“There are opportunities to share more skills and knowledge about living and working in remote rural areas. Growing food in school gardens in Olenguruone and Dunrossness is a great starting point for learning about local food production and for delivering Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship.”
Gina Scanlan, teacher, Dunrossness Primary, Shetland
Teacher exchanges are at the heart of the partnership. The immediate benefit will be to the teachers, pupils, families and communities in the Eastern Rift Valley in Kenya and in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The education system in Kenya is based on that of Britain in the colonial era, but it has not seen much change in approach, so that it is still much led from the top. The Kenyan teachers were inspired by the child-centred approach of Curriculum for Excellence: “In Scotland, students were allowed to air their opinions, which builds their confidence – head teachers of Kenyan schools and teachers should drop the military approach towards students and embrace more dialogue with them.” Samuel Muhunyu. Class numbers in Kenya are much higher than in Scottish schools. Teachers do not have the benefit of classroom assistants or help for pupils with additional support needs. “Kenyan teachers are strained by the large classes and don’t have assistants but this should not be excuse for not giving weak students personal attention.” Samuel Muhunyu.
The trip to Kenya started with a visit to the District Education Office in Molo. Scottish teachers then had experience in nursery, primary and secondary classes in visits to partner and neighbouring schools.
The school visits were followed by a conference in Nakuru, where the Scottish delegation was joined by teachers from 12 Kenyan schools, as well as officials from the departments of Education and Agriculture. The conference followed a similar pattern to the conference we held in Inverness, with presentations in the morning and discussion groups with Scottish and Kenyan teachers and other delegates in the afternoon. Head teacher Stanley Mwaura, chair of Slow Food in the Rift Valley, gave a very inspiring presentation on the role of school gardening in nurturing responsible global citizens. Professor Owido from Egerton University gave a talk on the importance of teaching pupils about local, small-scale food production in school.