Tag Archives: KOEE

Teacher Training for a Dynamic World of Work

By David Wandabi – Programs Officer – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Eco-schools Coordinator

Sometimes life can be unforgiving and you can find yourself stranded if you do not have any contingency plan in place with sudden turn of events and situations. The danger of one sliding into oblivion then becomes a painful reality. In 2018, over 100,000 KCSE candidates had high hopes of pursuing teaching careers at diploma and certificate levels. This of course was as a result of the Ministry of Education lowering the entry requirements for P1 teachers from C- to D+.

In 2019 however, more than 20,000 slots are expected to fall vacant across all primary teacher-training colleges (TTCs). The government has halted all admissions to this level, in phasing out P1 teachers. 13,000 students would have been admitted into the existing 31 public training colleges and another 3,000 across the newly established institutions in Kenya. Private colleges have about 4,000 spaces available for students across 85 institutions.

The elevation of the P1 course to diploma level is a key reform in the teaching industry meant to improve the quality of both professional and academic standards of the primary school teachers. This bold move is informed by, among others, the fact that there has been discomfort among many stakeholders that the two-year P1 course is inadequate to equip the trainees with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to competently  perform the envisaged roles in the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) being rolled out by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. 

It is worth noting that robust teacher training and education programmes should focus on providing skills, competencies, professional attitudes and values that equip educators with knowledge as well as ability to recognise and nurture the educational needs of the students. We should be cognizant to the fact that the success of the CBC is squarely hinged on the ability of the teachers to not only understand but also facilitate acquisition of crucial competencies among the learners.

These are digital literacy, self-efficacy, citizenship, learning to learn, imagination and creativity, critical thinking and problem solving as well as communication and collaboration skills. But for the envisaged teacher training diploma course to be relevant, including meeting societal needs, it should be developed taking into account the aspirations of the international community, the country’s development goals and the 2-6-6-3 system of education.

Among others, the content should be in line with the vision of the Basic Education Act 2013, the Education for Sustainable Development Policy of the Education Sector 2017 as well as the Kenya Vision 2030 and global Vision 2030 Education Agenda as all stress on the need to prepare teachers with a mind-set that focuses on the core educational outcomes. Therefore, emphasis should be laid on mastery of the subject and pedagogical skills and methodologies.

While developing course content in the anticipated diploma programme for primary school teacher trainees, it should be noted that as per the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (2017), pertinent and contemporary issues is an integral part of the content in the new syllabus dispensation. 

These include global citizenship, life skills, health and values education. In an attempt to prepare students to be global citizens, topics like peace education, human rights, gender issues, integrity, social cohesion, ethnic and race relations as well as patriotism and governance inevitably need to be covered. Other issues that need to be included in the teacher training course are sustainable development, climate change, learner support programmes, community service learning and parental engagement. In the new syllabus, topics like environmental education, disaster risk reduction, financial literacy, poverty eradication, countering terrorism and animal welfare are a viewed as precursor for sustainable development.

As for learner support programmes; peer education, communal life, clubs, societies, sports and games are elemental. Topics on career guidance and counselling services; community service learning and parental engagement; community participation and parental empowerment are paramount and should be considered.

Even though the whole notion of reforming teacher education and training, particularly at the primary school level, is commendable, there are notable obstacles that need to be intricately tackled. Orienting instructional practices towards stronger collaborative relationships among teachers and learners, a core emphasis of the CBC, is a primary upheaval staring at the teaching profession. Campaigners of this style hold that such a paradigm shift boosts creativity, innovativeness and dignity apart from making learning enjoyable.

Therefore, this is another critical area that designers of the teacher training diploma course should be attentive to. Inadequate, obsolete and decrepit infrastructure and resources for preparing teachers are also of utmost concern. This is exacerbated by the fact that operations of the TTCs are largely dependent on students’ fees. Adequate information and communication technologies infrastructure, a key component of the new curriculum, needs to be put in place so as to yield teachers that can deliver quality education competently. 

