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AU call for education in Africa: Collective action for Quality, Inclusive and Lifelong Learning

“Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Collective Action for Quality, Inclusive and Lifelong Learning.”

This is the African Union’s call for all governments and other players in the continent’s education sector. What is our response?

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Thank you very much for showing up for this press briefing. We acknowledge the media as a critical partner in the journey of transforming Education in Kenya and the larger continent of Africa.

East African governments particularly Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, are in a race to embrace competency-based education systems, known as CBC here in Kenya.

As we help the learner achieve their various competencies, we can not forget the co-competencies that help mold a whole learner. In the Kenyan context, we refer to these competencies as Life Skills and Values.

You may be aware that in its first phase, we assessed over 45,000 in-school and out-of-school adolescent boys (48.6%) and girls (51.2%) from 13 to 17 years of age. The assessment covered 35,720 households, across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania mainland, and Zanzibar. The assessment focused on three skills (self-awareness, collaboration, problem-solving) and one value, (respect). The findings indicate that less than 10% have proficiencies in the skills. How do we expect an adolescent who does not see a problem in the problem they have created to solve the problem anyway?

Competency-based Curriculum aims to nurture every learner’s potential and mainstream values and life skills however, the framework of integration and measurement of life skills and values has been lacking, especially across the East African region.

Action for Life Skills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE) envisions a world where the schooling generation acquires the needed competencies to navigate the complexities of the 21st century and live meaningful lives. ALiVE is an initiative of the Regional Learning Initiative (RELIAfrica). The goal of the initiative is to support the four national education systems

(Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar) in their focus on competencies,

inform regional policy throughout the East African Community, and contribute to global knowledge on the measurement of life skills and values in context.

Currently, ALiVE has developed a contextualized tool via a learning-through-doing approach. So far, we have produced 47 local experts in assessment. We have developed an assessment tool targeting learners aged between 6-17 years in the areas of life skills and values. We are also influencing approaches in teacher training colleges to ensure that life skills and values are integrated through the entire education journey of the African learner.

We rolled into action fully aware that is not a time to complain about what is not working CBC, it is a time to unite and make it work for the better of our learners. We have therefore committed to developing resources that will help to produce a whole learner who is not only equipped with technical skills but also armed with values and life skills that can help them lead meaningful lives and fit well in society.

In November and December of 2023, the Zizi Afrique Foundation convened a group of teachers from 6 counties to learn from Prof. Esther Care, a renowned expert in the measurement of core competencies and values. In two months, the teachers went through a 7-module practical learning session on the development of tools to assess core competencies and values among 6– 12-year-old learners.

Through this process, the teachers developed tools to assess problem-solving, collaboration, and respect. These tools have been integrated into Environmental Activities in Grade 3, Science and Social Studies in Grade 5, and Integrated Science, Social Studies, and Creative Arts and Sports in Grade 7.  The tools have gone through various stages of revision after Think Aloud/Cognitive laboratories and are now ready to be tested with the learners.

On 27th February 2024, ALiVE conducted the first pilot of the tools in three schools: Kamihindu, and Ngurubani Westlands primary schools, located in Kiambu, Kirinyaga, and Nairobi counties, respectively. The lessons drawn from the pilot will inform how we shape the national assessment that we shall conduct later in the year.

(share pilot aim and lessons so far)

At this earliest opportunity, allow me to thank the teachers who sacrificed

their holiday, to learn how best they can co-create tools that will help assess the values and life skills’ integration into the CBC curriculum. This is their story. They are the learning facilitators, and they know learners better than us. Ours was to facilitate them and provide the best resources to ensure the teachers’ capacity is adequately built to lead the process.

We understand that some of the skills have been difficult to assess. We also know that what is not assessed is not taught or practiced, and that is where we come in. We urge teachers and schools across Kenya to adapt the tools we are churning out and to be able to continually co-create with us. This is one action amongst many that we are investing in.

This evening between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm EAT, we shall be convening a virtual learning session to appreciate the extent to which East African education systems have embedded life skills and values. Kindly register via the link provided and join us online: Register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMsdOirpj0vHdR4CD1P4ThubO-RZ2qGxVVI.

 

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