Our first week training culminated in an extremely successful Head Teachers’ Conference (HTC) on Friday. Members of staff from all seven of our 2016 partner schools and two deputy head teachers from graduate schools Emanyinya and Ematsuli joined us for the day.
Following close on the tail of a very enjoyable school visit with the PWs on Thursday, the HTC was a further opportunity for them to learn more about the schools we work with, as well as the broader context of the Kenyan education system. Perhaps more importantly though, the HTC was the moment when the PWs were introduced to the head teachers with whom they will be working for the next 9 weeks!
After introductions over chai and mandazi, and brief speeches by the head teachers and summer team, we formed four focus groups consisting of both PWs and representatives from our partner schools. Within these groups we would discuss several issues ranging from what was perceived to be the three biggest factors limiting education in schools to the opportunities and challenges presented by the wave of technology that is arriving in Kenyan education. Our discussion of the Kenyan education system brought to our awareness the impending change of the Kenyan curriculum, the first such change since 1985 – something that will undoubtedly have an impact on how we work with the schools in future!
It was a hugely eye-opening experience for both PWs and the summer team, as we were able to learn so much from the members of staff from our partner schools – one PW casually commenting that they had learnt more during that day then they had in the past year!
Particularly rewarding was catching up with the deputy head teachers from Emanyinya and Ematsuli, who had hosted a trio last year. To echo Kisii’s blog post on M&E, the comparisons made during discussions with the deputies and some of our first-year schools really revealed the extent to which EPAfrica has enabled their schools to overcome many of the challenges facing schools such as Tsimbalo and George Khaniri. They were effusive in their praise and frequently stressed the role that EPAfrica’s investment had played in enabling them to progress as a school and to improve the quality of education they could deliver.
Spotted this hand drawn map of Ematsuli Secondary in the Principal's office. It's amazing to see the speed of development here. Since Ematsuli graduated from our scheme they have opened a new classroom and began construction of a physics lab. I spoke to Principal Patrick Mwavali on his experience with @ep_africa who said that 'EPAfrica jumpstarts schools and puts them on the track'. Looking forward to seeing more of this summer's projects and undertaking more school visits. #epafrica #teamkakamega
One of the main topics of conversation with them was the recent second annual “EPAfricacup” that the two schools had held together last Wednesday – a day of sports competition between the schools that had been set up by PWs last year, that this year had been expanded to include a joint exam, with the school that performed the best being awarded the academic trophy. This year the spoils were split, with Ematsuli “thrashing” Emanyinya in the football, but Emanyinya winning the academic competition! (Emanyinya have a very active facebook page, you can see photos of the event and follow progress here).
All in all it was an extremely enjoyable day, with hugs smiles and handshakes all round as the summer team bid goodbye to the PWs before returning back to a significantly quieter central house!
……meanwhile in Kisii and Mbarara Head Teachers Conferences were underway also….
— Ellie Moodey (@EllieMoodey) July 1, 2016