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Open Access Capstone

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This study explores the factors that motivate students to perform well in the national examination at their basic primary education level despite the unlikely environment to support this success in Kibera slums, Kenya. In the current situation in Kenya, national examinations are used as a basis of distributing the fewer than students slots in secondary school, despite the different circumstances facing each candidate, passing of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education is still an important factor that determines a child’s eligibility to attend secondary school. Students enrolled in Kenyan primary school system take the same national exams regardless of the environment or challenges in which the students learn and grow up. Some children coming from the slum areas and living in impoverished environments manage to do well just like children from well to do families. This research will specifically focus on capturing the voices of students who graduated and excelled from primary schools in Kibera slum, Kenya.

The researcher believes that for every institution there has to be a strength that the institution can built on for the better of the community. Thus, the researcher will focus on children who have completed their primary education. These children will share stories on the support system within the school and at home that enable them to complete and excel in their education in challenging environment.

The study will use resilience theory and the concept of “positive deviance” to examine resilience of the students that perform well. I used personal narratives in my interview questions and adopted Appreciative Inquiry approach to design the interview question to capture the strengths from the students. Findings from the study showed that significant others in the students’ lives like teachers, motivational speakers and youth church leaders played a role in the students in building resilience. Despite being in a challenging environment, the students have built hope in a higher being thus the participants reported that religion/spirituality was the most important aspect that builds resilience and determination to the students and this enabled them shape their identity.