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275 teachers graduate as Government steps up computer for accelerated development :: Kenya

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NAIROBI, KENYA: At least 275 teachers graduated from Riara University with ICDL certification. This is in line with the Teachers’ Service Commission’s requirement that teachers must submit their computer training from recognized bodies such as ICDL.

Riara University has partnered with ICDL Africa to offer affordable training to teachers who will be instrumental in the roll-out of the government’s Digital Literacy Programme.

The new competence-based curriculum (2-6-6-3) will need a lot of ICT integration and teachers from both primary and secondary are supposed to undergo training.

The 275 who graduated are derived from kindergarten, primary and high school, who have gone through the program satisfactorily.

The big picture is to roll out the program schools in schools in Kenya under an initiative that is championed by Riara University Advancement and Internationalization department led by Ms. Sumita Mukherjee and offered by the School of Computing Sciences under the leadership of Prof. Felix Musau. Due to the short time teachers have to adapt with the new curriculum, many teachers are utilizing flexible times and payment schedules.

The same training can be offered on location in their schools. Riara University has been one of the Centre of Excellence for ICDL Africa. The group of schools have also adopted the government policy in ensuring that all teachers have undergone and completed ICDL training.

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By incorporating ICT skills in education, teaching standards will improve and ensure quality education is provided to the young generation. ICT skills will improve efficiency by 30 percent as well as make a shift in education from traditional methods of education to be more diverse, fun, engaging, productive and effective.

As young students are growing with so much exposure to screens, it helps to creatively adapt and ensure teachers understand the students as well as teach in a way that is relatable by use of digital tools to complement books. ICDL is the world’s leading computer skills certification.

To date more than 15 million people have engaged with the ICDL programme, in over 100 countries, through a network of over 24,000 ICDL Accredited Test Centers e – skills and competencies necessary to use a computer and common computer applications.

A competency-based curriculum is more of a change in the methodology of teaching as opposed to an overhaul of an entire curriculum system. For instance, in Kenya, there was a possibility of using a competence-based framework into the teaching of the 8-4-4 system.

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A competency-based curriculum is an approach to learning that seeks to build on the learner’s competence across the different subjects being offered. CBC is built on the assumption that each learner comes into class with certain skills, knowledge and experiences that the teachers need to build on. In addition, this approach is focussed on enhancing the learner’s masterly of content in one level before transitioning into a more challenging one. As opposed to what we may call the ‘traditional approach’ where learners are treated in terms of their class levels, the CBC approach focusses on each student as an individual.

Then, the teachers provide detailed reports about each student; indicating the skills and concepts they have already mastered, and those that they need to work on. The report is based on a rubric with levels of differentiation in the expected outcomes as opposed to the letter grade that a student gets in the 8-4-4 exam system. The teachers will use this detailed information to track and intervene in the learning process.

Since the CBC is aimed at meeting each of the student’s needs, incorporating this approach into the learning will require the teachers to have more and detailed information about each student’s progress, the integration of technology (ICT) comes in handy.

The teachers can use different digital applications to not only enhance the learning process through the incorporation of audio-visual aspects in their lessons, but also enable the them to enhance tracking and personalization of the student’s progress, and to store and easily retrieve the student information. Presently, there is a gap in digital literacy amongst the teachers in the field, especially those in the lower grades.

The partnership between ICDL and Riara University aims at bridging this gap by producing knowledgeable and digitally/ technologically literate students. 

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