Education in Kenya
According to the Kenyan government, 95.7 percent of the children in primary school age are registered at school. However, absence rates are very high, as many children (particularly in rural areas) need to help at home or work the land. Also, the quality of education is often insufficient to ensure that all children can learn the basics. In addition, there is a shortage of available teachers. Secondary education remains largely out of reach for the poorest children, as a result of the costs involved.
Edukans has worked with partners in Kenya already since the eighties, and has increased its programmatic focus since 2007. Currently Edukans has education programs in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, as well as in the North Rift and the South Rift regions of the country. In the remote rural areas, we particularly target children from nomadic people such as the Maasai and the Samburu. We aim to improve the quality and availability of primary education, so that children have a better chance to develop and give shape to their future. In Nairobi as well as in rural areas, we provide skills training to youth. This enables them to find a job or to set up their own small business. In our programs, the use of ICT to make education better and more efficient is an important focal point.
Local partners and networks
Edukans works with seven local partner organizations, who each have their own expertise and network. They collaborate in the Edukans Star school program, sharing expertise and best practices, thus strengthening each other.
Edukans’ partners are also members of the Elimu Yetu Coalition, the national Education for All network. This network facilitates the sharing of knowledge and gives members an insight into the programs of other education organizations.
Cooperation with the government
The Kenyan government is supportive of the program carried out by Edukans and its partners, both at national and county level. Government representatives contribute to joint discussions and the Ministry of Education has granted our partner organizations official permission to carry out their programs in their schools. In addition, the partners actively work with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
Our programs in Kenya
Edukans uses several of its key methods in Kenya to boost the quality and availability of education, including STAR schools and active learning. We train and support our partners in the use of these methods, offering them high-quality, effective tools to take steps in improving education in their regions.
Edukans method: STAR school
Our successful STAR school model is currently being implemented at eight schools in Nairobi and rural areas. This model supports schools in identifying which areas call for extra attention, and also supports them in making the needed improvements. The five dimensions of the STAR school are: learning environment; teaching process; learning process; school management; community involvement.
In addition to the eight key STAR schools, our Kenyan partners also work with other schools, using elements of the STAR school model to select elements that need improvement.
Edukans method: Connect4Change
ICT is an important tool to enhance the quality of teaching and to improve school administration and management. Our Connect4Change program focuses on training teachers and school administration and management to use ICT effectively. In Kenya, we work with 12 schools on developing ICT skills.
Edukans method: BEQUIP
The BEQUIP method, which was developed together with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), focuses on active learning, with ICT as one of the tools. Active learning is one of the key Edukans approaches to improve the quality of education. Teachers are motivated to involve their pupils in a more active way in their lessons, which is often a big change in comparison with traditional teaching methods. Active learning and a learner-centred approach, however, ensure that the children’s learning experience is enjoyable and leads to better results.
Edukans method: exchange programs
In the Edukans exchange programs such as World Teacher active learning plays a prominent role. Dutch teachers, student teachers and other education professionals visit their Kenyan counterparts in order to exchange knowledge and expertise, and to develop education skills together. In the Machakos TeacherTtraining College, where in 2014 an Edukans Education Experience took place, a study group was set up in order to be able to continue practicing active learning skills after the exchange program had ended.
Results in 2013
- 31,000 students reached
- 340 youngsters learn a trade
- 755 teachers trained
- 98 parent councils and school boards trained
- 8 STAR schools and 40 other schools involved
- € 967,509 spent
Active learning in practice
Dickson Mnang’at, teacher at Chesta Girls’ primary school in West Pokot County, Kenya:
“In my school, I teach Science and English. My own class has 42 pupils all of who are very disciplined and hardworking. Since I joined the school three years ago, we had a number of challenges in content delivery to our pupils. First, we mainly used the traditional teacher-centred methods of teaching. It was hard to achieve a lesson’s objectives since understanding among the pupils was slow. Most pupils would get bored even before the lesson was halfway and they would not retain what they learned.”
“In 2011, Edukans partner NCCK started to work with our school according to the STAR school model. Last year in October, together with another teacher from my school I participated in an exchange program involving Dutch student teachers and their lecturers at Machakos Teacher Training College. The program was about active learning. We learned how we can make the learning situation very interactive or learner centred. I also learned about mind-mapping and about the ‘Think, pair and share’ method of teaching. This I found to be very exciting as pupils are fully involved and it enables them to really learn from one another. During the program, I also realized it is important to have another teacher at the back of the class for evaluation purposes.”
Improving class scores
After the 5-day program, we shared with our colleagues what we learned and even invited them to observe our lessons, which they found to be very interesting. We also used the ICT materials to record our lessons and let other teachers watch during their free time. My pupils found the new methods very exciting and each time I use them, they enjoy the lesson very much. For the first time, this year I twice had a mean score of above 70 in Science! Our classes mean scores have generally improved this year owing to the help by the NCCK in our school.”