Alliance Girls High School

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Alliance Girls' High School
Main gate of the school
Coordinates 1°15′59″S 36°39′46″E / 1.2663°S 36.6627°E / -1.2663; 36.6627Coordinates: 1°15′59″S 36°39′46″E / 1.2663°S 36.6627°E / -1.2663; 36.6627
Type Public National School
Motto Motto: "Walk in the light"
Established 1948 as African Girls' High School
Principal Dorothy M. Kamwilu
Color(s) Green

Alliance Girls' High School (AGHS) is a national girls' boarding school located near the small town of Kikuyu in the Kiambu District of the Central Province of Kenya, 20 km from Nairobi. Founded in 1948 as the African Girls High School, it is within walking distance from its brother school Alliance High School.


Founded in 1948 by the Alliance of Protestant Missions, Alliance Girls' High School was the first institution of higher secondary education for African girls in Kenya, and served in parallel with Kenya High School which at that time only admitted European girls. Before Kenyan independence it was called African Girls High School. Alliance Girls High School sits on 71 acres of land in Kiambu West district, Central Province, originally donated by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.[1]

The school's first principal, Jean Wilkinson (née Ewan), was a Scottish missionary. Joan Waithaka, one of the first students to graduate from the school, became its first African principal in 1969. She also served on the 1976 Gachathi Report committee which recommended that the Kenyan government adopt policies which would increase women's participation not only in higher education but also in science and other male-dominated spheres in the country.[2]

The first 10 girls admitted to the school arrived on 28 February 1948 and came from the all the different provinces in Kenya as is still the case today. In 1961, Alliance Girls High School was one of the first five schools in Africa to offer the Higher School Certificate (at the time, the equivalent of A Levels and a requirement for university entrance).[3] Prior to the establishment of Alliance Girls High School, a few girls had been admitted to the predominantly male Alliance High School. One of the last girls to graduate from there was the writer Rebeka Njau who later taught at the Alliance Girls High School.[4][5] The two schools continue to maintain close relations.


  • Jean Wilkinson, 1948–54[6]
  • Mary Bruce, 1955–68
  • Joan Waithaka, 1969–84
  • Rebecca Karanja, 1985–2002
  • V. M. Kituri, 2003–04
  • J. N. Mbugua 2004–08
  • Dorothy Kamwilu 2008–present

Academic reputation[edit]

New House, one of the school's ten dormitories

The school has a reputation as a center of academic excellence in Kenya.[2][7] It held first place amongst girls' schools in Kenya in the 2011 KCSE results and was in third place out of all Kenyan secondary schools.[8] AGHS's graduates go on to leading Kenyan universities as well as international ones. Some of its students have also been selected to attend the African Leadership Academy.


Admission is highly competitive. Only students with a very high performance on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education are selected to attend. The school also participates in the national quota system that sees a balance in admission of students from all Kenyan Districts. In 2015, Alliance Girls High School attracted the highest number of applicants out of all the national schools with 156,347 applications, followed by the Alliance High School with 154,417 and Mangu High School with 148,594.[9][10]

School crest and colours[edit]

The school's crest is composed of a white torch yellow flame superimposed over St. Andrew's Cross on a green background. The initials AGHS are above the crest, while the school motto "Walk in the light" is beneath it, both written in yellow. According to the school's website, the colour yellow represents the light of the torch, the green depicts the life given by the light, and white signifies the product of this life. The school uniform is green reflecting the constant growth of the school.[11]


The school chapel, one of the landmarks of the school, is located opposite the Administration block. It is used for services on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday attended by all students. It is also where the school Barazas (student parliament and meetings) are held. The school chaplain is Reverend Dorcas Kamau who succeeded Reverend Marion Strain in 2011.[12]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku, and Henry Louis Gates (eds) (2012). Dictionary of African Biography, Vol. 4, pp. 295; 473. ISBN 0195382072
  2. ^ a b Kiluva-Ndunda, Mutindi Mumbua (2001). Women's Agency and Educational Policy, p. 78. State University of New York Press. ISBN 079149165X
  3. ^ Eshiwani, George S. (1993). Education in Kenya Since Independence, pp. 37; 52. East African Publishers. ISBN 9966469990
  4. ^ Busby, Margaret (1992). Daughters of Africa, p. 415. Pantheon Books. ISBN 067941634X
  5. ^ Thiong'o, Ngũgĩ wa (2012). In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, p. 64. Random House. ISBN 1448113156
  6. ^ List of Principals sourced from Alliance Girls High School. Historical Background. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  7. ^ Okullu, Henry (1997). Quest for Justice, p. 56. Uzima Publishing House.
  8. ^ Wekesa, Chrispinus (1 March 2012). "Kenya: Alliance Girls Third". The Star. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  9. ^ Burrows, Olive (20 January 2015). "Kenya: 78 Percent Pupils Get Places in Form One This Year". Capital FM Kenya. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e Mungai, Christine (17 June 2015). "Africa is changing, and this is how you know: A career day at a high school, Lupita Nyong'o Effect, and the opera". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  11. ^ Alliance Girls High School. Crest. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  12. ^ Alliance Girls High School Prospectus (2011). Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  13. ^ Roche, Margaret and Musyoka, Violet (2001). A Study Guide to The River and the Source, p. 6. Focus Publications. ISBN 9966882219

External links[edit]