SHSS and partners complete Phase 1 of TOTEMK project
Through collaboration with partnering universities, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) marked the end of the first phase of the Training of Trainers for Teacher Education Management in Kenya (TOTEMK) project. The partner institutions in the project are Strathmore University, University of Nairobi and Pwani University from Kenya as well as University of Helsinki and Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Launched on 26th April this year, the first phase of the project is one among four courses that aim at strengthening and updating the delivery of Kenyan teacher education courses. The course was concluded with a colourful virtual graduation ceremony attended by Prof. Izael Da Silva, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation, at Strathmore University, course leaders and facilitators from Strathmore and Helsinki University, as well as the participants in the course who were drawn from 20 different universities in Kenya. A total of 63 lecturers graduated during the event.
The project involved teaching teacher trainers from the participating universities on 21st Century teaching and learning skills that characterise the new Kenyan Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). These skills include collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. The course involved 3 days of intensive training and 10 days of practicum where participants were required to apply the acquired skills in their teaching, maintain reflective journals and make presentations on their experiences during two coaching sessions.
While delivering the keynote address, Prof. Da Silva reiterated the need for universities to aim at producing graduates who are responsible workers with competence in their area of study as well as ethical in their conduct. He explained that Strathmore University teaches humanities to all students irrespective of the degree courses they pursue in order to make them ‘good humans’. Other speakers in the event included the Dean – SHSS, Dr. Magdalene Dimba and Prof. Seija Karpinnen, overall TOTEMK leader from University of Helsinki. On her part, Dr. Dimba challenged the lecturers who had taken the course to use the gained knowledge and skills to make the world a better place. Prof. Seija thanked facilitators from Strathmore for their efficiency in organising the course and for excellent collaboration with their partners from the University of Helsinki.
Others speakers included Dr. Beatrice Mburugu from Chuka University and Prof. Francis Indoshi, a renowned education scholar from Maseno University. Speaking as representatives of the graduating participants, the two scholars hailed the TOTEMK initiative and the facilitators, with Dr. Mburugu terming the course as a pivotal step towards enhancing the capacity of universities to align their curricula in line with the requirements of CBC. On his part, Prof. Indoshi described the course as a transformative experience that had already improved class attendance and motivation of his students. He said his university has organised a workshop already aiming at equipping his peers with 21st Century learning skills. He further explained that the course facilitators had inspired participants to embrace new educational technologies that are critical in the effective implementation of CBC in Kenya.
The facilitators in the course were drawn from Strathmore University and University of Helsinki. The Strathmore team was comprised of Dr. Magdalene Dimba, Dr. Alfred Kitawi, Dr. Mary Omingo, Ian Wairua and Stephen Macharia while Prof. Seija Karpinnen and Dr. Veera Kalunki represented the partner university. The second phase of the course will be held in November this year and will be spearheaded by the University of Nairobi.
This article was written by Stephen Macharia.
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