• Veronica Kimani, the Academics Director at Bridge Kenya, says that pupils learn best from teachers and not programs.
• Teachers need continued support in the classroom and effective professional development for better delivery.
A damning report released by the World Bank report and published in June, “Kenya Economic Update: Rising Above the Waves” revealed that most Kenyan adults with secondary education are functionally illiterate in English.
Among individuals with university education less than one-quarter are functionally literate in English.
This means, they can barely communicate, interpret, read or write in English effectively
The report further found out that employers identified the inability to handle computers for work related tasks as one of the most significant skills gaps among professional workers.
These are disturbing revelations that call for the urgent need to reimagine the education and school systems.
According to education experts, pupils need a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy to excel in their studies and future careers.
To excel in coding and computing one needs to have excellent numeracy skills, to be an effective communicator you need to master skills in reading and writing.
Yet, around the world, most children aren’t able to read well, or can’t read at all. UNESCO estimates that 60 percent of children around the world aren’t meeting basic standards.
Globally, research has identified the instructional materials and teaching methods that are most effective in helping children learn, and the earlier they get exposed to those skills, the better for their development.
In Kenya, Bridge Schools has been using technology to improve the learning outcomes of learners in underserved communities.
According to Griffin Asigo, the Bridge Kenya Managing Director, the organisation remains a committed stakeholder in the quest to improve the quality of learning and learning outcomes in urban informal settlements and rural underserved communities in the country.
“We share the Ministry of Education’s continuing commitment to providing education opportunities for young people and to the prosperity and growth that better educational opportunities enable,
We believe every child in Kenya has the right to a high-quality education, and work in partnership with communities, teachers, and parents to deliver quality education for primary and pre-primary children,” Asigo said in an interview.
Teachers are a key ingredient in improving learning outcomes.
Great teachers are effective for the holistic development of children. Teachers need continued support in the classroom and effective professional development.
Technology has a critical role to play in supporting teachers.
Simple, robust technologies can provide scaffolding for teachers and help them succeed in the classroom; Bridge Kenya uses teacher guides to help teachers cover core areas.
Veronica Kimani, the Academics Director at Bridge Kenya, says that pupils learn best from teachers and not programmes.
“While greater use of technology in education is welcomed, technology will never replace a great teacher. In fact, a single great teacher can change a pupil’s fortunes. High-performing school systems understand this and invest in both recruiting and helping top talent become effective teachers.” Says Veronica.
Bridge Kenya believes that strong teachers change lives and has been empowering a community of trained, prepared and supported teachers.
The organisation empowers teachers with the resources they need to teach effectively. It uses data to inform and direct support to pupils, teachers, and schools.
Without data, it’s hard to achieve excellence on current performance and benchmarks to aim toward.
Susan Mumbi has been a Bridge teacher for 12 years and now teachers at Bridge Kingston Academy in Nairobi County.
She says that the organisation has provided the necessary support for her to succeed in the classroom.
“Being a teacher is the best choice I ever made. It gives me joy whenever I am with my pupils. Seeing them improve academically, socially, mentally and morally daily delights my heart. Members of my community give teachers of my school so much respect that we cannot afford to disappoint them, so we use our skills in helping their children achieve their goals.” Susan said.
Since opening its first school in Mukuru in 2009, Bridge has been a key player in the quest to improve the quality of learning and learning outcomes in the country.
For six consecutive years, Bridge Kenya pupils have exceeded the national average in their primary school exit exam, KCPE.
They have secured admission to top secondary schools in the country. Bridge alumni are now pursuing their dream careers in Kenyan universities.