Deliberate strategies to finance primary school teacher training is key. Therefore the decision by Higher Education Loans Board to start financing primary school teacher trainees from 2020 is praiseworthy. The move is timely as enrolment in the TTCs has been nose-diving due to the interplay of multiple reasons, including inability by some of the students to meet training cost. Another major factor is failure by many candidates to attain the minimum entry grade at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. Some students have also previously avoided the P1 certificate course, opting instead to go for various diploma programmes in other fields which require the same entry grade.

Fortunately, with Kenya National Qualifications Authority now clearly spelling out the minimum entry qualification, and other relevant agencies, there is a higher likelihood of more influx of students in the TTCs compared to the past.

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Consultative Meeting for Eco-Schools Teachers

KOEE held a consultative meeting for teachers from international schools at Brookhouse School on 10thJuly 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the best approaches to building teachers’ capacities in delivering the vision of green growth, and making the Eco-schools Programme more dynamic in preparing graduating students to tackle development needs of today. The meeting brought together 15 teachers from international schools in Kenya, experts on Education for Sustainable Development, Green Economy, and Sustainable Consumption and Production from UN Environment and Unilever East Africa. The meeting included plenary sessions with presentations on ESD, Green Economy, Climate Change, Sustainable Consumption and Production, and Youth Empowerment, as well as group work and exercises to discuss and review specific thematic areas and approaches for the proposed training programme. There was also an electronic exhibition by KOEE, showcasing work on ESD and Green Growth. The meeting was instrumental in identifying diverse and responsive approaches to teaching and learning, in order to prepare learners to be responsible citizens and for the world of work, under the umbrella of the Eco-schools Programme. 

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2019

By Lorraine Dixon

World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5thof June. The theme for this year is “AirPollution“.

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution occurs when gases, dust particles, fumes (or smoke) or odour are introduced into the atmosphere in a way that makes it harmful to humans, animals and plant.This is because the air becomes dirty (contaminated or unclean). 

Where does it come from?

Air pollution can result from both human and natural actions. Natural events that pollute the air include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. Human actions that pollute the air include Household combustion devices like jikos (cook stoves), motor vehicles, industrial facilities and forest fires are common sources of air pollution.

What are the Effects of Air Pollution?

The 2017 Kenya Economic Survey estimated that 19.9 million Kenyans suffer from respiratory ailments that are made worse by poor air quality. Over 5 million Kenyans living in major cities and towns are directly exposed to toxic emissions mainly from motor vehicles, industries, use of traditional fuels and kerosene used for cooking and heating. Indiscriminate burning of solid waste also causes air pollution. Air pollution causes death and increased illnesses such as respiratory ailments, heart conditions, brain damage and cancers. It is estimated that 14,300 Kenyans die annually due to conditions attributed to air pollution (Ministry of Environment, 2018). Pollution also affects plants and agricultural yields.

What is Kenya doing about it?

Kenya gazetted Air Quality Regulations in 2014 that specify air quality standards, as well as steps to be taken for “prevention, control and abatement” of air pollution in recognition of the terrible toll it takes on the health of Kenyans’ health.. However, there have been challenges with enforcing the regulations due to a lack of high-quality air quality monitoring data. 


What can I do about it?

  • Conserve energy – remember to turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use
  • Use energy efficient light bulbsand appliancessuch as energy saving jikos
  • Limit driving by carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walkingwhenever possible
  • Compost organic food items and recycle non-organic trash
  • Choose environmentally friendly cleaners
  • Use water-based or solvent free paints whenever possible and buy products that say “low VOC”
  • Seal containers of household cleaners, workshop chemicals and solvents, and garden chemicals to prevent volatile organic compounds from evaporating into the air

The focus of this year’s World Environment Day is to urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world. 

Join the campaign and help us create more awareness by participating in the #BeatAirPollution challenge. For more information please visit https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/get-involved/world-environment-day-mask-challenge

Tourism and Climate Change

By Danson Imbwaga Matekwa

“The time is past when humankind thought it would selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now that the world is not a commodity.”  Francoise Hollande, Former President of the French Republic.

