Strathmore’s TEP trains 11 School Principals under the Angaze Kwale Program

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Our journey through the Teacher Enhancement Programme (TEP) at Strathmore University was very transformative. Over the course of four days, we were enlightened in several areas tailored to meet the ever-changing needs of educational leadership in schools in Kwale County. As a group of eleven teachers from different primary schools in the county, we found the experience invaluable.

Kwale County, located along the beautiful coastline of the Southern Coast of Kenya, boasts a rich cultural heritage and diverse natural landscapes, making it a gem in the country’s tourism sector. Conversely, over 70% of families in Kwale County live below the poverty line, resulting in lack of access to basic necessities such as  food, clean drinking water, electricity, and healthcare.

As we reflect on our TEP experience, we are filled with a profound sense of empowerment, motivation, and gratitude. From strategizing on parental engagement to addressing generational disparities, each session equipped us with the tools and inspiration needed to lead with confidence and purpose. We found most of the topics resonating profoundly with our education practice as school leaders. The topics on mental health, teacher professional development, and the introduction of school culture were thought-provoking, inspiring the desire to bring positive and lasting change within our schools and community.

However, it was the discussions on bridging generational gaps that truly struck a chord with all of us. As we reflected on the unique challenges posed by a staff composed of Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z, we were keen to take note of the suggestions offered as strategies to foster understanding and collaboration. This included establishing mutual respect for each generation’s perspectives, cultivating clear communication channels, and prioritizing relationship building.

Moreover, the emphasis on continuous professional development brought to light the important role of ongoing learning in shaping the success of our schools. Inspired by Strathmore’s commitment to excellence, our resolutions included instilling a culture of lifelong learning among our staff. This will empower them to embrace new methodologies and approaches in line with the evolving educational landscape, particularly amidst the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The significance of parental engagement also resonated greatly with all of us, prompting a re-evaluation of our role in fostering meaningful parental engagement initiatives. It became even clearer to us the key role parents play in the holistic development of our students. Armed with this insight, we are determined to empower parents, starting with initiatives to enhance their involvement in school activities and initiatives.

Another key highlight was visiting Consolata School and Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. The contrasting experiences of visiting the two schools created a great impression on us all, illustrating the great disparities within our educational landscape. At Consolata School, we witnessed a nurturing environment where students thrive amidst well-equipped classrooms and dedicated educators. Their commitment to academic excellence was inspiring and we took great lessons from them. On the other hand, our visit to Kibera Girls Soccer Academy exposed us to a reality closer to our own but marked by resilience amidst adversity. Despite facing significant challenges, the leadership of the school has created a conducive environment for girls to thrive in their academic and social development. We were inspired and began contemplating how to create a supportive environment, particularly students in upper classes.

Moving forward, we are committed to translating the lessons learned at Strathmore University into tangible actions that will propel our schools and community towards excellence. Whether through staff training to foster ownership or by embracing ICT integration to enhance classroom experiences, we are determined to champion positive change and cultivate a culture of growth and collaboration.

In Kwale County, primary school completion rate is at 40%, notably lower than the national average of 70%. Low completion rates are attributed to extreme poverty levels and cultural practices that do not favor education. Many students fail to complete their primary and secondary education, leading to outcomes such as early marriages, teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, gang-related crimes and prostitution. Additionally, only 50% of those who complete primary school perform well enough to proceed to secondary school, resulting in a transition rate of just 25%. 

This is why we have decided to expand and bring on board more school principals under the Strathmore Angaza Kwale Program with the main objective of improving school leadership. It is our hope that through this, we will improve our practice and support each other through training and mentorship.

As we take the train back home, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Strathmore University for this invaluable opportunity. We hope that our journey, started at Strathmore, will impact our schools and community, shaping the future of education for children in our villages.

Written by:

Mr. John Gassare, Principal, Kwale Primary; and Madam Amina Juma Said, Principal, Mwamugunga Primary

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu

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