Kenya: Nyeri Chiefs Take Study Materials to Students of Othaya Girls School

13 August 2020

With learning institutions remaining shut for the rest of the year, a secondary school in Nyeri has liaised with chiefs to deliver coursework and assignments to students in a bid to ensure learning continues.

In the coordinated programme between Othaya Girls Secondary School and the sub-county commissioner, chiefs and their assistants have been deployed in four sub-locations to ensure seamless exchange of books and revision exercises between teachers and students.

The school's Principal Jane Njuguna said the project began in April immediately the students were sent home after Kenya reported its first Covid-19 positive case.

Though the school has already rolled out online learning for its students, Ms Njuguna noted that those in low income households are being left behind due to lack of electricity, personal computers, smartphones or internet bundles to report to the virtual class.

"Education is an equaliser and when we noticed that some students were missing out classes, we decided to bring them on board by liaising with the area chiefs to ensure students within our reach are benefiting," Ms Njuguna said.

The community-based learning is not only advanced to students from Othaya Girls but to any students within Othaya township who cannot access online learning materials.

Delivered to homes

"Our e-learning programme is ongoing and with the chiefs, we have reached about 53 students from different schools within the community," the principal added.

The chiefs collect the learning materials from the teachers and deliver them to individual students every Thursday at their respective homes.

Students are given three days to finish the assignments which are then collected by the chiefs and handed back to the teachers for marking.

The chiefs have been given access to the library using a number where they pick books for the students who do not have certain learning materials. The student must indicate how long they intend to keep a book before it is issued out.

"We are giving them in piecemeal to ensure they are busy and stay away from queer tendencies that may do more harm than good such as teenage pregnancies which is a precursor to something awful that could destroy an entire generation," Ms Njuguna said.

The programme has been rolled out in Kiahuguru, Thuti, Kiahugu and Gitundu in Othaya town.

According to Kiahuguru Senior Assistant Chief Fredrick Macharia, the programme is beneficial to students and parents are appreciating it as it is keeping their children busy while at home.

"This is personal service and voluntary and it is for the good of our community," he said.

Materials sanitised

Mr Macharia noted that before collecting and delivering the books, assignments and revision exercises to the students, they have to sanitise the learning materials in a bid to keep Covid-19 at bay.

"We have also banned any form of grouping in form of discussions among the students with either their friends or neighbours," noted Mr Macharia.

The learners are using books from Othaya Girls which are signed for by the chiefs.

"The students are enjoying it because there is no tension or pass mark for their work. They are busy, which makes them shun crime and wayward behaviour," said Chief Macharia.

With the chiefs representing authority, the students at home are ensuring they are dedicated and focused on their studies.

"Based on gender, we have allocated responsible adults to these students to mentor and counsel them," said Ms Njuguna.

The headteacher added that they intend to roll out the programme across Othaya Sub-County.

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