Cooperation with ten schools in Kenya: What progress have we achieved?
Jakub Šimek, program coordinator in the Pontis Foundation summarizes his observations and impressions of working with Kenyan secondary schools.
Last week three of Slovaks from our soteICT team returned from Kenya with lots of new experiences and notes from ten secondary schools we visited. Teacher Daniela Skladanova and co-owner of the eTechnology company Juraj Kopani joined together with Jakub Simek from Pontis Foundation our team in Kenya for ten days from 25 June to 8 July and trained teachers and students at five new schools in our programme from Taita Taveta about project-based teaching, new educational tools and student training company methodology.
The five new schools in the soteICT program are catching up
Every school has a unique challenges and position. Some like Buguta and Mwangola Secondary are relatively young schools and didn’t have any ICT equipment before our cooperation. Others had some computers and even projectors but the IT integration into teaching of other subjects besides Computer Studies and extra-curricular activities wasn’t that developed. But thanks to intensive mentoring by our colleague Ivka Ulicna all soteICT Clubs and student training companies now have regular activities and clear structure and joined the five older schools in our three competitions in: promotional videos for training companies, CV writing and the Ambassadors of Change Essays. The training on project-based teaching by Daniela was meant to inspire the teachers of other subjects to use ICT in their projects and increase cooperation with other colleagues and even other schools, be it in Taita Taveta County or Slovakia. Juraj trained teachers on a proper use of various combinations of ICT tools in the classroom – eBeam interactive whiteboard, AVerVision document camera and the Data Harvest measuring equipment. We encouraged teachers to give special assignments to soteICT Clubs at their schools and use their assistance in preparing presentations and other teaching materials.
Regular teacher meetings are necessary to increase cooperation and best practice transfer
After the first and smaller meeting this March we held on 6 June the second brainstorming and networking session with teachers from 10 schools in our soteICT program and spend a whole afternoon on discussions and sharing of ideas how to improve the various levels of our cooperation. For example Marungu is really good in ICT integration and all teachers have a schedule for computer room. They have also made a remarkable progress in their student training companies. Other schools like Kajire and Mwambiti excel in videos and presentations of their companies. A new school in the project – PJ Mwangola – scored third with their videos promoting investment and tourism in Taita Taveta. Mwaghogho and Buguta reached out to neighboring primary schools and for example Buguta students from the ICT Club helped to train teachers at Buguta Primary which also benefited from the SlovakAid micro-grant and has a computer lab. Chala Secondary invested in satellite internet to make it faster than the mobile internet solution that we pay for because of sustainability and higher internet costs.
Plans for the third term and the next school year in Kenya
This school years student companies were active in marketing and competition but we want them to also get better at administrative processes and make the business simulation deeper. We agreed to proceed with some simple model business cases and negotiations between student companies from Kenya and/or Slovakia, where one company orders a product (e.g. advertising campaign) from another student company, that send an invoice that will be paid through an internet banking simulation and another student company Mshindi KCB.
During our trainings and school visits could see a real progress in almost all schools in terms of clear structure of their student companies and their products. Apart from measuring equipment for four new schools and Marungu we donated also various materials for student companies and also four more Adruino starter kits and one Merkur construction set to support also the technical and science aspects of student clubs and reward active schools.The first Arduino and Raspberry Pi was given to Mwambiti and Lego Mindstrom set to Kajire to reward their student companies’ winning videos in the first spring competition. We have encouraged the two student ICT clubs to meet together on the weekends and help each other in their construction projects.
We are looking forward for a close cooperation with Slovak schools also in the next school year when they open in September.