Tuesday 23rd July 2013
Standard Digital News
Lonah Kibet

Only two counties in the country surpassed the 50 per cent mark of children in class three, who can read a story in English or Kiswahili and do division of class two level, Uwezo report showed.

Nairobi and Nyeri counties each recorded 57.3 per cent and 54.3 per cent respectively, barely passing the mark, while more than five counties recorded the lowest percentages below 20 per cent.

The report showed the weakest counties were Wajir, Kisumu, Tana River, Turkana, Siaya, Garissa and Samburu each with 18.6, 17.9, 16.9, 15.9, 14.5, 14.4 and 13.0 per cents respectively. Murang’a, Kiambu, Tharaka Nithi, Mombasa and Taita Taveta recorded 47.2, 46.9, 44.7, 43.4 and 40.7 per cents respectively, while the rest of the counties fell between 20 and 40 per cents.

The report titled “Are Our Children Learning?: Annual Learning Assessment Report Kenya 2012” showed that nationally, seven out of ten children in class three cannot do class two work.

To read the full report, please click HERE


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Deborah Otieno
Uwezo Regional Office Intern
25th July 2013

The Kangundo DEB primary pupils streamed in and were led to the VIP section. They were seated on the same row as the Vision 2030 Director General – Mugo Kibati; senior educationists; and the political top guns: Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and Parliamentary Committee on Education Chairperson: Sabina Chege. If you are wondering what type of occasion promotes pupils to share the VIP seats, then I am pleased to let you know that it was the vibrant and informative Uwezo Kenya launch held on July 23rd at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in Nairobi.

Uwezo Kenya’s Country Coordinator Dr. John Mugo informed the audience that the 2012 nationwide assessment tested 153,900 children in basic literacy and numeracy skills. The report revealed that children are still not learning at the required level. Another shocking revelation was that 1/5 children between class 6-8 did not know the meaning of the colours of the national flag. Although enrolment rates are high, children are still not learning at the expected levels despite this message being repeated to the public in the last three years.

2012 though was a different year. As Hon. Sabina Chege commented that education stakeholders made major decisions without considering the learners’ voice, it was high time the ultimate consumers of education spoke for themselves. Antony, one of the honoured guests attending the launch as a student from Kangundo DEB Primary School earnestly recounted the major factors that enhanced learning: consultations between parents and teachers, creating a harmonious environment enabling pupils to seek clarifications from their teachers and teachers making extra effort by being caring, supportive and motivating students.

Another pupil and honoured guest – Sheila – expanded on the factors that hindered learning: poverty leading to poor concentration in class, child labour and lack of proper school facilities.  The last hindrance was: teachers not caring for pupils which she emotionally demonstrated by mimicking an imaginary teacher by saying ‘Let them do what they want, after all at the end of the month, I will get my salary. No problem, even if they play, I am going to get my salary.’

This statement was followed by an uproar from the audience and it took a few moments for her to continue her speech. As the launch continued, Hon. Kibati and Hon. Cheboi drew from this important statement. Hon Kibati further stated that Uwezo Kenya carried out a survey that required radical action because Vision 2030’s ultimate objective is to provide a high quality of life for all citizens and these citizens are in fact children. Hon. Cheboi, also drawing from Sheila’s sentiments, commented that the issue she raised was not to be taken lightly. He congratulated Uwezo Kenya for exposing Kenya’s education situation.

Following these speeches was a discussion panel comprising of Baringo Governor Cheboi, Chairperson of the National Assembly Parliamentary Education Commission Sabina Chege, Nancy Macharia from the Teachers Service Commission and educationist Anna Obura, moderated by Uwezo Regional Manager, Dr. Sara Ruto. All in all, the launch was a successful event that attracted over 200 guests. We thank all Uwezo friends and partners who were involved in this event, and we welcome your feedback: kenya@uwezo.net

Asanteni Sana!

