Primary Schools in Kenya’s North Rift Valley to Use Digital Tools to Reduce Dropout Rate
May 15 2012, Kenya [KE], Education
A group of primary schools in Kenya’s Pokot and Turkana tribes’ districts is improving its management and education quality by using computers and training teachers and administrators in the use of them. Ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the dropout rate of primary schools students.
In the first year, with the support of IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change consortium and local partner NCCK Northrift, 4 schools will be targeted: 2 in West Pokot County and 2 in Turkana District. Both these areas are located in the Northern part of the Rift Valley Province. With the support of Edukans, community education facilitators train the School Management Committees on their roles and responsibilities in the management of their schools. These management committees are elected volunteers that have the mandate to approve or dismiss school’s decisions.
To this improved management training, IICD adds a digital component. An ICT officer was hired to support and train the schools and equipment was procured and distributed to the schools over the last few months. Coming June, staff will be trained in the use of basic ICT for school administration (for instance the use of Excel) and will discuss what should be in the administration system. This will lead to a school administration system where teachers, headmasters and administrators can more easily store school results and monitor dropout rates. It is also more easy for teachers and administrators to keep the enrollment lists up to date and to act swiftly if they see that someone is not attending class regularly. They can also see how not attending classes regularly has affected students’ grades.
Another advantage of a digitalised administration system is that it gets easier for School Management Committees in Pokot and Turkana districts to understand how money is spent and how this could be improved. In the future, an online component could also be added so financial and administrative data is also available (in a secure way) if the committee members or school staff are not at school and still would like to access the data.
Digital exchange for increased understanding between Pokot and Turkana
The Pokot and Turkana are pastoralist people who are in a constant conflict over land and cattle. About a third of the the children in the IICD-supported schools in the region are orphan or miss at least one parent because of this conflict. There is a lot of distrust between the people, but schools indicate that they are interested in using computers to get closer. A proposed idea was for each school to build their own simple website to promote their school, which can also be used for Turkana and Pokot children to share their ideas and poetry. Though schools are quite far apart, at some point during the implementation phase, schools could also visit each other. Teachers and school management committees may be from different tribes, but their all have the same aim: improving education, and using ICT to do it.