Climate is a key resource for tourism and the sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and global warming, many elements of which are already being felt.  Tourism is estimated to be responsible for 5% of global CO2emissions. Threats for the sector are diverse, including direct and indirect impacts such as more extreme weather events, increasing insurance costs and safety concerns, water shortages, biodiversity loss and damage to assets and attractions at destinations, among others.Globally – all major coral reefs are expected to be severely degraded by 2050 and 32% risk die-off by 2050.

Photo credit: Africa Wildlife Foundation

Tourism development has grabbed the attention of policy makers and politicians in Africa in the quest to achieve greater economic development through employment creation and catalyzing other related industries such as agriculture. With tourism growth as an almost certainty, its share of environmental pollution will increase. Climate change remains a threat towards sustainability of the tourism sector in the continent. Particular issues of concern include negative environmental impacts on destinations that affect the quality of life for the host community.

Climate-change impacts that affect tourism in African countries include: beach erosion, saline intrusion, droughts, flash floods and landslides, coral-reef bleaching, less productive fisheries and agricultural systems, changes in the preferences of tourists, etc. Today, new tourist centers and cities are planned to make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Kenya is facing climate change induced challenges, such as variation in weather patterns, unpredictable water levels in lakes and rivers, frequent and prolonged droughts and flash floods. 

Women fetch water from depleted Mara River Photo credit:Kiplagat, Standar

The country’s wild life and other tourist attractions, which are major contributors to the nation’s economy, are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For example, flash floods associated with El Niño rains and their impact on infrastructure especially in Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru; prolonged droughts in major national parks; the shifts in wildebeest migration in response to rain fall patterns; and melting of snow caps on Mount Kenya due to increases in temperature. 

With tourism contributing to 9.7% of GDP and 9% of total employment in the country in 2018, it is imperative for swift and tangible action to address the climate change challenge to avoid major losses. For the sustenance and further development of tourism, it is important that climate change is address holistically through favorable policies for mitigation and adaptation action on the ground. 

CLIMATE CHANGE REPORTING

The Kenya Organization for Environmental Education (KOEE), with funding support from Act, Change, Transform (Act!), is implementing a project that aims at enhancing public awareness on existing climate change response strategies and policies and with an objective of training journalists on climate change reporting and developing booklets with guidelines on climate change reporting. The project will be implemented in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Laikipia, Baringo and Turkana Counties.

Kenya’s state of environmental journalism has seen some improvement compared to previous years. However, much is needed to instill appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and practices of environmental journalism, especially in climate change reporting. While most journalists depict some knowledge in climate change, they require further specialized training in climate change reporting to enhance their content and reporting practice. The lack of proper linkage and communication between journalists and climate change experts is among the major challenges facing science reporters in Kenya. Also, inadequate training, limited resources and uncooperative editorials were cited as major challenges for climate change reporters. These challenges could be addressed through initiatives such as organizing training on climate change reporting, and capacity building for environmental and other journalists.

KOEE & GAGF PARTNERSHIP

Green Africa Global Foundation (GAGF) and Kenya Organisation of Environmental Education (KOEE) agree to partner in implementing the Environmental Education and Awareness Program in Kenyan Government Schools in slum areas projects in Kawangware and Dagoreti in Nairobi County.

The Kenya Organization for Environmental Education (KOEE) is a Public Benefits Organization founded in 1997 under the Agenda 21 with a global partnership to protect the dignity of the environment. KOEE is a member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)-International, with the head office located in Nairobi, Runda Glory. KOEE focuses on four main program areas: – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Environmental Governance, and Services & Entrepreneurship development. Currently, Some of KOEE projects include; Learning About Forests, Faith-based Education for Sustainable Development and Faith-based Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development and Eco-schools, on which the Partnership is based.

The Green Africa Global Foundation main objective is to promote sustainable development, environmental conservation, energy, culture, access to agriculture and education in communities within Kenya as a whole hence enhancing sustainable socio-economic conditions. GAGF vision is to create a better world for current and future generations in Africa with the mission being to; promote sustainable development, Promote sustainable energy, culture, Environmental conservation, Empower the intellectual capabilities of people and Enhancing fundamental needs of the human being.

The purpose of this agreement is to support achievement of the objectives and overall goal of the Environmental Education and Awareness Program in Kenyan Government Schools Project through mutual collaboration between GAGF and KOEE.