|Honouring God in Education|
|Written by Tim|
Rift Valley Academy (RVA) is a relief to many families serving in Africa because it provides a crucial service. It’s Superintendent, Tim, provides a brief overview.
Our aim is to honour the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the entire programme, which includes helping the students to know Jesus Christ personally and grow in Him.
The Academy also helps in the wider goal of spreading the Gospel throughout Africa by providing for the educational, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the missionaries’ children, particularly those serving in remote locations, where good education is not available and boarding school is the only option. By educating and nurturing their children in a safe Christian environment, this means that missionaries can concentrate on the tasks to which God has called them.
Early in the history of AIM it became apparent that if the work of spreading the Gospel across Africa was to progress, a school for educating the missionaries’ children would be necessary. To meet this need, the Rift Valley Academy was founded in 1906 at Kijabe. Miss Josephine Hope, a missionary from America, was the first teacher.
The first classes were held in the home of the station superintendent; later two rooms were added to a little brick building that served as an African school and church, and the class continued there. The school opened with seven pupils ranging in age from eight to 17.
The growth of the school can be seen in its registration summaries. In 1946 there were 38 students and in 2010 there were 495.
These students represent missionary families serving the Lord in 26 countries of Africa under the auspices of almost 80 mission organisations. The current student body learns within an American programme and is composed of 32 different nationalities; the largest population is American, followed by South Korean and Kenyan.
With the changing composition of the student body the challenges of preparing all students for higher education has become increasingly difficult. In the past RVA was able to offer a small O Level stream with great success. However, since 2001 RVA has struggled to maintain a quality IGCSE program due to lack of consistent staffing.
An additional challenge came from the growth of the Korean missions movement, which has caused our Korean student population to grow to just under 20% of the student body. A western educational system taught in English creates a real challenge for Korean students who wish to return to Korea for further education.
Recognising those challenges, RVA will search for solutions to better enable our non North American students to better transition into their home countries for higher education while, at the same time, maintaining the success the school has enjoyed for our North American students. This will be our major focus for the next four years.