Uwezo Kenya

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A light bulb experience: My Immersion Story

28th May 2013
Deborah Otieno
Regional Office Communications Intern

The first time I heard about ‘immersion’ I thought it must be a very exciting experience. Immersion can be likened to reaching the inner layers of an onion because it is a process which entails going beyond the surface layers in order to reach the inner slices of people’s lives. This process allows Uwezo and Twaweza to glimpse into local communities lives by indulging in their day to day activities. It is for this reason that this team travelled to Nanyuki on Sunday the 19th of May 2013. Sportmans Arms hotel burst into a buzz of activities as soon as the eagerly awaited guests from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya flooded in. Greetings were dished out in plenty and within a short time we were all settled in the conference room ready to deliberate on how we were going to be immersed in the local area. Things to be avoided included: imposing on the host family by over influencing their conversations, treating them like test subjects, taking photos without their permission, jotting down notes in their presence and trying to provide solutions to their problems. Later on, the three district coordinators from Nyeri North, Imenti North and Laikipia East provided each duo team with contact details and location of their host families.

Wonder and excitement filled the teams as they set out to explore their different destinations the next day. At Nyeri North, Mwiteithia Village, Risha Chande (Tanzania) and I were welcomed by the 81 year old village elder and his 70 year old wife. While visiting his middle aged son who lived only 200 meters away from his home, I noticed the village elder’s 9 year old grandson playing with a carefully crafted handmade car. It was made from an Elianto (vegetable cooking oil) bottle with wheels obtained from several bottle tops. He happily told us that he made the car all by himself.

Although we placed our Shujaaz comic in clear view, he and his 4 year old brother did not seem to take interest of it. This reminded us of a similar situation, while at our host’s place, we placed the newspaper in their view yet they did not react until we gave it to the village elder. Moving to Warazo village also in Nyeri North, Spencer Rhota (Kenya) and Justice Rutenge (Tanzania) had an interesting experience. Unfortunately Spencer was down with pneumonia so his host quickly gave him the ‘haraka’ drug (translated as ‘quickly’ in English) to cure him. Apparently, it is used to treat all ailments but it did not cure Spencer. Despite its failure, their host resisted taking Spencer to the nearby Mere dispensary; fortunately he finally received proper treatment in the hospital at Nanyuki.

Thirdly, Al-Amin Kheraj and Walter Kwena noticed the adverse effects of heavy use of the miraa (khat) drug which is widely grown in Imenti North whereas in Laikipia East, Jillian Makungu and Judith Tumusiime had their unique experiences.They had to climb a high ladder to fetch water. Also, I recall how during the immersion briefing we assumed that our hosts may be resistant to us taking their photos, but that was not the case here. There was a gentleman who was more than willing to have his pictures taken to the extent that he woke Jillian in the wee hours of the morning in order to have her take photos of him milking the cow.

Some new insights arose during the story sharing sessions back at the hotel were: the hosts came across as poor yet they owned large tracts of land; they accessed information from mobile phones which almost every household owned with a few cases of children using them to access the internet; radios were also widely used during the evenings to listen to news from Radio Maisha, Kameme F.M. and Inooro F.M.; word of mouth; a few TVs; local video halls and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). In most villages, milk served as a FMCG because after milking their cows a mixed gender group of different ages met in the mornings at around 7.00 a.m at village milk collection points to wait for the Brookside (Kenyan milk company) trucks to collect the milk at 7.30 a.m. This provided an avenue for discussions. Also, as much as women were openly submissive to their husbands, they were actually the key home influencers, coordinators and participants of home activities and disseminators of information in their monthly held women group meetings.

All in all, we were left asking ourselves: are teachers pivotal change agents not just in school but in the community? What exactly triggers change? Who exactly is the change agent? Why is it that what happens in one community does not happen in another community? Which exact networks make change happen? At the end, we bid a sad farewell to our Tanzanian and Ugandan teammates while departing to our different destinations. For sure the immersion experience had revealed new discoveries for us all!

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