Raising Achievement in Ndhiwa Primary Schools
In Spring 2017, Team Kenya was delighted to receive a grant of £10,000 from the British and Foreign School Society (https://www.bfss.org.uk) to introduce new activities into our existing programmes in schools. The project, ‘Raising Achievement in Ndhiwa Primary Schools’, is funded for twelve months and aims to improve education for girls and boys in our four partner schools and more widely across the sub-county.
The project is improving access to much-needed resources for teachers and children as well as training and mentoring for a Lead Teacher in each school. The Lead Teacher will then be supported to cascade her/his learning to their school and more widely.
Schools in Ndhiwa have no computers or internet connection; indeed, facilities are often very poor, with mud floors and corrugated roofs and a blackboard being main staples.
As part of this project, Lead Teachers have each been provided with a laptop and internet access (via dongles) and are being trained in using IT by our partners NCEDP. They have individually been assigned mentors in the UK or Australia who are experienced teachers or former teachers. Via email/Skype, the mentors support the Lead Teachers as they undertake a programme of workshops designed by Team Kenya volunteers, also education professionals.
The workshops focus on behaviour management using positive techniques; creating child-friendly – and especially girl-friendly – schools; and introduce the teachers to a range of teaching styles and methods which they then try out in the classroom. For the first time, the teachers will be able to make use of IT in their teaching.
In Kenya, although corporal punishment is banned, it is still depended upon heavily so one aim of this project is to eliminate corporal punishment by training teachers in alternative forms of behaviour management.
Furthermore, teaching methods are predominantly ‘chalk and talk’, which tends to encourage surface learning rather than genuine understanding. Instead, by removing barriers to achievement and introducing a range of teaching and learning styles as well as child-friendly behaviour management, the project aims to raise the educational achievement of schoolchildren while creating safer and more welcoming schools for all. Happier, more confident children perform to the best of their ability.
The funding has also been spent on resources given to each Lead Teacher for use in their school to try out the new teaching and learning styles. For example, we have provided coloured paper, crayons and stationery so that children can make work to be displayed on the – usually bare – classroom walls. We have provided activity books for children and have provided teaching and learning theory and practice books for the Lead Teachers to consult.
The project was introduced to significant stakeholders, including Ndhiwa’s Education Office, in June 2017 and received a warm welcome. The direct beneficiaries in the first twelve months are the schoolchildren and teachers in our four partner schools. In the longer term, through the cascading of learning, our aim is that all 24 schools in Ndhiwa will benefit and that all 158 schools in the sub-county will benefit in the longer term still.