Busia ready for Community based learning

Participants including Head teachers, National Government Administrative Officers, Public Health Officers, Religious leaders and Union officials during the stakeholders meeting

Busia County is ready for Community Based Learning programme commencing Monday next week, the County TSC Director Beatrice Ogwe has said.

Speaking during a stakeholder’s forum at Kisoko Girls Secondary School Monday, Ogwe said that her team has already mapped 4702 primary and 1853 secondary school teachers to jumpstart the exercise.

“These teachers need not necessarily be employed and working in Busia, but we are mapping them across the board as long as they are living in the county,” she said, adding that they will be allocated venues and allocated duties where they are residing.

The Director further explained that learners will also be assigned and taught where they live, adding that the programme is free and parents should not be charged any fees.

“We are still waiting for the KICD curriculum that is supposed to be sent this week,” while location of venues and mapping of children is ongoing,” she said.

‘‘Teachers will be expected to engage with students for four to five hours a day from Monday to Friday. We will have 15 learners per venue and teachers are expected to prepare programmes of daily activities for learners,’’ added Ogwe.

She said teachers will not be covering the usual syllabus but they will be allowed to be creative and innovative and expand the curriculum to make it suitable for various categories of learners.

“The curriculum will include learning values, life skills, environmental education, physical activities health and fitness as well as age and level class appropriate activities,” stated Ogwe, adding that psychological support will also be given through guidance and counselling, since learners have faced a lot of challenges since the closure of schools due to Covid-19.

At the same time, some teachers will be assigned to monitor and strengthen mathematics and sciences among secondary school students.

Busia County Director of Education Thaddeus Awuor reiterated that the closure of schools has caused a lot of economic and social challenges across the country making most learners in the village to lose control.

“Parents have now learnt that teachers are real assets in the society against their previous notion that tutors do not add value to the development of their children,” he said.

Awuor added that the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Deputy County Commissioners all the way to Nyuma Kumi elders are supposed to map the learning venues and register learners, noting that even learners who attend private institutions will be registered so long as they are Kenyan citizens.

He explained that learning venues can be social halls, churches and other areas that can enable learners to observe social distance and other Covid- 19 directives.

Busia County Quality Assurance Officer Vincent Makori said that his team will ensure that learning venues are accessible to students and the learning process benefit the students.

“We will ensure that the learners are actively involved in the Community based learning and make sure the process is viable before we give feedback to the society,” said Makori who called for use the modern teaching approaches as opposed to traditional methods of teaching.

On his part, Busia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri noted that the region had recorded more than1, 000 teenage pregnancies among upper primary to Form four students.

“There could also be University students and tertiary students that have become pregnant, we have also experienced the death of some students through suicide and attempted abortions,” he said, while urging stakeholders to take community based learning positively.

Kanyiri argued that students are much safer in the hands of teachers than being in the hands of some wayward members of the community.

“As officers from the state Department of Interior, we will work closely with the Sub County Directors to identify suitable venues such as churches, social halls, school halls where these learners will be able to learn,” he said.

The County Commissioner stated that the initiative will also offer teaching on the ministry of health Covid-19 protocols, thus providing an ideal learning experience on containment of the virus before reopening of the schools.

He urged parents to buy facemasks for their children in readiness for the programme, while directing Public Health Officers to focus on issuing donated hand washing facilities to the various learning venues.

“Let us also lobby the well-wishers to help us with sanitizers, hand washing facilities and face masks with a view to supporting the learners,” he said.

 Fr. Faustine Wesonga from the Catholic Diocese of Bungoma said that there was need to focus on the wisdom of life alongside the wisdom of books.

Fr. Wesonga added that Covid-19 is now forcing the society to focus on real life wisdom that will be achieved through Community based learning.

“There is danger in idleness and I think the teenage pregnancies we are seeing are as a result of idleness,” he said, adding that there is need to engage children actively.

Busia County KESSHA chairman Nixon Boyi said that leaders should come up with a formula to tackle Covid- 19 effects.