The Teacher’s strike in Kenya is now entering its second week. School teachers say they need higher salaries, but the negotiations with the government have been unsuccessful so far. But with all of the fuss going on, the students are the ones who seem to have been forgotten in the process. With classrooms left unattended during the strike, learners of all ages have lost precious days of instruction, worsening their opportunity to advance academically. In fact some final year pupils fear a prolonged strike will affect their final examination at the end of the year as they may not be able to cover the curriculum.
This regrettable situation highlights the need for other alternative ways to help mitigate the impact of teacher’s strike on the learners as surely, this is not the last teacher’s strike in Kenya. Let it be noted that teachers can never be replaced, however when they are temporarily unavailable, measures should be put in place to allow the learners to continue with the learning process.
Having curriculum in a portable device which they can carry at home could be such a measure. They could, with little supervision be able to review the covered material in preparation of upcoming examinations or before they resume classes making it easier for them to catch up when teachers return to work. An example is eLimu as it provides digitized content for national curriculum as well as extended learning content focused on responsible citizenship. The value of the content is not only limited to the time of strikes but can enhance learning in any circumstances.
The technology wave is not slowing and it won’t go away. It is here to stay hence our education system needs to be transformed to take advantage of existing technology in order to equip the learners with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in the globalized knowledge based economy we live in
At eLimu we believe that young people are the key to solving global challenges; if properly equipped. Crucial to their success are solid foundation in the curriculum coupled with skills such as to think critically, and solve problems. That is the reason why at eLimu, we have invested so much to help improve education in Kenya.
Education is a serious challenge in worldwide and acutely in Kenya. We cannot afford to let any disruption erode further the already challenged education that our learners are getting. Training teachers the use of technology to teach, equipping them with technology and equipping schools with technology will not only enhance the quality of education for the learners, but they would also mitigate the impact of a strike by teachers.
I don’t know how many train miles I have traveled this last week but on reflection, I felt it was worth it. And as for the teachers and schools that do not use technology, ….well you have to ask yourself this question…if you were a head teacher, interviewing new teachers and there were two candidates of equal standing, but one was digitally literate and the other was not…who would you appoint?
Technology won’t replace teachers but teachers who use technology will probably replace teachers who do not use technology.