Primary School Education

Education is one of the most important building blocks for the healthy development of any society.  It is absolutely essential for poorer communities, since education empowers people with skills for employment and a voice to articulate their needs to Governments and service providers.

Under Mukuru Promotion Centre more than 6,500 children attend the four Primary Schools in our catchment area: St Bakhita Primary (1996), St Catherine (1992), St Elizabeth (1991), Sancta Maria Mukuru Kayaba (1985).  The catchment area extends from the Mater Misericordiae Hospital to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, approximately 14 kilometres.   Primary Education is free under the Kenyan Constitution (2010) and Education Act (2013).  There are other costs apart from the normal tuition fees such as firewood, exam papers, county fees, educational excursions, school uniform and shoes that prevent parents from sending their children of Mukuru to school for a bright future.   Initially, the MPC schools were made from corrugated iron sheets and over the last 25 years there has been a transformation to new permanent structures.   At the Head Office site the last two schools constructed by the KfW Development Corporation (German Government) in collaboration with the National Government of Kenya, Ministry of Education and the Sisters of Mercy were completed in 2017, being St Bakhita Primary and St Michael’s Secondary Day School.

From its inception in 1986 MPC has focused on education. “It is a right for all children and not a privilege”, as the United Nations Millennium Goals state: Education can advance societies and empower individuals to improve their lives.  All four Primary Schools were built with corrugated iron sheets until sponsors transformed the simple dwellings into fine permanent structures.

Under the Education Act (2013) the provision for a co-sponsored school means that the sponsor has certain responsibilities and obligations as does the Government.   The majority of the teachers are employed by the Kenyan Government through the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the sponsor provides further support in guidance, resources and direction.  MPC supports the four schools through the provision of additional teachers to reduce the teacher/pupil ratio and funds that enable pupils to participate in extra-curricular activities such as music, sport and occasional outings.


Instead of transferring Mukuru Kayaba Primary School to the newly acquired land from the Government it was decided that a new school be built as there were still hundreds of children who had no access to education.  This move saw the creation of St Bakhita Primary School with an enrolment of 200 pupils.  In the beginning the parents wished to call the new school after the late Cardinal Otunga, who had supported the development work among the poor, but the Cardinal requested that the school be called St. Bakhita after a Sudanese Saint, Josephine Bakhita for her great patience, love, humility and understanding . St Bakhita became the fourth co-sponsored Primary school operating under MPC. St Bakhita Primary from its initial intake of 200 pupils has grown to over 1,100 pupils in 2020.

The Head Office site which is located on New Likoni Road, Industrial Area is also the campus for the three educational institutions: St Bakhita Primary School, St Michael’s Secondary School and Our Lady of Mercy Vocational Training Centre.


St Catherine’s Primary School started in 1992 consisting of two corrugated iron shacks and later developed into what it is today, thanks to the help of the Community, Kenyan Government, Sisters of Mercy and Mellon Education.  The school is named after Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy in 1846.  St Catherine’s is one of four co-sponsored primary schools under the MPC umbrella.

St Catherine’s Primary is a three stream school  with an early childhood centre, situated on Mukenia Road, South B, opposite The Mater Misericordiae Hospital.   The school has over 1,300 pupils with 23 teachers.


In 1991 the parish priest of Makadara, Fr Joseph, requested the Sisters of Mercy to establish a school in the Lunga Lunga slum area.  St Elizabeth Primary school began in 1991 in a temporary church building.  In 1993, the school was relocated to its own plot at the end of the village.

Today, St Elizabeth Primary is a four stream school that includes an Early Childhood Centre.  It is the largest of the four MPC primary schools with an enrolment of over 1,800 pupils.  St Elizabeth’s is known for its excellent performance in the National School Choir competition.  With distinction the school choir has performed in front of the President of Kenya at State House Presentations for Music Festivals.


The first of the primary schools in the Mukuru slums emerged at the request of parents from the community who wanted their children to have an education.   While still in the position as Headmistress of Our Lady of Mercy Primary School South B, Sr Mary Killeen was asked by the Sisters of Mercy leadership to open a non-formal school Mukuru Primary.  The school had immediate success and parents from other areas in the slums also made requests for their children to attend.

Mukuru Primary began in 1985 as a non-formal school with about 200 pupils and four teachers assisted by volunteers.  The classroom structure consisted of the shade of a few trees.   In 1989, the Sisters of Mercy requested Sr Mary to continue developing avenues for thousands of children to access education in the slums.  At the Parents and Friends AGM in 2019 the suggestion to change the name from Mukuru Primary to Sancta Maria Kayaba was applauded.  The two reasons for the chosen name was 1) to emphasize the school’s Catholicity and 2) to honour the young girl (Mary Njengo Mokaya) from Mukuru Kayaba who died in a fire at Moi Girls High School (September 2017) while rescuing her classmates.  Today, Sancta Maria Kayaba is a three stream school with an enrolment of over 1,900 pupils and 26 teachers.