-withstanding. My first challenge was to convince the stakeholders that I was equal to the task if not better. With the support of the BOM and the PA, I settled into the system fast enough to blend it even better with some new ideas,” 

One such idea was to come up with a strategic plan that would give Maranda a clear road map into the desired direction. With the blessings and help of the BOM and the PA, a ten member committee was formed to work on a five year strategic plan covering 2019-2023 with Namachanja as the chairperson.


“From this plan we mapped out time based strategic programmes which were to be reviewed quarterly. In the plan, we elaborately stated the school’s strategic activities that were to be implemented within a given time frame. Although the strategic plan’s implementation is still ongoing, it has worked well for us,” 

The secret behind Maranda’s Success.

According to the principal, to effectively manage a school of Maranda’s caliber, there must be a coordinated teamwork. His administration have therefore created a strong team work with the entire stakeholders which includes BOM, the Parents, the Teachers, the school’s sponsor, the Students, the TSC and the Ministry of Education. “When we talk about team work we are looking at all the stakeholders who must harmoniously work together in support of the school. As an administrator, you must bring them together so that they are in agreement with the direction the school is taking. Every stake holder must be ready to take his or her part. Once that is done then you are ready to go places as everything will easily flow to the desired direction. That is the script that we are trying to stick to that we get all the stakeholders on board”, Explains the chief principal.

Building a strong teamwork.

“For the last four years, Maranda has created a niche as a school that sends the largest number of students into the university compared to any other school within the country. This is very well part of my vision which is to see 100% transition of our students into the university to pursue competitive courses like Medicine and Surgery, Engineering, Architecture, Actuarial Sciences, Law among others” explains Dr. Namachanja.

Mid last year, the school had a change in leadership of the Board of Management and Parents Association. The long serving BOM chair Engineer Carrey Orege retired after a selfless service to the school for over twenty years. His place was taken by a renowned Kenyatta Nation Hospital based gynecologist, Dr. John Odero Ong’ech. The new team have demonstrated their determination to see the school move to another level.

“We have had a very smooth transition of the BOM and the PA executives. The handing over was professionally done with the incoming chairpersons having a session with their outgoing counterparts to discuss on the previous matters and getting to know what is in the plan,” 

“For example, we have a school’s strategic plan whose implementation is still ongoing and they were able to make a review of the progress against what has not been done. The team were also taken through the records where they acquainted themselves with the minutes of the previous meetings to see the kind of decisions and projections that were made by the committees. So far I want to report that the transition has been very smooth and we are progressing very well,” adds the principal.

One area that has for many years supported Maranda as a cornerstone of good performance is the determination and dedication of its teaching staff. The team spirit and dedication of Maranda’s teachers have always enabled the school to overcome any challenge that may threaten the school’s performance. Because of this spirit, the implementation of the curriculum is always above board. To make it easier for the facilitation and management of the teaching staff, Namachanja’s administration have grouped his staff into departmental groups under various teams. This is based on the departments and the subjects they are teaching. Instead of dealing with the entire teaching population directly, they only deal with team leaders who will in turn deal with their members.

“For instance, when there is an issue with Maths, we will only push members who are handling Maths. The same applies to games where we only deal with members handling it and in this way, you end up dealing with a leaner team of just about 20 which makes it very effective. However, that does not mean we do not have a general staff meeting. We only use it for effective management of our plans, where we narrow down to the departments and on the academics, we go lower to the subjects”, explains Namachanja.

Dedicated staff.

“As a school, we have initiated several programmes to help mentor our students in their career development. Last year we had a very successful alumni careers day where some old boys of the school came and presented a talk to the students. The best perming students were also rewarded as a form of encouragement”, says Namachanja. The school’s administration has also initiated programmes that are intended to encourage old boys to get to the school every year and have that engagement with the students, initiating some projects which need not be costly. By regularly interacting with the school’s old boys, the students get a lot of encouragement and mentorship that is likely to influence their performance.

Students Mentorship.

According to Namachanja, for a school to perform, there must be effective communication among the stakeholders. At Maranda, this is done using various means of communication channels.

“We have different channels through which we are able to reach parents. We have a bulk Short Message System (SMS) which we use to disperse messages to a larger audience like all the parents or a selected group of parents at the press of a button. This is together with walls handled by the class teachers to reach the parents, we also have the walls of the BOM, PA, and Class representatives,” 

Recently the school installed biometrics at the main gate which captures the students’ movements from and to the school. Once the student logs in or out of the school gate, the parent instantly gets the information in his or her phone. Through this, parents are adequately updated and this works very well for the school.

Effective Communications.

As an established school, Maranda has a tradition of honesty, hard work, self-reliance and discipline which spans over more than one hundred years. The tradition has developed into a strong culture which is always inculcated into the new students once they join the school.

“Although the school’s culture is strong, there are rare incidences where the students may digress especially in-terms of discipline. Such was the case sometimes back when we made headlines in the media because of indiscipline cases which we promptly dealt with”, 

According to the principal, the incident was caused by a handful of about 12 students who were abusing drugs. However, the school moved swiftly to put a deterrent measure and the vice was comprehensively addressed.

“Currently we have a student body who is much more disciplined and focused on their studies. To keep them comfortable, we are offering one of the best diets both in quality and quantity. We have also made sure that they have one of the best student leaders who is friendly to them and very responsible in their duties”, observes the Principal.

Infrastructural development.

Maranda is rapidly expanding and that requires proper planning and infrastructural development. The school with the assistance of its alumni is currently working on a master plan which is going to help in the planning of the school’s infrastructural development. To cope up with the rapidly increasing student population, a lot of efforts have been put in place to improve the school’s infrastructure.

A two-storey dormitory complex with a capacity of six hundred students was recently completed. The school is also working on a new playing field for the students which upon completion will be a full sports complex with an athletics field, football pitch, basketball court and hockey pitch. It will also host a modern swimming pool. To supplement the supply of water, we sank two boreholes. To help manage our wastewater disposal, we bought an additional two and a half acres of land on which we are constructing the wastewater lagoons. Also coming up is the school’s signature multi-purpose hall which will be one of its kind in the region.

Dr. Namachanja’s Vision for the School.

According to Namachanja, his vision is to permanently place Maranda School as a center of academic excellence. Already the school is progressing on well towards the realization of that vision. For the last four year, Maranda is reputed nationally as a school that sends the largest number of students into the university. This is something that he not only want to maintain but to improve on the quality of grades so that Maranda students transit into the university to pursue very competitive course. His parting shot is that: “Greatness is in the finer details and when you see an institution like this prominently featuring, then you should know that there are finer details