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EDUCATION FOR PASTORALIST COMMUNITY
Afya Bora on realizing the problem linked to the nomadic lifestyle of the Maasai community, decided to establish mobile Pre-School classes, which normally move with the pastoralist community.
The experience has shown that the Maasai-children are stressed during their first year in primary school because every lesson and every topic is taught in Swahili-language. The basic advantage of the Pre-Schools is to provide orientation to the children joining the school where they are tought Kiswahili and English.
As a consequence many of the children have immense difficulties in following the lessons in primary school. Therefore they get demoralized and it happens often that they run away from school or result to poor attendance and performance. There are of course those who struggle hard to learn the Swahili-language and are able to follow properly the lessons in class. Many of these kids could do much better if they could get an opportunity of Pre-Primary-School-education, particularly in Swahili-language. Therefore the main intention of this project of Pre-Primary-Schools in this community is to fill the gap of the missing language knowledge and a modern education orientation.
It is also important to mention that formal education in the Maasai-Community is not yet popular as a necessity of life. The actual statistics shows that about 90% of the people are illiterate.
In the past, the Maasai did not face many difficulties by lack of formal education because they concentrated on pastoral land-use. Since about twenty years ago, much of the community grazing land has been utilized for other purposes of national interest. As people became aware of their situation of loosing much of their grazing land they considered other possible alternatives. They realized that these alternatives, like seeking employment or trading, needed some kind of formal education.
However, many of these people are lacking the necessary routine of sending their children to attend the daily classes in primary schools. The Pre-Primary-School-education is therefore a good start to sensitize the parents and their children for this purpose.
After establishing the Pre-Primary School system and the parents getting used to the procedure of sending their children to school every day, it is interesting to discover, that they are now starting to send their children also for primary education on their own will.
Classes begin at 8:30 a.m. to 12.00 noon with a 30 minutes break. Afternoon from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. the
school provides adult education, conducted by the pre-school teachers after which they utilize the remaining
time for the following day normal routine.
Running any project, there is a need for unquestionable transparency and active management-team. Therefore the mechanism used in this case is as follows (also see the organizational map...): There are sixteen teachers (two for each school) as there are eight schools.
The responsibilities of these teachers are as follows:
1) to follow the formulated curriculum;
2) to educate the children in a line with community-values;
3) to follow the school timetable according to agreed working-hours. If for any reason the teacher in-charge is unable, he / she has to ensure that the assistant-teacher is in place;
4) to care for the school properties;
e) school-metal-box for the books
f) chalks, pencils, sharpeners
5) to write a monthly report and to make sure that this report reaches the Coordinator in time;
6) to ensure that the children are always well equipped with all the material they are supposed to have in class.
7) to maintain the daily attendance register.
If there are any instabilities or questions concerning the school-programme the responsables contact the parents representative at the school-centre, the educational-consultant or the Project Coordinator (Afya Bora).
There are eight parents representatives:
The responsibilities of these representatives are as follows:
1. to sensitize the community about the school-project;
2. to mediate between the parents and the school teachers;
3. to observe that the teachers are on duty at all times
4. to observe that the children go to class according to the
agreed school daily time table;
The parentís representatives should contact:
∑ the Education-Consultant, or
∑ the Project Coordinator (Afya Bora).
There is one responsible Education-Consultant for the whole project.
The responsibilities of this consultant are the following:
1. to formulate the school-curriculum;
2. to train the teachers according to the curriculum;
3. to prepare and conduct at least three seminars per year;
4. to organize teaching orientation training in nearby primary-schools at least once a year for the Pre-School-Teachers;
5. to evaluate every school at least three times a year and to recommend the teaching abilities of individual teachers;
6. to hand over the teaching allowance to the teachers in time.
If there are any instabilities or questions concerning the school-programme the Education-Consultant should contact the Project Coordinator (Afya Bora).
Teachers are picked by the community from among the class VII school leavers
in the respective school centres.
The Pre-School and the teaching staff belong to the community who posses the
ownership of the project. Afya Bora and partners are only there to
facilitate and offer necessary support.
The teachers are given a one-week seminar after every four months (three times
a year) so as to update their teaching capability.
An education specialist hired by Afya Bora conducts the Seminars.
Afya Bora takes careful measures to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts
by implementing activities which are already being implemented by another
organization / facilitator in the same area.
Due to the nomadic nature of life style in the district, when the head of the clan
decides to move in search of pastures the respective mobile school and teacher
also moves with few basic teaching materials on the back of donkey. Mobile
schoolteachers are based at clan level, and most of them are women.