Coping with the Educational Challenges in Kenya
Could you please take us through your educational background and experience in the Educational field?
My name is Mr. Robert Simiyu currently teaching Chemistry and Mathematics at MOI Girls Highschool Eldoret. I developed an interest in teaching while I was in primary school. I joined Kenyatta University in 2004 due to my good performance in high school. I pursued a Bachelor of Education with specialization in science. I graduated with a First class honors degree from the university.
In the year 2012, I was hired by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to teach in Plateau Girls School located in the Western part of Kenya, and I taught there for 8 years, and currently teaching at MOI girls’ high school in Eldoret.
Apart from teaching, I am a national examiner of Mathematics and the founder of the Mathematics Association of Kenya (MAOK) which is an umbrella for all Mathematics teachers in Kenya to come and develop their careers. We assist teachers, organizing webinars, development programs, and courses.
How do you see education after COVID -19, and what are the challenges you have been facing?
COVID-19 changed so many aspects of the education field. Change is hard and we had to adapt to the changes and overcome fear quickly. Since schools reopened, teaching and learning have not been easy. Observing social distancing, putting on masks in the class and during the school day, and extra extensive hygiene practices. This requires maximum compliance from all stakeholders. However, these challenges have never stopped us from helping children. Infect, we discovered that being able to adapt to the changes around you with the resources you have is the key to overcome this challenge.
How did you use technology during the pandemic to deliver education to your students?
Teachers in Kenya are utilizing multiple tools facilitating distant learning such as Google classrooms, google meet, and I have personally embraced ICT integration in its totality which played a major role in the learning process. CASIO has also provided a powerful tool for online learning which is the Emulator. The Emulator helped me in the training that was done for teachers and it facilitated and motivated the teachers during the webinars and that is for its ability to support remote learning and its role as an interactive role.
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Do you think that calculators are a tool to facilitate students’ work generally, and during the pandemic specifically?
The use of calculators in teaching mathematics and science has been of great benefit during this period. CASIO FX-82ex is one of the most essential tools used in Kenyan schools because it mimics the textbook appearance. Most students in Kenya have developed a positive attitude towards mathematics since the introduction of CASIO Calculators. Calculators made it easy for students to check their answers as well it is a motivational tool that enhanced the learning outcome, developed a better understanding of the material, saved time, Focus on the concept rather than the way.
How do you share teaching ideas with your team to ensure an equal opportunity is given to all the students?
Sharing the ongoing updates and new teaching strategies to be adopted by teachers in the classrooms which are changing. External Teaching resources also were a great way to show support to my colleagues and fellow teachers, It is also worth noting that CASIO Educational platform provides excellent resources for Math and Science teachers tackling many topics such as Inquiry-based learning with ClASSWIZ. For more Resources Click Here
How do you see Teachers’ development programs such as CEMASTEA institution, and how did it support teachers in Kenya during this tough time?
Being part of big Educational institutions such as CEMASTEA played a major role in the development of teachers. CEMASTEA has been at the forefront to enhance the quality of teaching and career development among all teachers. CEMASTEA has been organizing a series of training sessions for teachers covering around 5 K teachers .last year (2020) CEMASTEA held Virtual Meetings focusing on teaching skills needed during the Pandemic, and how to incorporate them into the curriculum, this came into great importance to teachers. CEMASTEA also organized international webinars that brought teachers from different parts of the world together. Not to mention, CASIO online training courses in collaboration with CEMASTEA that provided teachers with certificates and valuable information assisted Kenyan teachers greatly during the pandemic.