Dimension Data’s AccessKenya Group has partnered with the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiatives (GESCI) to help improve the quality of teaching of Science, Technology, English and Mathematics subjects in Kenyan schools.
Commonly reffered to as STEM, it is feared that the number of students taking these subjects and excelling is on the decline in Secondary Schools. This is said to portend a bleak future on the quality of future scientists and Engineers in the country.
Through the Strengthening Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (SIPSE) project, AccessKenya and GESCI have been collaborating over the last one year to train STEM teachers on how to better integrate technology into their teaching so that their lessons can be engaging to students.
“Students are struggling to understand important science and mathematics concepts thus accounting for low enrollments in Science, Technology and Mathematics related courses in universities,” said Esther Wachira, the SIPSE project coordinator.
In 2014, two schools, Nakuru Girls High School in Nakuru and Mumbuni Boys Secondary School located in Machakos were chosen as the SIPSE project centers. The pilot programme has so far benefitted 60 teachers drawn from the two regions with the aim of helping them better inspire, motivate and guide students to perform better in STEM subjects.
“Part of the curriculum has seen teachers learn how to incorporate videos in teaching of chemistry and biology classes, as well as learning how to stream educational content straight into the classrooms including academic exchanges with their peers abroad,” explained Wachira.
The 60 teachers have also been able to improve their competencies in the use of interactive white boards, conducting of online research thus enabling them to transform and deliver once abstract concepts into real experiential sessions in class.
Speaking during a prize giving ceremony at Mumbuni Boys Secondary School recently, Emily Kinuthia the Marketing and Communications Manager at AccessKenya said the initiative was a golden opportunity for harnessing of technology in education delivery in the country.
The company which signed on as the preferred connectivity and technology solutions partner for GESCI’s SIPSE project expressed confidence in the ability of the Kenyan education system to adopt the right technology tools if steered in the right direction.
“This is a matter of sustainable socio-economic development. For instance there exists a huge shortfall of qualified Information Technology professionals in Kenya with the requisite skills to tackle key issues in the sector such as cyber security”, said Kinuthia.
The SIPSE project is now set for review and a possible up scaling later this year to include even more schools in the race to have technology incorporated as part of the daily teaching and learning tools in public secondary schools.
In March AccessKenya signed two agreements worth Kes 7.2 million in support of the inABLE Kenya ‘Assistive Technology Labs’ project and the Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK), ‘Enhancing ICT use in Schools’ initiative.
At the time Kris Senanu, AccessKenya’s Deputy Chief Executive said the firm’s vision was to see the inclusion of the education sector in the advancements being experienced in the local and regional ICT space.