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Digital plan for schools with few tutors launched in Kenya

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Students in remote schools will now be taught by teachers from national schools through online livestreaming in a new programme meant to address acute teacher shortage.

Students in remote schools will now be taught by teachers from national schools through online livestreaming in a new programme meant to address acute teacher shortage.

Through the programme launched by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) yesterday, tutors in national schools will partner with institutions in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asals) and others in remote areas that do not have enough teachers.

The two-month pilot phase livestreaming will focus on sciences, mathematics and English lessons, and will target Form Two students.

The satellite schools will be required to align their Form Two timetable with that of the principal school(s).

The targeted schools have so far been equipped with laptops and projectors by the World Bank to enable smooth rollout of the project, said TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia.

The project will first be piloted in 12 schools.

Alliance Girls and Machakos Boys high schools have been selected to serve 10 satellite schools, with each serving five.

Teachers in the satellite schools will also get an opportunity to teach students from the partner schools.

Teachers in all schools will participate in guiding learners and marking their assignments.

Ms Macharia said the programme is not meant to replace teachers in schools, but to assist in addressing the acute shortage of teachers in institutions.

“This event opens a new chapter in our efforts to revolutionise the teaching profession as we seek to better utilise our scarce teacher resource,” said Ms Macharia.

The project is part of the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (Seqip) project and is being implemented by the World Bank and the TSC in 110 sub counties in 30 counties, from Asals.

The regions bear the biggest burden of teacher shortage, mainly because of a hostile environment, lack of social amenities and in some cases, insecurity.

Some schools have only one teacher for every subject, a huge setback in effective teaching.

Some of the counties picked for the pilot are Isiolo, Kilifi, Bomet, Taita Taveta, Makueni, and Kisii, while the satellite schools include Kiwandani Mixed Day school and Bishop Baldacchino mixed school in Kilifi, Kurongurik mixed secondary school in Narok, Kipkuror mixed school in Bomet, Suguta Girls secondary in Kisii, Isiolo Girls, AIC Kavalula mixed in Machakos, Collins Davis mixed in Kajiado, AIC Muthingini Girls in Makueni and Njoro mixed high school in Taita Taveta.

Ms Macharia said the initiative will reduce the impact of teacher shortage in schools, improve performance of learners due to increased syllabus coverage, increase the self-esteem of learners in disadvantaged areas, promote retention and transition rates in target counties and sub counties and create a basis for the successful up-scaling of live streaming of lessons to other schools in the country.

“We aim to focus on integrating ICT in teaching, identifying other approaches in curriculum delivery, and addressing disparities in teacher distribution at all levels,” she said.

Ms Macharia said the prolonged disruption of learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought the need to continuously empower teachers to respond to emerging trends in their practice. It is the reason the commission is determined to accelerate online teaching and learning, she added.

“To support teachers in enhancing ICT and remote learning skills, the commission has developed a manual to guide the use of technology for teaching and learning,” she said.

Currently, the government through the Ministry of ICT, has targeted to connect about 8,000 schools to the government’s fibre optic in the Last-Mile Internet Connectivity initiative.

The TSC boss urged the government to consider extending the project to more schools.
To enhance digital learning in schools, the commission has so far trained a total of 163,938 -- five teachers per school, on remote learning methodologies countrywide.

The Kenya National Union of Teacher’s (Knut) secretary general, Mr Collins Oyuu, said the project would improve retention of students in schools.

“This is a major milestone, it will help to improve the self-esteem for learners in disadvantaged areas,” said Mr Oyuu.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary General Akelo Misori said the investment in the programme should be enhanced to cover more schools.

“Currently schools have shortage of teachers, not because they are not there, but because many are not employed. Scaling up this project and also employing more teachers will address the issue of shortage of these teachers,” said Mr Misori.

Mr Kahi Indimuli, the chairperson of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha), Mr Johnstone Nzioka, the head of the Kenya primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) welcomed the programme and asked the TSC to expand it to more schools.

Ms Macharia said the commission is determined to continue addressing the shortage of teachers in schools, which stands at 84,000 in primary schools and 12,000 in secondary schools.

Courtesy: Nation Media

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